Process and Standards

Slow Food in Sonoma County envisions these standards as guiding principles to embodying core Slow Food values. We understand that practicing Slow Food values is a process based on commitment, passion, and practicality, not on a rubric of metrics. Therefore, applicants need only meet 83.3 % (30 of possible 36 points) of the criteria listed below to be considered for the Snail of Approval   Each of the 12 criteria are ranked from 0-3 points with fractional points to be used. The average of the 3-person team (Snail committee member + 2 SF members at large) is calculated to determine approval / rejection status. A typical site visit lasts 90 minutes. A current standard menu will be requested for review and reference prior to the site visit.


Seasonality: Menu emphasizes use of seasonal, fresh, local produce.

Taste: Menu offers fresh and wholesome ingredients; food is prepared with care and craft.

Artisan: Presents fine food created by their own or the hands of other artisans; traditional foods are true to their cultural heritage.

Authenticity: Heirloom varietals and heritage breeds are true to their evolutionary history and incorporated in menus and products.


Sustainability: Establishment uses natural products free of additives and strives to incorporate local, seasonal foods on the menu as much as possible with regard to provenance and production methods. Uses meats, dairy, fish, and shellfish that have been produced responsibly, sustainably, and humanely from reputable providers. Produce is grown and harvested with methods that have a positive impact on our local ecosystems and promotes biodiversity.

Low Impact: Produces food using products and processes that minimize waste and impact of food production/distribution (e.g., avoids single-use, non-recyclable packaging/products; participates in recycling/composting and low-carbon delivery programs).

Connection: Aims to communicate regularly with distributors and producers about the quality of, and production and processing of, produce and product. Regular dialogue ensures traceability and a commitment to food safety.


Local/Regional Sourcing: Work to source from within 100 miles.

Awareness: Establishment includes outreach and education for customers on the source of the products used.

Fair Business and Labor Practices: Contributes to the quality of life in Sonoma County through fair employment practices; purchases ingredients produced by people who are treated with dignity and justly compensated for their labor.

Humane: Humans and animals are treated with dignity and respect, from farm to table. Use of growth hormones and antibiotics is limited. Animals are free to move and not confined. Managers and caretakers are thoroughly trained, skilled and competent in animal husbandry and welfare.

Community: Contributes to the uniqueness and richness of the Sonoma County food community. Involved in advancing the awareness of Slow Food principles in the community through sharing time, talent, knowledge, and/or resources.

Monitoring & Evaluation

Slow Food in Sonoma County monitors the integrity of Snail of Approval restaurants and artisans through ongoing feedback from Slow Food Sonoma County North and Slow Food Russian River members.

  • Snail of Approval certification is valid for two years; renewal follows the initial process

Please contact us with any questions you may have about these standards by emailing us at