Erika Lesser – USA

Linked with Slow Food USA.

Erika Lesser is the Executive Director of Slow Food USA, based in New York City. Slow Food is a global movement dedicated to the preservation of traditional food culture. In this two-part series Erika Lesser, Director of Slow Food USA, compares slow food with fast food culture. Whereas the latter tastes the same anywhere in the world, slow food celebrates diverse local food flavours and taste. Slow Food means knowing where food comes from and what the true costs of production are. It is also about food security – understanding that a varied food supply is a safe one.(Listen to her three speaches of 4.42, 4.49 and 4.09 minutes, recorded on Big-Picture on April 2005).

She says: “The point is to provide consumers with viable local alternatives and a pleasant environment to learn about them. You know, Isn’t this delicious, don’t you want to know more? On a gastronomic level but also on a social and economic level, it gives you the opportunity to support a local business”.

She says also: “Our mission has evolved over the years, beginning with the ideals of old-school gastronomy (long lunches, good wine) in the late 1980’s, to a new concept of “eco-gastronomy” (biodiversity and pleasure on the plate) in the 1990’s and “good, clean and fair food” (a system-wide approach, incorporating politics, social justice, environmentalism and a new definition of quality) in the new millennium. Our members run the gamut, from home cooks, gardeners, winemakers, journalists, farmers, and chefs to environmentalists, back-to-the-landers, educators, artists, politicians, liberals and conservatives alike”.

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Erika Lesser – USA

She works for Slow Food USA, based in New York City.

New York, NY – Slow Food USA is pleased to name Erika Lesser as its new Executive Director, effective June 1st. Erika returns to the National Office in New York City with over four years of experience with Slow Food, including three years working for Slow Food USA’s National Office beginning at its founding in March 2000, and the past year working to open the new University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy.

Under Erika’s leadership, Slow Food USA is poised to continue the innovative projects it has developed over the past four years, including children’s taste education through Slow Food in Schools and defense of biodiversity through Ark & Presidia, in addition to shaping new initiatives. It is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to supporting and celebrating the food traditions of North America. One such project, called Terra Madre, is a world meeting of food communities that will help lay the groundwork for a nationwide network of sustainable alternatives to the current industrial food production system, where food quality and variety are valued, rural regions thrive, and links between producers and consumers are strong. For more information about these and other programs, go to Slow Food USA.

Slow Food International: Slow Food is an international organization which aims to protect the pleasures of the table from the homogenization of modern fast food and fast food culture. It is a non-profit, eco-gastronomic member-supported organization that was founded in 1989 to counteract fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world. Today, we have over 80,000 members all over the world. Find out more about us and what we do. Slow Food’s International Office is situated in Bra, Cuneo, a small town in southern Piedmont, employs over 100 people. They are the hub of a close-knit network of grassroots offices in Italy and abroad, which promote the movement by staging programs and events, overviewed in our “Change the World” section.
Become a member of a large and international community interested in saving food biodiversity. Encourage a new type of agriculture respectful of the environment, of human beings and of taste. Celebrate the pleasures and the diversity the world’s best foods offer us. Join Slow Food.

Contact: Erika Lesser erika[at]slowfoodusa[dot]org, Executive Director.

Press Release in Italian, 02 Jan. 2007, SuperWhites a Roma. Un week-end con i grandi vini friulani.

Books/Editore: Since 1989, the publications of Slow Food Editore have sought to describe the philosophy of the Slow Food movement, from the extolment of pleasure to the development of taste to the protection of biodiversity. The companyís books and periodicals aim to raise the profile of quality food and wine production, to safeguard endangered artisan specialties, vegetable species and animal breeds, to inform and educate consumers and to promote clean, sustainable agriculture and a new idea of gastronomy. The Slow Food Editore catalogue comprises:

  • Guides: osterias, locandas, wine, typical food products and specialties worth saving. Plus cookbooks in which restaurateurs, cooks and housewives describe recipes and thus recount Italyís regional food tradition.
  • asSaggi: food memoirs, meditations on all aspects of food, reprints of historical food classics.
  • Itinerari slow: leisurely tours through art, wine, nature and gastronomy.
  • TerraMadre: studies and surveys on agriculture, the environment, food and society.
  • Manuals: designed to educate taste and train the senses, to teach, choose and cultivate pleasure.
  • Riviste: Slow, herald of taste and culture, six editions in as many languages that speak to Slow Food members worldwide. Slowfood, a monthly for Italian members: an original new way of describing food, wine and places.
  • Our publications are currently unavailable for purchase or shipment outside Italy. Find out more about our publications in Italian.

    The main book named Slow Food: Slow Food is poised to revolutionize the way people shop for groceries, prepare and consume their meals, and think about food. The book not only recalls the origins, first steps, and international expansion of the movement from the perspective of its founder, it is also a powerful expression of the organization’s goal of engendering social reform through the transformation of our attitudes about food and eating.

    Lesser took her final internship when she signed on to work for Slow Food USA’s national office, founded in March of 2000, and has stayed with Slow Food ever since. More recently, she spent a year living in Bra, Italy, the hometown and international headquarters of Slow Food, where she worked for the new University of Gastronomic Sciences. She returned to New York in May 2004 to take on the responsibilities of Executive Director of Slow Food USA. She currently serves on the Conference Planning Committee for the Kellogg Foundation’s Food and Society Conference and on the Advisory Board of The Agrarian Adventure in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (See food and society, and pull down).


    Message from Slow Food;

    CNN Transcripts;



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