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Josh Viertel

Last week Slow Food USA announced the departure of its president Josh Viertel while simultaneously welcoming three new board members. During Viertel’s four years as president, the organization was accused of losing focus of Slow Food International’s mission to celebrate and support the cultural role of artisanal food producers.

In the wake of Viertel’s departure and the absence of a new head, the grassroots organization wasted no time in unveiling positive news in the form of a $1.2 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The Kellogg Foundation (named after the cereal mogul Keith Kellogg) primarily devotes funds to address childhood poverty. Its three-year capacity building grant to Slow Food USA is the biggest the organization has ever received.

Slow Food USA says the money will help fund public initiatives that will focus on eradicating social inequities in the food system as well as restoring local food traditions.

Katherine Deumling, Board Chair of Slow Food USA released a statement saying, “There is great inequity in our food system, and we must all work to make it easier for everyone to access good, healthy food – through preserving our diverse foods and food traditions and through building bridges with communities negatively impacted by the industrial food system.”

There’s no doubt that the money could not have come at a better time for the organization, which seems determined to redefine itself in the U.S. while reaffirming its allegiance to the core values of Slow Food International. And as for the new head? The board says it has started the executive search process, but did not provide a timeline.