Treasures of the North – A Celebration of Indigenous Foods and Culture in Russia

21 Apr 2015

From April 22 – 26, the tenth edition of the international fair Sokrovischa Severa (Treasures of the North) will take place in Moscow. The exhibition is dedicated to everyday life, and the food culture, music and art of Indigenous Peoples from the north of Russia.


The Slow Food Kovcheg-Moscow Convivium will have a booth at the event, which will feature tastings, promote different local and indigenous foods, and bring together producers from the region. 


Julia Yakel, Director of the Legal Center at the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East, explains the importance of the participation of Slow Food at the fair:


“The main objectives of the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the Russian North, Siberia and the Far East are the preservation and promotion of the language, culture and traditional lifestyles of Indigenous peoples. Local food, in this context, has always been crucial, equivalent to air and water. However, in recent years, with the advent of globalization, industrial products have gained the upper hand, especially among young people, wining over their minds, health and lifestyle. The philosophy and the experience of Slow Food in the conservation of biodiversity are especially interesting and important for the native people of Russia. Many of them have managed to preserve the traditional knowledge: reindeer herders, fishers, hunters and gatherers still use the old methods of production and preparation of food.”


The Slow Food Terra Madre network in Russia has more than 60 communities and 18 local groups, including 30 communities and seven indigenous groups, working to promote and protect good, clean and fair food.


The Ark of Taste includes more than 20 food products from Russia, 9 of which are related to indigenous communities. During the fair, new indigenous foods will be nominated to be included in the Ark catalogue. Among these are a type of dried fish called Yukola, typical of the culinary culture of the people of Nivkhi (from the region of Sakhalin). The Yukola is a daily food, and a symbol of a poor but basic food, present on every table.


Yukola uses different species of fish, especially wild salmon. The fish is cleaned and cut into strips, which are then hung and exposed to the wind and the sun on a building, characteristic of the area of ​​Nivkhi.


The participation of the representatives from Slow Food and Terra Madre at “Sokrovischa Severa 2015” is an opportunity to strengthen the network of indigenous communities and will serve in the preparation of a major international event – the second edition of Indigenous Terra Madre – to be held this November in India.


Photo credit: Stephanie Lombard 


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