The Slow Food Russian River Leadership Team for 2023

Paula Downing

Paula is inspired to bring more school groups to the Apple Press and to connect with local farms, farmers as well as other like-minded organizations to further our common goals.

Shari Figi

Shari focuses her time on the endangered Gravenstein apple, protecting our pollinators and promoting local farms that incorporate organic practices.

Carole Flaherty

A retired horticulturalist now farming a certified organic orchard of over 200 apple, pear and stone fruit trees, Carol has volunteered, along with her husband Pat, at the Free Community Apple Press for 5 years. She is also Assistant Bio-Manager for the Rare Fruit Growers Redwood Empire Chapter.

Peggy Myers Knopp (Treasurer)

Peggy is a retired CPA. She and her husband, Ray, have volunteered at the Community Apple Press. Peggy was so impressed by the purpose, the people and the energy that she has offered her accounting skills as our new treasurer.

Rick Mead

Rick has been committed to SFRR for a decade and is a wonderful, welcoming volunteer at the Community Apple Press. He increased his participation last year by organizing our booth at the Farm Trails Gravenstein Apple Fair, where a team of volunteers distributed over 5,000 samples of fresh-pressed Gravenstein apple juice. He’s already working on our booth for this year which will be bigger.

Jim Reichardt

Jim has been part of a local farming community for decades. He is a past leader of SFRR and helped build our chapter. He is passionate about the Slow Food movement, both domestic and international and is committed to supporting small family farms and preserving heritage breeds. “Know your farmers and where your food comes from!”

Paul Sequeira

Paul is rejoining the Board this year. He feels fortunate to dwell in this beautiful and bountiful place and to be part of the passionate and engaged Slow Food community. He lives in Sebastopol and works as a vineyard manager. He is hoping to find a way to bridge the gap between the wine industry and the environmental movement just as Slow Food has done. .

Paula Shatkin

Paula was a founder and has been a leader of SFRR for over 20 years. She is currently the coordinator of the Gravenstein Apple project with a special interest in helping our burgeoning hard cider makers procure and use local apples. She is returning to this team to help revitalize our connections with people who grow and make food in our community and contribute to the biodiversity of our lands.

Catherine Thode

Catherine is our Turkey Family leader. She has been part of SFRR since 2006, the first year we co-sponsored the Heritage Turkey Project. She brings her wonderful blend of interest in preserving heritage breeds, working with kids, and educating the public about genetic diversity. We will be selling Heritage turkeys again this year!