Last night Slow Food Charleston, a chapter of the national organization that promotes gastronomic culture, taste education, and agricultural biodiversity conservation, gave out its inaugural Snail Awards for leaders in the local food movement.

As Slow Food executive director Rebecca Burke shared, the awards were created to honor six categories of individuals working in food in Charleston — The Legend, The Activist, The Provider, The Artist (with food and beverage sub categories), The Place, and The SnailBlazer. 

And the awards went to:

The Legend: Mike Lata, FIG & The Ordinary
Lata helped found Slow Food in 2004 and in his speech he said his biggest inspiration as chef comes from the produce local farmers give him.

The Activist: Charleston County Green Waste Program
The organization helps restaurants reduce waste by recycling and composting.

The Provider: Celeste Albers, Green Grocer
A pioneer in the Charleston Slow Food movement, Albers has practiced what she’s preached for years. She currently provides the area with raw milk, grass-fed Jersey beef, and Anson Mills products.

The Artist:
Artist in Food: Craig Deihl
You may know him for his vast charcuterie skills, but Deihl has also been a leader in educating children in the importance of healthy eating volunteering with Slow Food’s Chefs-in-Schools program.

Artist in Beverage: High Wire Distilling
Owners Ann Marshall and Scott Blackwell may have only been running their King Street’s High Wire Distilling operation for two years, but in that time they’ve made huge strides furthering Charleston’s liquor legacy, from crafting a Southern sorghum whiskey to making an heirloom brandy from Bradford watermelons.

The Place: GrowFood Carolina
As Sara Clow, GrowFood’s general manager said, there used to be a time when middleman was a bad word. But that’s not the case with GrowFood, a food hub that connects farms up to 120 miles with business outlets for their products.  

The SnailBlazer: Germaine Jenkins, Fresh Future Farm
As we’ve written about, Jenkins is the woman behind Fresh Future Farm, a project aimed to bring an urban farm to North Charleston’s food desert. For her work, Jenkins was awarded $1,000 from Slow Food Charleston.

Congratulations to all of the winners.