Our Board & Committee Members

CarmenCarmen Franz, Tour De Farm Committee Member

Carmen Franz graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Political Science, focusing on Agriculture Policy and Organic and Sustainable Crop Production. She has worked on many organic farms, including Rosie’s Organic Farm in Gainesville, Gateway Organic Farm in Clearwater and several throughout Spain.

Upon graduating, she served as a Sustainable Agriculture Peace Corps volunteer in Panama. After returning to Florida, she worked at UF conducting organic agriculture research. Carmen later started the one-acre, organic teaching farm at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville and was a Duval County UF Master Gardener.

She currently serves as a council person to the Beaches Local Food Network that manages the Green Market on Neptune beach and two community gardens. She works full time for Florida Organic Growers as a Community Food Project Coordinator where she helps farmers markets across the state of Florida accept food stamps. Carmen volunteers for Slow Food First Coast as the Committee Chair for the Tour de Farm.

curtis kernCurtis Kern, Director of Membership

Curtis was born In Des Moines Iowa. He has four wonderful girls – Crystal, Alea, Olivia and Genesis – who have been the joy of his life.

Curtis has lived in Jacksonville most of his life; he graduated from Trinity Christian Academy also went to FJC.

Curtis loves to sing and play the piano; he also loves the outdoors and water. His ambition in life is to help and teach people. Life has been great for Curtis and he has enjoyed his many endeavors of business over the years.

Curtis was a Vice President and Operations Manager of a wholesale food business for over 27 years, while also running a gift and antique shop in Riverside for nearly 6 years. After semi retiring, Curtis became the Operations Manager at Home Depot for 11 years.

Curtis believes that “Life is a challenge and an experience and you make it what you want it to be when all is said and done and hopefully we have learned, grown and most important given yourself to all the people around you. The goal is that they have learned and grown from you.”

Chef Kurt 2Kurt M. D’Aurizio, Director of Events

Kurt M. D’Aurizio can’t recall when he started cooking. “It seems like I’ve been doing it all my life”, Kurt says. This love of food and cooking has driven him through his 30 year career in fine dining.

Kurt attended culinary school in New York and began working in fine dining. He gained knowledge in Rochester’s best restaurants before started his own catering and special events company. After three successful years he relocated to Atlanta to work as executive chef for Fifth Group Restaurants. During his time in Atlanta, Kurt received accolades and awards, serving his cuisine to sports stars, celebrities, politicians, and former presidents.

After five years in Atlanta, Kurt relocated to Myrtle Beach, SC and took over as Director of Cuisine for the 20 unit Divine Dining Group He oversaw six restaurant opening and revitalized existing concepts, working with a team of talented chefs and managers. Family brought Kurt to Jacksonville where he has taken the reigns of Mitchell’s Fish Market in the St. John Town Center.

Kurt’s cuisine is shaped by his belief in seasonal menus, the freshest product available, the best product available, and bringing new ideas to the marketplace. Chef Kurt seeks out local farmers, fishermen, and gourmet food producers to put the best product forward. He is a member of the Sustainable Seafood Initiative, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, Slow Food, and other grass roots culinary associations.

leslieLeslie Kaplan, Director of College & Education Outreach

Dr. Leslie G. Kaplan, Acting Director of the Honors Program at the University of North Florida, holds a Bachelor’s degree from Tufts University in English and Philosophy, a Master’s degree from Oxford University in Middle English Literature, and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in Folklore and Folklife. She is involved with several community organizations focused on food, education, culture, and community, including Children’s International Summer Villages, the Jacksonville Obesity Coalition, and the Slow Food Movement. She has been teaching classes on food and culture since 2003 and has been running a successful nutrition education program at a local public elementary school since 2006.

marciaMarcia MacPherson, Director of Snail of Approval

Following a career in clinical nursing and health education, Marcia has maintained an active interest in foods and their impact on health promotion.    She has served as a board member for Alternatives for Battered Women (a not-for-profit organization in Rochester NY).  She continues to volunteer with the American Red Cross and as a Rape Victim Advocate for the Betty Griffin House (domestic violence and rape crisis services in St Augustine FL).    Marcia has played an active role in Slow Food First Coast (SFFC) since its inception.  She  assisted in the development and currently Co-Director of the Snail of Approval program and has shared directorship of the SFFC Tour de Farm (2011 & 2012).

Mary AnnMary Ann Gendall Rosenthal, Director of Special Projects

Mary Ann recently retired from the University of North Florida (UNF) in Jacksonville, FL as an Assistant Director of Marketing, now working as a web marketing specialist for Aaron Rosenthal, at Thought Projects, LLC., Ponte Vedra Beach, FL.

While with UNF, Mary Ann worked on university identity, alumni events and fundraising efforts as well as brand standards. She was the President and Co-President of the American Institute of Graphic Arts, Jacksonville chapter; Fellow of the AIGA, Jacksonville chapter; and Advisory Board of the AIGA Jacksonville Chapter.

Mary Ann is also co-owner with husband Bill, of the St. Augustine Antique Emporium at 62 San Marco, St. Augustine, FL, and Vintage St. Augustine.

mimiMimi Iannuzzi, Director of Snail of Approval

Mimi Iannuzzi hails from a New York farming family on her father’s side, and a French immigrant chef on her mother’s side. Honoring and protecting the food system has been a generational rite of passage in her family. Mimi headed an elementary school In New York’s Westchester County for thirty years where a cafeteria with a chef did local sourcing and a school garden flourished. During her time in New York, Mimi was a supporting member of the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, established to work toward improving the way America eats and farms. Mimi continues her passion for local sourcing and natural organic practices here in Florida, teaming with Marcia MacPherson to develop, launch and direct the Slow Food First Coast Snail of Approval Program as well as creating the first Tour de Farm in Northeast Florida.

She is an active contributor to numerous not for profit charities in St. Augustine coordinating several large charity fundraisers yearly.

nickiNicki Hicks, Webmaster/Marketing Committee Member

Between working for other businesses and starting her own web design/development and web marketing business (red vine web studio), Nicki has always had a passion for marketing; specifically in the digital world. For over 5 years, Nicki has been working towards connecting businesses with their customers online through SEO, blogging, social media, and other web marketing tactics.

From fitness to food, Nicki has always held a natural, local, and healthy outlook on life, so joining the Slow Food family seemed like a no-brainer!