‘As public alarm about rapidly rising food prices intensifies, governments are turning their attention to increasing production, and we find ourselves facing one the most difficult moments for biodiversity protection in history,’ said Piero Sardo, president of the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity in his opening speech last weekend’s meeting of the International Ark of Taste Commission held in Tuscany.
The Ark of Taste aims to rediscover, catalog and describe forgotten foods, bringing them back into the public consciousness. The list includes almost 800 high quality foods from over 50 countries around the world, which are threatened by industrial standardization, hygiene laws, the mass market and environmental damage, but have real economic and commercial viability.
Representatives from 24 countries discussed the current Ark regulations, focusing in particular on the wide-ranging interpretations – historic, cultural and geographic – of territory. Slow Food International Secretary Paolo Di Croce highlighted the need for flexibility and communication in order for the Ark of Taste to function successfully as an international project, with ‘a continual flow of ideas and sharing of problems and solutions.’
To strengthen the bond between the Ark project and the Foundation’s second major project, the Presidia, the meeting also included a seminar open to Presidia coordinators. Focused on fruits and vegetables, the seminar included protecting local heritage varieties, sustainable cultivation methods, and preserving, eco-packaging, labeling and marketing techniques for quality products.
The international meeting also marked five years of activity by the Slow Food Foundation of Biodiversity and the launch of the Bistrot del Mondo initiative. Located in Scandicci, the new multipurpose catering and events venue includes a cafeteria where you can taste and buy Presidia products and an exhibition space showcasing Foundation activities. It will also serve as the headquarters for the Terra Madre Tuscany network and provide internships for the students from the University of Gastronomic Science and Tuscany schools.
For more information: