Ark of Taste
The Ark of Taste is one of Slow Food's most important international programs.
It seeks to identify foods that are threatened by the 'industrial' food system.
In this way, Slow Food seeks to
— promote biodiversity in our food system,
— recognise culturally important and diverse foods (including the ways they are produced, prepared and eaten) and,
— in many cases, help protect the livelihoods of small scale producers across the globe.
Why is biodiversity such an issue for our food system? In 1999, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) reported that:
— since the 1900s, some 75 per cent of plant genetic biodiversity has been lost as ... multiple local varieties [have been replaced by] genetically uniform, high-yielding varieties;
— 30 per cent of livestock breeds are at risk of extinction; six breeds are lost each month;
— today, 75 per cent of the world's food is generated from only 12 plants and five animal species;
— of the 250,000 – 300,000 known edible plant species, only 150 - 200 are used by humans. Only three — rice, maize and wheat — contribute nearly 60 per cent of calories and proteins obtained by humans from plants.
This ongoing process of biodiversity loss leaves us vulnerable to pests and diseases — but especially to the impact of climate change. It also concentrates the control of our food supply into the hands of a very small number of global corporations.
For these reasons, Slow Food seeks to identify, protect and promote culturally, socially and economically important food varieties.
The full list of foods recognised on the Ark of Taste internationally can be found on the Slow Food international website.
Ark of Taste products in our region
Slow Food Canberra has been successful in having two locally produced products recognised on the Ark of Taste:
Galloway beef is available from local Galloway producers (as well as long-standing Slow Food members and successful nominators) Greg and Chris Stuart of Minto Galloways. Greg and Chris can be found pretty much every Saturday morning at the Capital Region Farmers Market (EPIC).
Monaro Purple garlic is produced by local garlic growers in the Braidwood district, including Slow Food members and successful nominators Bronwyn and Helen from Wynlen House Village Farm, Braidwood. Monaro Purple garlic is also grown by the Braidwood Garlic Growers Co-operative.
For other Australian Ark of Taste products, please go to the Slow Food in Australia website.