More About Slow Food Springfield

Slow Food Springfield is a chapter of the Slow Food movement founded in Italy in 1986 by Carlo Petrini. Created to protest the encroachment on the traditional Mediterranean lifestyle, this movement, which links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment, is now worldwide with more than 250,000 members in 150 countries.

Our chapter was founded by Deanna Glosser in 2006. Deanna started the Slow Food Springfield chapter for two reasons. The first was to meet other local people who were interested in learning about the food system, supporting local producers, and sharing fun food events. The second was to educate the public about where our food comes from, who our local producers are, and to celebrate food events with friends – new and old. When we met the first time, we had to decide if we wanted to establish a local group independent of other organizations or affiliate with Slow Food, which is an international organization, including Slow Food USA. We obviously decided it was important to align our group with the mission and goals of Slow Food so we became a chapter of Slow Food USA. Hence, Slow Food Springfield joined this worldwide movement in seeking to create a dramatic and lasting change in the food system by preserving traditional ways of growing, preparing, and enjoying foods, and by saving the biodiversity of livestock and crops that once existed.

Meet Our Slow Food Family

This could be YOU!
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Alana Reynolds
Alana ReynoldsBoard Chair
Alana is currently the Executive Director of Grow Springfield, a non-profit organization that supports community gardening initiatives in Springfield, Illinois. She helped create and currently co-manages the garden programs at Butler Elementary School and the Boys & Girls Club of Central Illinois. Alana established the seed library at Lincoln Library and provides outreach through workshops and events that highlight community, food, and the environment.

She served as a delegate for Slow Food Springfield at the 2016 Slow Gardens Conference, in 2017 at Slow Food Nations, and in 2018 at Terra Madre. Alana is also the Leader of Girl Scouts Troop 6318 in Springfield, IL and the Arty Party Lead at Springfield Art Association.

Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant
Deborah Cavanaugh-GrantTreasurer
Deborah retired from the University of Illinois Extension after working 30 years in the areas of small farms, sustainable and organic agriculture, and local food. She is currently the Market Manager for the Old Capitol Farmers Market. Deborah has been involved with several organizations working with food issues including, the Illinois Local Food, Farms and Jobs Council, Spence Farm Foundation, Illinois Stewardship Alliance, Illinois Organic Growers Association, and the Illinois Farmers Market Association. She has degrees in horticulture, soil science, secondary education, and environmental studies. Deborah lives in Greenview with her husband, Mark. She enjoys volunteering at the Northside Children’s Community Library and serving as a Big Sister in the BBBS School-Based Mentoring program in Springfield.
Liz Rupel
Liz RupelMembership Chair
Liz has a passion for community and local food and farm systems. She currently works as the Policy Organizer for the Illinois Stewardship Alliance, which works on behalf of Illinois local farming community and serves as an advocate in state policymaking. Liz’s mission as an organizer is to engage with regenerative farmers to learn about their hopes, successes, and barriers, in order to find solutions that will keep family farmers as stewards of the land.

She has a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies with a focus on policy and sustainable development from the University of Illinois Springfield. Her hobbies include traveling, outdoor activities, volunteering for Compass for Kids, and experimenting in the kitchen.

Joe Eby
Joe EbyBoard Member
Rev. Dr. Joseph H. (Joe) Eby worked for the State of Illinois for 10 years before entering the ministry. He then served Presbyterian churches in Springfield and Chatham for 20 years. Joe is currently the Ministry Lead for the Community Missions Network, a local ministry/mission not-for-profit partnering with Third Presbyterian Church for ministry in Springfield’s Enos Park Neighborhood. He is also working as Coordinator for Grow Springfield, a network of organizations which provides resources, support, & promotion of community gardens & urban agriculture in Springfield. Joe is especially interested in the ethical and theological issues surrounding food, as well as the economic & environmental issues.
Joe received a B.S. in Communications from Illinois State University. He also holds a M.Div. from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, IL & a D.Min. from Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan.
He & his wife Susan have lived in Springfield for over 30 years. They are parents of two grown children and grandparents of four. In their spare time they enjoy brewing beer & baking with the spent grains.
Michael Higgins
Michael HigginsBoard Member
Chef Michael Higgins is the executive chef & owner of Maldaner’s Restaurant. He has been a leader in sourcing menu items locally. Chef Higgins is a long-time gardener who keeps bees & grows herbs, flowers & vegetables on the rooftop at Maldaner’s. A native of the San Francisco area, Chef Higgins has lived in Springfield for over 30 years. His community activities include the board of Green Business Network, MacArthur Boulevard Association, Mayor’s Advisory Council for “Bicycle Friendly City”, Downtown Springfield, Inc., the Old Capitol Farmers Market& Buy Fresh Buy Local. He helped lead the way for city & state-wide smoking bans.
Hannah Tomlin
Hannah TomlinBoard Member
Hannah Tomlin grows chemical-free produce on Moon Girl Farm in Pleasant Plains. Located on the centennial Tomlin family farm, the business began in 2017 when Hannah moved back home to start applying the knowledge she gained from
internships and the local food systems research she conducted in college. She received a BA in journalism and political science from Illinois State University in 2009, Master’s in global politics and culture from Illinois State University in 2012, and a PhD in educational policy studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2017. Her dissertation was titled “Food for Thought: The Role of Land Grant Institutions in Small Farm and Local Food Education.” During graduate school, Hannah also participated in WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) and completed an internship at Cook Farm in Bloomington, IL shortly before starting her own operation. Moon Girl Farm sells their produce at the Old Capitol Farmers Market every Saturday and provides customers with cold-hardy greens and radishes from their high tunnel during the monthly winter markets. They also work with local chefs, retailers and regional school districts.
Elizabeth Farrar
Elizabeth FarrarBoard Member
Elizabeth Farrar is a language teacher by day and a lounge singer by night. She enjoys speaking in tongues (Spanish and French) and traveling when she can. While new to the Slow Food board and movement, she has always been a fan of planting seeds. She enjoys planting her hot pepper garden in the backyard of the Airbnb she manages. Her favorite flowers include Cock’s Comb, Zinnias, and all yellow flowers. She looks forward to composting and learning more about soil. But most of all, she enjoys witnessing the beauty and mystery in nature. To quote her favorite hymn, “In the bulb there is a flower, in the seed an apple tree, in cocoons a hidden message something God alone can see”. She is mom to dog Lola and cat Orian.
Mitch Cave
Mitch Cave Board Member
Mitch Cave is a fourth generation farmer located in Cass County on farmland purchased by his great-grandfather who located to Cass County from Lee’s Summit, Missouri. He is the owner/operator of 4 Lees Farm and proud to be following his life long dream of providing clean, organic meats and produce to Central Illinois. When Mitch is not tending to his pure grass finished cattle, pastured pork, and pastured chicken, you will often find him in the high tunnel tending to his organic produce. Most recently Mitch added industrial hemp to his list of crops to be processed into CBD oil. Mitch is currently on the Old Capitol Farmers Market Advisory Board and also a vendor at the Old Capitol Farmers Market. He is a Buy Fresh Buy Local member and an Illinois Stewardship Alliance member. Mitch lives near Virginia, Illinois with his wife of 30 years and his teenage daughter.
Linda Reid
Linda Reid Board Member
Linda is a passionate educator having had the great fortune to teach a wide range of students; from kindergartners through adult learners as a special education, gifted, and classroom teacher, university clinical supervisor, and school district program coordinator. Her love of fresh, delicious food started in her great-grandmother’s kitchen in Queens, NY and continued as she incorporated the joy of eating together into her classroom routines and professional learning workshops. Linda is keenly aware of the impact of regular good, clean, fair food on learning and is committed to empowering children, parents and teachers to garden and cook together. Linda has a Bachelor of Science degree in Specific Learning Disabilities and a Master of Arts in Educational Psychology. She and her husband recently moved to Springfield in 2019 and are thrilled to be part of such a vibrant, caring community.

Our Mission: from plate to planet…


Slow Food helps people rediscover the joys of eating and understanding the importance of caring where food comes from, who makes it, and how it is made. Slow Food Springfield holds monthly events that have included Mardi Gras celebrations, local harvest potlucks, farm tours, holiday dinners by local chefs, kids events and slow drinks. In addition, Slow Food USA sponsors “Garden to Table” projects (schoolyard gardens, farm tours and cooking classes), and “Slow Food on Campus”, promoting good, clean and fair food on our local campuses.

  • Good: For Slow Food, the idea of good means enjoying delicious food created with care from healthy plants and animals.
  • Clean: Clean food is nutritious food that is as good for the planet as it is for our bodies.
  • Fair: 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.
  • Fun: Good, clean and fair is manifested in all our fun Slow Food Springfield activities with our friends and families.


Slow Food believes we should combine the enjoyment of excellent food with efforts to save traditional grains, vegetables, fruits, animal breeds and food products threatened by the prevalence of convenience food and industrial agribusiness. Slow Food has created programs such as the “Ark of Taste”, which aims to rediscover, catalog, describe and publicize forgotten flavors; in other words, save foods threatened by industrialization.


Slow Food believes that through the promotion of pure food that is local, seasonal, and organically grown, we can recognize the interdependence of people with one another and with our environment. Ultimately, we can cultivate and reinvigorate a sense of community and place.