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From One Chapter Leader to Another: In Memory of SFC Co-Founder Bear Braumoeller

We are saddened by the recent news of Slow Food Columbus co-founder and former Chapter Leader Bear Braumoeller's passing, and our hearts go out to his family, friends, and all who have known him. We welcome you to share any photos and fond memories you may have of him, by emailing us here; we will plan to organize any submissions we receive as a separate post on our blog.

In the meantime, we invite you to visit this website, which redirects to a college education fund that has been organized for Bear and Kristen's daughter Molly. Moreover, following are reflections from current Chapter Leader Mark Anthony Arceño, which were posted earlier today on Instagram and our Facebook page.

𝑭𝒓𝒐𝒎 𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝑪𝒉𝒂𝒑𝒕𝒆𝒓 𝑳𝒆𝒂𝒅𝒆𝒓 𝒕𝒐 𝒂𝒏𝒐𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓: 𝒊𝒏 𝑴𝒆𝒎𝒐𝒓𝒚 𝒐𝒇 𝑩𝒆𝒂𝒓

This wasn't the #foodieFriday post I intended to write this week, but here we are. Dr. Bear Braumoeller always seemed to have just the right words to say. I can only hope these are half as good.

I actually didn't really know Bear as the juggernaut academic whose CV I always found to be a bit intimidating, but rather as a foodie and Slow Food Columbus co-founder whose presence was both unpretentious and instantaneously recognizable. He cared about relating to you and wanting everyone to feel included at the table.

Bear was one of the first foodies I met when I moved to Ohio, and I got involved with SFC and Slow Food USA because of him. Whenever I introduce people to the Slow Food movement, and talk about conviviality and its founding principles in defense of the pleasures of food and eating, I hear in my head Bear's voice and the cadence he had whenever he eloquently explained it all. Since the moment I first heard him talk about it more than a decade ago, I swear his tone was always the same. He was direct and consistent, yet never robotic or rehearsed. You could listen to him all day.

As a stalwart champion of Columbus's food scene, Bear always seemed to know everyone and have just the right recommendations. And even if you didn't know him, it seemed like you had within minutes of meeting him. He was a connector, a bridge-builder, and an example of what it means to learn through food and what we strive to be as a Chapter.

It was because of Bear that I felt comfortable questioning what good, clean, and fair mean, especially in terms of having those tenets be accessible to all, to try and make sure that everyone has a seat at the table. And it was (and is) because of him that I feel inspired as Chapter Leader, despite feeling the weight of his seemingly effortless approach to the role.

My heart goes out to Kristen and their daughter, to his colleagues and students in OSU's Department of Political Science, and to anyone who has ever benefitted from knowing him to any extent. May we find comfort in our memories of Bear, and again enjoy the pleasures of food and eating.

Posted above is what I'm fairly certain is my last photo with Bear, alongside current Board member Dr. Jen Dyer, at Seventh Son Brewing Co. We had just finished presenting the first (and only) in-person lecture series event with Ohio State's Anthropology Public Outreach Program, about a week or so before the pandemic began.


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