About Us

Slow Food is an international grassroots membership organization promoting good, clean and fair food for all. Slow Food stands at the crossroads of ecology and gastronomy, ethics and pleasure. We believe that everyone has a fundamental right to the pleasure of good food and consequently the responsibility to protect the heritage of food, tradition and culture that make this pleasure possible. Our association believes in the concept of neo-gastronomy – recognition of the strong connections between plate, planet, people and culture.

The Slow Food Movement

A non-profit member-supported association, Slow Food was founded in 1989 to counter the rise of 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 100,000 members joined in 1,300 convivia – our local chapters – worldwide, as well as a network of 2,000 food communities who practice small-scale and sustainable production of quality foods. Slow Food Orlando is one of 225 chapters in the USA, working to carry out the Slow Food mission at the local level. We support Slow Food USA in advocating for good, clean and fair food for all. What do we mean by Good, Clean and Fair?

Good: The word good can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. For Slow Food, the idea of good means enjoying delicious food created with care from healthy plants and animals. The pleasures of good food can also help to build community and celebrate culture and regional diversity.

Clean: When we talk about clean food, we are talking about nutritious food that is as good for the planet as it is for our bodies. It is grown and harvested with methods that have a positive impact on our local ecosystems and promotes biodiversity.

Fair: We believe that food is a universal right. Food that is fair should be accessible to all, regardless of income, and produced by people who are treated with dignity and justly compensated for their labor.

Slow Food Orlando

Here in Central Florida, our chapter promotes Slow Food principles by supporting a sustainable, accessible food system in Central Florida and celebrating the pleasures of the table for our local community. Through our work, we hope to build awareness and understanding of the challenges and triumphs of our food system; connect farms, artisans, chefs and co-producers; build community through food; and support the work done by Slow Food USA and Slow Food International.

We consider ourselves co-producers, not consumers, because by being informed about how our food is produced and actively supporting those who produce it, we become a part of and a partner in the production process. People respond to the growing movement, and the ideas expressed therein, for many different reasons: some have become tired of eating the same foods wherever they go across the globe; some have noticed the degradation of flavor in our food; some are concerned about the health issues raised by an industrialized food supply; some would like to be environmental stewards of the land through the food choices they make. The beauty of Slow Food is that it provides a welcome home for the food lover, the health seeker, and the environmentalist. With all of these interests in mind, our mission is to create a robust, active movement that protects taste, culture and the environment as universal social values.

Our Board

Our volunteer Board works hard to promote the Slow Food mission in Orlando. We meet bi-monthly to plan events, coordinate outreach, and manage the chapter.

This page is under construction.  Stay tuned for more bios!

Gabby Othon Lothrop – Co-Chair:  Gabby joined the Slow Food Orlando board in 2011.  After being a long-time supporter of Slow Food at the consumer level, she became deeply involved in the Central Florida Local Food scene when she took on the role of Director of the Audubon Park Community Market in 2009.  This led her to  co-found A Local Folkus, a local food marketing and events company that produces the farmers market, annual Harvest Festivals, and other events that celebrate farm to table living in Central Florida.  Starting in the fall of 2012, she will serve as director of the East End Market, a local food hub featuring an indoor public market, community kitchen, and event space. Gabby has assisted with numerous Slow Food Orlando events and fundraisers and enjoys creating environments where Central Florida’s food community stakeholders can come together. Gabby is a native of Panama and has gained much of her appreciation for food through her extensive travel throughout the U.S., Latin America and Europe. 
Kendra Lott – Vice Chair: An Orlando native, Kendra Lott has a master’s degree in food studies from New York University, where she studied foodways, gastronomy, culinary history, marketing and recipe development under program chair Dr. Marion Nestle. She also completed the certificate program in culinary arts at The New School and an apprenticeship in butchering at Fleisher’s Grass-Fed Meats in New York. While in New York City she was on staff at Food Arts magazine, the country’s premiere trade magazine for chefs. She returned to Central Florida in 2010 to launch Edible Orlando magazine, of which she is the publisher.
Michael Lothrop – Secretary: Mike has been a Florida resident for over 29 years and has become increasingly involved with community service. In addition to his role as the secretary for Slow Food Orlando, he also volunteers at most events and is always handy with his camera to document chapter activities. As a volunteer at the Audubon Park Community Market and Org Chair for the Audubon Park Garden District; he shares much of his free time with others who also devote themselves to projects they’re passionate about.
Erica Abalos-Hernandez – Membership Chair:  Since birth, Erica has always been enthusiastic about food. Growing up in a Filipino household, cooking and baking was how one showed their love and appreciation for friends and family. Along with a dear friend, she began The Bee’s Knees Sweet Treats, a small baking venture specializing in mini confections. It was during this time she became involved with the local food scene. She excitedly began incorporating local ingredients into her sweets. The Bees had the opportunity to participate in numerous local food events including the annual Winter Park Harvest Festival. Erica and her husband, Brent are passionate about supporting local farmers and fishermen at the Audubon Community Market and are members of Homegrown Local Food Cooperative. Her confection business has been put on the back burner as they are excitedly expanding Redlight Redlight, their craft beer parlor due to relocate later this year. As the new Member Chair, she enjoys volunteering and participating in the many events the Orlando chapter is involved in.

John Rife – Board Member: John is a founding partner of A Local Folkus and the owner of East End Market, a food enterprise incubator and event space opening Fall 2012 in Audubon Park. He is a commercial real estate developer by trade and biologist / digital media maven by education. Over the past five years, Rife has grown into a passionate advocate for Central Florida’s burgeoning local food scene. In 2010 he founded the annual Winter Park Harvest Festival and serves on the boards of Slow Food Orlando, Edible Magazine and many other civic organizations. Like Wendell Berry, Rife believes that “eating is an agricultural act” and that raising the awareness of the average consumer, to the means of their food production and procurement, is the most expeditious path to revolutionizing America’s industrial food system. Through numerous festivals, food events, farmers markets, urban farms and this blog, A Local Folkus seeks to do just that.