The Ark of Taste—an interesting and necessary idea

noahThis is a fascinating project.

The Ark of Taste is an online catalogue of foods (including plants, animals, and processed foods) that have cultural significance but are in danger of disappearing. Anyone can nominate a food for inclusion and a committee assesses the nomination and decides if it meets the criteria or not. To be included the product must be of distinctive quality, linked to a specific area and its local traditions, be produced in limited quantities, and be in danger of extinction. Their FAQ has some details about how these judgments are made.

As the food supply becomes more and more globalized and as climate change promises to radically change the kinds of crops grown or plants and animals found in particular regions, this project looks to be crucial in preserving food heritage. Increasingly, this site should become a research tool for food historians and anthropologists.

It began as an Italian project in 1996 and has since grown to encompass the globe. It is sponsored by the the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity, and many commissioners are also officials of the Slow Food Movement.

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