Today is World Biodiversity Day!

22 May 2017 | English

Slow Food sums up the work carried out in the past 15 years of activity aimed at protecting agricultural food biodiversity across the world. It was in fact the first global, grassroots organization to say that safeguarding biodiversity does not mean protecting only wildlife.

Slow Food clearly affirmed that biological diversity is first and foremost agri-food biodiversity. Extinction is not limited to species in the wild, but also to the plants and animals that have been raised through 10,000 years of selective breeding.

What has Slow Food achieved so far in defense of agri-food biodiversity?

  • 4396 Ark of Taste products in 143 countries, of which 700 are indigenous foods. The Ark of Taste is a catalog of traditional food products that risk disappearing – not just fruit, vegetables and animal breeds, but also cheeses, breads and sweets.
  • 514 Slow Food Presidia in 69 countries involving more than 17,880 producers. Presidia support rural communities in recovering and promoting heritage varieties and local breeds
  • 59 Earth Markets in 17 countries where 1497 producers sell.
  • 2634 Gardens in 36 African countries grown by 52,680 farmers.
  • 2706 Food Communities in 159 countries that involve 74,208 people.
  • 789 cooks from the Slow Food Chefs’ Alliance in 17 countries.

 Agri-food biodiversity, which farmers have historically created along centuries of work, has an enormous impact on the food that we eat. But biodiversity is also our insurance for the future, because it allows plants and animals to adapt to climate change, parasites and disease. A system based on a reduced variety is more fragile.

In the last century, 75% of crop biodiversity has been lost, and 17% of all livestock breeds are at risk of extinction. More than 250,000 edible plant species and over 8500 livestock breeds have disappeared. Extinctions have always happened, but the speed with which they’re happening in the current period, and the cause, are exceptional. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, today 75% of all the food we eat comes from just 12 plant and five animal species.

Slow Food International Press Office

[email protected] – Twitter: @SlowFoodPress

Slow Food is a global grassroots organization that envisions a world in which all people can access and enjoy food that is good for them, good for those who grow it and good for the planet. Slow Food involves over a million activists, chefs, experts, youth, farmers, fishers and academics in over 160 countries. Among them, a network of around 100,000 Slow Food members are linked to 1,500 local chapters worldwide, contributing through their membership fee, as well as the events and campaigns they organize. As part of the network, more than 2,400 Terra Madre food communities practice small-scale and sustainable production of quality food around the world.

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