Building an Ark of Taste in Scotland

For the past month or so, I’ve been helping to develop a plan for Slow Food Scotland’s ambitious Ark of Taste project. If you’re not familiar with the Ark of Taste, its a fantastic program organised by the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity, based in Bra, Italy. In short, the Ark of Taste is an international catalogue of over 2500 plants, breeds, wild species, and processed products that belong to the cultures, history, and traditions of local communities around the world, and are at risk of extinction and/or of losing their essence due to the homogenization of the food industry.
 
In many ways, I feel it is the Ark of Taste that gives Slow Food its integrity and soul, and is the core reason I am a member of Slow Food.
 
 
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Here in Scotland, the Ark has struggled, despite many well meaning individuals who believe strongly in it. But, inspired by the devolution of Slow Food UK, and the foundation of a Scottish national body this year, Slow Food Scotland has taken a challenge issued to it by Carlo Petrini to have 100 items boarded on the Scottish Ark in the next year. This is an ambitious goal, considering there are currently only 87 UK wide, 10 of which come from Scotland.

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This past week an EU report was released claimed 77% of European Habitats are at risk and 56% of species are at risk. The Scottish Ark commission has identified over 250 potential products in Scotland, and has set a goal of boarding 100 of them by October 2016 when Slow Food International hosts its next international Terra Madre.

I’m extremely honoured to have been asked to coordinate this ambitious project, working with volunteers, researchers, chefs, and producers to dig into Scotland’s culinary and agricultural history.
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For the past few years, the Ark has been the core of my work with the Lockhart Family Farm, Slow Food RVA, and on Slow Food’s Slow Meat committee, and I can’t wait to dig in.

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If you’re interested in giving me a hand in any way, or suggesting items for the Scottish Ark, please do get in touch! We’re going to need lots of help to achieve our goal, and after to re-introduce these products to the food system!
 
Email me at arkoftaste@slowfoodscotland.com for more information.
 
– Post Courtesy of Josiah Lockhart
 

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