Friday, June 7, 2013

Ark of Taste, Conservation is Delicious!

I am always fascinated at how humans handle crises. Reactions range from numbing and denial through addictions or cults, violence which never accomplishes anything or alignment with the oppressor in a vain hope that this will allow them refuge from the horror. The Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity through it's Ark of Taste and Presidia projects are some of the truly innovative and successful endeavors to actually transform our global climate change crises. Through the promotion of "food biodiversity" 

The Ark of Taste is a delightful collection of food items from all over the globe.

The Ark is a living collection of distinctive and meaningful foods in danger of extinction. Individual Slow Food Chapters take on promotion of Ark Products through suppers, farmers market demonstrations and educational events.

The Presidia is a certification program to promote food communities, preserve cultural heritage and highlight a new agricultural model, based on quality, and  recovery of traditional knowledge and respect for seasons, human and animal welfare.

Presidias are revitalizing communities with sustainable economic bases, that have been traditionally demolished by world trade agreements and agricultural treaties.

Traditional Polish Smoked Cheeses

 Imaraguen Women's Mullet Botargo, produces smoked fish product, they harvest the Mullet with the aid of Dolphins, they sing traditional songs to signal the Dolphins off the coast of Mauritania, who then help herd the Mullet into nets.

Macedonian Wild Fig Jam Presidia has fostered cottage industry, festivals and revived local economies

Cardamom Producers from Mexico

More og Romsdal Salt Cod from Norway, now THIS is a Fisheman!

When I attended my first Terra Madre in Turin, it was during the beginning days of the global economic collapse. There were rising oil prices, food riots in poor nations, and it was anyones guess if global stock exchanges and banks would collapse. In the halls of the Terra Madre Presidia, was the solution to all the worlds problems, and it was fun, calm and delicious!

Scenes from the Presidia Market Place, this is what I call a REAL FOOD court

At the 6th International Congress for Slow Food International, we delegates were given the charge to add 10,000 products to the Ark

Here in the USA, we have revitalized our efforts to meet the challenge of adding our literal "piece of the pie" to the Ark with native and naturalized food items that span our incredibly diverse continent. 

Regional committees are being formed, and there is a national review board comprised of leaders in ethnobotany, agriculture and culinary communities. I am particularly moved by the efforts of the Native Nations that are helping shape our consciousness for the heritage our continent provides. 

The Bodega Potato Project from the Russian River Slow Food Chapter

When I witness the destruction of farm land and our shores through energy and gas exploration, see politicians bow to GMO multinationals, feel the ominous effects of global climate change, I gain hope and courage to go forward, knowing I have an army of farmers, chefs, cheese mongers, food preservers and fishermen all collaborating to protect our global plate. Judging by my experience, we have a very bright and delicious future ahead! For all the interviews make sure to listen to the podcast at

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