Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Kayleigh and I ended our internship on May 15th. We spent our last week tying up loose ends for our social media strategy, and figuring out if the Slow Food Summer Series would truly happen. When we talked with Arielle we all came to the conclusion that the Summer Series would not be feasible this year. Suzanne, the chair of the Saratoga Farmers Market was pressuring us for exact dates and activities and we could not give her concrete information on our end. We had expectations to collaborate with different organizations (i.e. Skidmore Student Garden, Farmland Trust) but their was constant miscommunication. We had contacted the Skidmore student garden for an interview and in hopes of having them become a part of the series. We went there twice for a scheduled interview and both times they cancelled on us at the last minute. We were only able to get footage for the documentary and they never followed through with contacting us back about the Series. The Farmland Trust, who initially agreed to work with us on the series also never followed through. This left us with only three solid dates. Kayleigh and I were also leaving for the summer and there was really no one but Arielle to take this project on through the summer. We had initially thought that there was going to be two new interns to help Ari but neither could commit to all the dates. It was unfortunate because we had a lot of support from the Slow Food Board and the Farmer's Market but not enough resources. We learned a good lesson though. Sometimes things just don't work out and you have to made a decision to consciously pull the plug. We also did not want to leave it up to Arielle. It was our idea and we had to take ownership.

As far as the documentary. We continued to work on it past the 15th. We filmed a few more interviews at the market and some local footage around town. Kayleigh went home for a few weeks after her semester and then we edited it at the beginning of June before I left on my next adventure.

We wrapped up our internship with Arielle by creating a report on the tasks we accomplished and an overview on how we felt our internship went. For both of us, the documentary was the most meaningful. We met some of the farmers, restaurant owners, farmer's market board members, and community members who are involved in the local food movement. We also learned quite a bit about Slow Food in the community. Most of those we interviewed did not think they were a part of the movement and/or did not want to be associated with a "movement."I realized that our target audience will need to shift in order for Slow Food Saratoga to grow within the community. This local foodie driven organization by foodies, for foodies must also showcase the local farmer and the consumer accessibility issues. For me, Slow Food is about bringing to light the social and environmental issues that surround our current food system and working to create change. From what I have learned, the organization does honor ethical food but must also work to incorporate a broader audience within it's mission.

Overall the internship was really nice. I learned a lot about a start-up non profit organization. Slow Food Saratoga Region in particular that has no paid employees which I find makes things harder because everyone involved has another full-time commitment. There was never a constant stream of support from the board because everyone was really busy with other projects, jobs, kids, and life in general. Arielle took over as President of the Board mid-semester. This change in power was very apparent. John Sconzo the president before Arielle and basically built Slow Food Saratoga Region from the bottom up. He was obviously ready for a change and realized that the organization needed new energy but that meant that a lot of info and responsibility was transferred to Ari. I know Arielle has a great vision for the organization and her new role will be beneficially for the future of SFSR but like any transition, it takes time.

Kayleigh and I were Arielle's first interns and I think she learned a lot from us. We definitely learned to take some things into our own hands. Kayleigh and I started meeting on our own a few times a week in order to make sure we were getting everything done. We were given a lot of support to foster out own projects and out of that came the documentary.

We came in as interns during an important transition period for Slow Food. It was interesting to learn about an organization that I had been admiring for so long. When I head back home I hope to continue to help out with Slow Food and support their work within the community.

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