President, Co-Chair of Snail of Approval Committee
As Sacramento native, Mary enjoys the small town feel in this big city. She loves that you have the opportunity to know your farmer, your chef, your grocer. In fact, she met her husband, the family cook and shopper, at the Co-op over ten years ago. Mary's day job is to promote awareness about diabetes and heart disease, and her volunteer work with Slow Food supports good, clean, fair food for all. Both support promoting and living a healthy life.
Shelley Blanton-Stroud is a writer and Sacramento State Writing Instructor. She is a long-time member of Slow Food Sacramento, an amateur gardener, and granddaughter of farmers and farm-workers. She likes to take family and friends to Snail of Approval restaurants.
Secretary, Director of Membership
Kelsey is an East Coast native, who now resides in Sacramento taste-testing the locally roasted coffees. She is dedicated to fostering cross-cultural communication through food in her professional work and on her podcast, The Culinary Citizen. Kelsey's professional work includes regional marketing and programing for agricultural non-profits. She thrives off of farmers market purchases, enjoys Slow Food book club, and teaches cooking classes.
Unsure of how to shop at farmers markets? Email Kelsey below.
Chanowk Yisrael is a husbandman and community activist. Born and raised in Sacramento, he has traveled across the country on the dime of corporate America before deciding to trade in his frequent flyer miles for seeds and soil. Chanowk wants to break the cycle of poor health that typically plague the Black community and transition himself and his family to a plant based diet. It is here that The Yisrael Family Urban Farm was born. The Yisrael Family Urban Farm is transforming the hood for good using urban agriculture as a tool to engage, employ and empower communities.
Chef Brenda Ruiz
Named a Slow Food USA 2018 Snailblazer for her work in Policy Advocacy, culinary professional Brenda Ruiz has been working in Sacramento's top restaurants since 1996 including The Waterboy, Freeport Bakery, The Kitchen, and Biba Ristorante. Highly regarded among her peers for her skill and work ethic, she's known for combining her love of the culinary arts with her passion for supporting the work of charitable organizations. Ms. Ruiz serves on the Executive Advisory Committee of Slow Food Sacramento as Director of the School Garden Coalition and Chair of Youth and School Projects.
Slow Food University Leader, Central California Governor
When faced with a fork in the road Lisa took it to Italy for a Master's Degree in Food Culture and Communications from the University of Gastronomic Sciences, affectionately known as Slow Food U. A year in Italy changed her perspective and understanding of how to think about and use food. She is the Slow Food Central Valley Governor, champion of the Slow Beer movement in the US, and working with the California Grain Campaign to bring locally grown and freshly milled grains back to the Good. Clean. & Fair table.
Chef's Alliance Representative
Before opening Magpie in 2005 Ed had worked as a sous chef for small restaurants and training chef for an upscale steakhouse chain. He started his restaurant career prepping food and washing dishes. Ed spent a year in a small osteria- in Venice, Italy. Ed’s time in Italy informed him of a way of cooking and eating that valued seasonality and local ingredients and has worked to bring those values to his restaurant here in Sacramento. Ed earned a BA in Economics from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
CSUS Chapter Liaison
A Nutrition and Food major, mother of two, and someone who has struggled with weight her entire life, Stephanie knows how deceiving the food industry can be. She also knows it doesn't have to be this way. By re-establishing the close connection we once had with our food and those who produce it, we can all make a significant impact on the health of the people and the planet.
Jaime has been an advocate for local farms and organic produce for two decades, jokingly calling herself more homesteader than foodie and find joy in growing weird heirloom beans. Jaime's background is in marketing and social/digital media, but she loves supporting Snail of Approval restaurants through thorough testing of their food and cocktail menus! She believe having good fresh food shouldn't be luxury, but the basic building block of a healthy community. Find Jaime at @ScribbyKitty on Instagram!
Board Member At-large
Rivkah Sass has held the best job in Sacramento (Director of Sacramento Public Library) since 2009 and is thrilled to be part of the Slow Food Sacramento Board. The Sacramento region will thrive when everyone in our community has access to clean, healthy and sustainably-grown food.