Emily Bell is an avid cook and food lover. She has worked in the wine business for the last 11 years, including five years at a Napa-based biodynamic winery. Her appreciation of local, artisanal, and seasonal food was learned in the garden and kitchen of her Italian-American grandparents’ home in Central Pennsylvania, and has evolved into a lifelong exploration of gastronomy and food tradition. Emily is a graduate of the School of Hotel/Restaurant Management at Penn State and the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone.
Gaia Di Giacomo
Nutrition has been a major focus in Gaia’s life since childhood. She was born and raised in Southern Italy, where the culinary tradition is very strong. As a child, she would bake cakes with her mom and learned Italian traditional recipes from her grandmother. The Italian culture and passion for cooking that her mom instilled in her triggered her interest in nutrition and dietetics. Gaia earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in nutrition from Italy. In 2013, she moved to Philadelphia. She completed her Didactic Programs in Dietetics from West Chester University, PA and become a Registered Dietitian. She currently works as an in-store dietitian in ShopRite of Millville, helping people make healthier choices
Jennifer Dolan, MS, RDN, CNSC is an Advanced Dietitian Specialist on the Nutrition Support Service at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and is a faculty member in the PENN School of Nursing where she teaches Principles of Human Nutrition and Case Studies in Clinical Nutrition. She has more than twenty five years of experience in clinical nutrition and nutrition support and has conducted research in pulmonary and lung transplantation nutrition. She has presented locally and nationally on a variety of clinical nutrition topics and has provided professional leadership on a local and national level. She is in the process of creating a podcast entitled “Jennifer’s Twist” about local farmers, food makers, and chefs.
Karen, a self proclaimed locavore who grew up on a dairy farm in Minnesota, moved to Philadelphia in August 2010 from Illinois, where she co-founded and was the President of the Geneva Green Market for 5 years. The group supported small, local, sustainable farmers within 200 miles of Geneva Illinois. She hosted and organized an educational kid’s corner and coordinated the Chef demo events every market day. Karen also promoted the benefits of local food to various organizations within the Fox River Valley in Kane County. She served as a member of the Fit for Kane Coalition, a group that was formed to study and apply for a grant to fight childhood obesity.
Melissa joined our organization in 2016. She was first introduced to the Slow Food movement while traveling in Piedmont, Italy in 2008. After learning the story behind it and dining in restaurants that supported it, she was on board.
She is an avid gardener and cook. She grows over 50 different varieties of vegetables, herbs and fruits, all propagated from seed. The seeds are selectively sourced to be open pollinating and preserve bio diversity. All produce is maintained organically.
Professionally, Melissa has spent her time divided between the microbrewery industry, restaurants and a long career in the wine industry.
Chef Michèle Haines, founder of Spring Mill Café, devotes her life to promoting peace through food. She has been a member of Slow Food Philadelphia for over 20 years. After giving her restaurant to her son Ezra, Michèle has travelled all over the world, cooking and sharing meals with all kinds of people. Being a chef is just one of many things that Michele identifies as – she is a raconteur, freelance journalist, photographer, interpreter, and teacher. All of which allow her to create programs that spread peace and initiate discussions about various topics such as religious freedom, literature, and music as they relate to a number of cultures.