The Constitution of the Russian River Convivium of Slow Food
Amended February 2017
We recognize and accept that the modern techno-industrial age is upon us and that this mode of life has severe consequences that threaten the souls of individual humans, the fabric of traditional cultures, and the future of life on the planet.
We declare that Slow Food is an antidote to the negative consequences of the modern age because it empowers us to protect and maintain those traditions that enhance our lives and support the continued healthy evolution of biological, spiritual, and cultural life on the planet
II. Purpose & Mission
A. Mission of Slow Food USA
Slow Food USA seeks to create dramatic and lasting change in the food system. We reconnect Americans with the people, traditions, plants, animals, fertile soils and waters that produce our food. We seek to inspire a transformation in food policy, production practices and market forces so that they ensure equity, sustainability and pleasure in the food we eat.
B. Mission of Slow Food Russian River
The Russian River Convivium of Slow Food supports the Slow Food USA Mission of good, clean and fair food for all by fostering and supporting the agricultural producers within the greater region of the Russian River watershed. Essential to this purpose is the protection and enhancement of the natural environment, the foundation upon which our artisans practice their craft.
III. Principles of Organization
Recognizing that mutual trust and a common purpose are the basis for reaching consensus, we have set forth the following principles to guide behavior of the organization’s Leadership Team as it works to set goals and define activities.
- We listen attentively to each other and use open, honest and robust dialogue to achieve consensus in making decisions. Consensus is defined as a mutually accepted group position.
In the event that we have a situation wherein a leader or leaders feel so strongly in opposition to the group mind that we cannot go forward, we would engage in the following process:
a. Revisit the conversation once again.
b. If agreement cannot be reached the dissenting leader or leaders shall be asked to voluntarily abstain.
c. If the leader or leaders are unwilling to voluntarily abstain and consensus is still unattainable, we agree to define consensus as “consensus minus one or consensus minus two.”
2. We foster a sense of discovery and learning among the Leadership Team and Convivium members.
3. We are committed to building a sense of community by organizing activities that foster friendship, common purpose, and appreciation for the communities in which we live.
4. We recognize that success requires clear intentions, hard work, commitment and an appreciation of and respect for each other.
IV. Principles of Practice
We have set forth the following principles to guide implementation of our activities:
1. We work in concert with the Slow Food USA movement and accept and abide by the Slow Food USA National Statute, the Financial Protocol and the Leader’s Guide because we believe that these documents clearly and correctly articulate why and how Slow Food is an appropriate response to the challenges of our time.
2. We work with Convivia around the state to develop and sustain Slow Food California.
3. We support and promote the concept of a sustainable society based on a foundation of a diverse agriculture because we believe that all people, across generations, are inextricably linked to and interdependent on each other through our social, ecological, and economic systems; further, we are accountable for the effects of our decisions on future generations.
4. We honor and value those who tend the land and steward the animals that provide us food. Therefore, we commit to pay a fair pricefor the good, clean and fair products offered by artisan producers.
5. We are aware of the connection between climate challenges, agricultural production and healthy soil. We commit to making sustained efforts to keep abreast with research and findings about the impact of agricultural practices on climate change and to educate the public on this subject.
6. We work using outreach and educational activity to spread the vision of Slow Food in our region and create changes that over time will lead to a good, clean and fair food system.
7. We work to offer accessibility to the Slow Food movement by creating events at a variety of costs and sizes to enable members and the public to participate and enjoy Slow Food regardless of income level.
8. We believe that all people involved with Slow Food Russian River shall have the right to be free from discrimination because of race, creed, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation or the presence of any sensory, mental or physical disability.
V. Organizational Structure
Powers, Rights and Responsibilities of Membership, Leadership Team, Provisional Leaders, Independent Working Groups
We are organized into the Membership, the Leadership Team (including Provisional Leaders), and Independent Project Working Groups.
The membership is comprised of those individuals and families that have chosen or been assigned by Slow Food USA to the Russian River Convivium and are current with their annual dues.
1. Rights of Membership. Each member has the right to submit ideas and desires to the Leadership Team, to join an Independent Working Group, to submit an application for consideration as a Provisional Leader and to vote for members of the Leadership Team at the annual meeting.
B. The Leadership Team
The Leadership Team acts as trusted representatives for the organization of activities undertaken by the Convivium.
The Leadership Team shall consist of no more than twelve members who shall be elected by the membership at the annual meeting to be held no later than March 15th of each year.
1. Responsibilities of the Leadership Team
a. Conduct the customary business of the Convivium.
b. Elect Team officers annually – president, secretary, treasurer.
c. Choose a Personnel Committee of two or more leaders annually to guide and assist provisional leaders and to address interpersonal relationship issues should the need arise.
d. Designate one of its members to represent the Convivium at the Slow Food USA and Slow Food International congresses, and as the primary contact person for the Slow Food USA office.
e. Designate one of its members to represent the Convivium with Slow Food California.
f. Select delegates to attend Terra Madre.
g. Work collaborative with other Sonoma County Convivia.
h. Prepare an annual budget to determine how charitable money and grant funds earned through Russian River Convivium events and projects will be used.
i. Hold an annual Leadership retreat during which the Convivium Constitution shall be read aloud.
j. Organize an annual membership meeting which includes choosing a slate of Leader applicants.
k. Support the Independent Teams as needed including, but not limited to, providing access to meeting notes, financial data and reports of decisions; offer the opportunity to present their work at the annual general members meeting.
l. Engage in the process of selecting and acclimating Provisional Leaders into the Leadership Team using the following criteria and guidelines:
(1) In September of each year Leaders shall provide the Convivium Membership with notice that nominations and applications are being accepted for Provisional Leaders. Applications shall be posted on SFRR web site.
(2) Deadline for submitting applications shall be no later than December 1st.
(3) Review applications and invite proposed Provisional Leaders to attend a Leadership Team meeting.
(4) Include the names of each proposed Provisional Leaders on the annual ballot.
(5) Work with Provisional Leaders to help acclimate them to the role of Leader and to assist with any interpersonal difficulties.
(6) At the conclusion of the Provisional’s one year orientation the Leadership Team agrees to engage in open discussion with the Provisional in order to evaluate whether it is a good fit for the Leadership Team and the Provisional.
(7) Hold a closed session of the Leadership Team wherein the final decision about inviting Provisional Leaders to become full members of the Leadership Team will be determined using the consensus process.
2. Responsibilities of Officers
a. The President shall be responsible for maintaining a knowledge of the provisions in the Constitution and for insuring that Leadership Team activities and projects adhere to the provisions of the Constitution.
d. The Secretary shall take minutes, complete the annual report for Slow Food USA and generally insure that communication with the Independent and Event Teams is current.
c. The Treasurer shall manage the finances, request financial reports from the Independent Teams,
prepare an annual budget for the upcoming year, make monthly reports to the Leadership Team and an annual report to the Convivium Membership. The annual report shall be posted on the SFRR web site.
3. Responsibilities of every Leader
a. Lead or co-lead an event, committee and/or project and/or perform duties of an officer each year.
b.Host a monthly team meeting. Organize food offerings one week in advance.
c. Lead a monthly team meeting. Prepare an agenda one week in advance. Notify Independent Leaders of the meeting and request reports.
d. Be prepared to represent the values and mission of Slow Food in the community with other organizations, local government and industry.
e. Be willing to serve on the Personnel Committee which is charged with the responsibility of working with Provisional Leaders to help insure successful integration into the Leadership Team and with acting as an intermediary between leaders who need help resolving interpersonal strife.
f. Be inclusive and respectful of others.
g. Refrain from engaging in disrespectful, harmful, judgmental conversation over the internet.
4. Rights of Leaders
Each leader has the right to:
a. Have her or his ideas respected.
b. Attend Terra Madre and/or national and international congresses.
c. Present himself or herself as a Slow Food Leader in the community.
5. Provisional Leaders
a. Definition of Provisional Leaders: Provisional Leaders are any current Convivium members who agree to join the effort to lead the Convivium for a one-year orientation and training period to become clear about the mission, values and governance of Slow Food USA and the responsibilities of SFRR Convivium leadership.
b. Duties of Provisional Leaders shall be the same duties as those of veteran Leaders.
C. Independent Working Project Teams
These guidelines apply to all Independent Teams such as Apple Core, Media Team and Events Teams.
Good communication between the Leadership Team and Independent Teams is key. The following responsibilities are designed to facilitate and support good communication.
1. Responsibilities of Independent Teams
Independent Teams are responsible to both the Leadership Team and Slow Food Russian River general members therefore Independents must:
a. Abide by the Constitution and Bylaws.
b. Be responsive to Leadership Team concerns about any activities.
c. Refrain from taking positions on politics and policy.
d. Choose a designated liaison between the Leadership Team and the Independent Team.
e. Prepare and present reports of decisions, activities, etc., to the Leadership Team monthly at least one week prior to the regular Leadership Team Meeting.
f. Present an annual line item budget proposal to the Leadership Team no later than December 1st each year.
g. Present specific line item budget requests for expenditures that may occur that are in excess of those in the annual budget proposal to the Leadership Team for approval prior to incurring the expense.
2. With specific reference to the Media Team, which is the face of Slow Food Russian River to the public, any concerns of the Leadership Team about the content of posts on social media including, but not limited to, Facebook, the website, the newsletter must be respected.
a. In the event that a member of the Leadership Team objects to content of the website, social media or newsletters, they shall have direct conversation with the Media Team coordinator about the reasons for the objection to the post. It shall require the agreement of two Leaders to remove the objectionable post.
3. With specific reference to Event Teams, a Leader should be chosen to work with the Media Team to create content and a publicity campaign for their event.
VI. Election and Term of Leaders
1. Prior to the annual meeting, the Leadership Team shall nominate a slate of up to twelve candidates, including proposed Provisional Leaders.
2. The list of candidates, along with a biographical sketch of each candidate, shall be posted on the internet at least one month prior to the annual meeting.
3. The proposed Leadership Team candidates shall be presented to the membership at the annual meeting. The opportunity to query the candidates shall be made available at this time.
4. The slate of candidates for the Leadership Team shall be confirmed by the membership at the annual meeting by a voice vote.
B. Extraordinary Circumstances
Under extraordinary circumstances wherein the membership rejects the nominated slate of candidates, or wherein conflict, tragedy or other unforeseen human condition renders the convivium without leadership, SFUSA shall be called upon to appoint a new Leadership Team of at least three members.
C. Terms of Leaders
There shall be a minimum two-year term for new leaders after their Provisional year has been completed.There is no requirement for the number of years that veteran leaders may serve.
Addendum A – Conflict of Interest Policy
Every person elected or appointed to a position of authority in the Slow Food organization has a duty of loyalty to, and must act in the interests of, that organization. Public perception and confidence in Slow Food USA and Slow Food Russia River are vital to the success of the organization.
Slow Food Russian River is a volunteer-run organization and recognizes that its leaders and members may have conflicts of interest from time to time.
A conflict of interest may arise whenever the personal or professional interests of a leader, staff or volunteer are potentially at odds with the organization’s best interests. Such conflicts are common and acceptable if they benefit the group and if the Leadership Team makes decisions in the chapter’s best interests in a fair and informed manner.
The following steps should be followed to avoid impropriety:
- No member of the Slow Food Leadership Team shall derive any personal profit or gain by reason of his or her participation with Slow Food. This policy prohibits or limits business transactions by Chapter Leaders and requires them to disclose potential conflicts. Upon joining the Leadership Team, each person will sign a conflict of interest policy statement.
- As a normal practice of the Leadership Team, each individual shall disclose to the chapter any personal interest that he or she may have in any matter pending before the chapter and shall refrain from participation in any decision on such matter. Such disclosures should be recorded in the minutes.
- Leaders must withdraw from discussion and voting on decisions that present a potential conflict.
- Although it is not a conflict of interest to reimburse Leaders for expenses incurred, they are prohibited from being paid to serve on the Leadership Team.