There are more than one-thousand traditional foods catalogued on the Slow Food Ark of Taste: from Canada, where bison of the Prairies are disappearing due to lack of pastures, to India, where the aromatic Indian mandarin khasi is cultivated in tiny quantities. Listed are products from all around the world, traditional cheeses, animal breeds, sweets, and fruits that risk of disappearing in the face of the rampant homologation dictated by the global market.
In Belarus, for now, The Ark of Taste has added just one passenger: it is the entry of Rosson wild fruits and infusions, which since 2006 has also been part of the Presidia project.
At the start of May, the Slow Food Minsk Convivium organized a round table discussion titled "Organic products, how to produce them and why it will save biodiversity in Belarus". Participating in the meeting were members of the Convivium, specialists in organic agriculture, journalists, and producers from the diverse Terra Madre community: beekeepers of Central Belarus, organic producers from the Minsk region, and farmers raising Dzerzhinsk goats. At the end of the meeting, a press conference was held accompanied by a tasting of local products, such as honey from Central Belarus and goat's milk from the "DAK" Farm.
During the round table, the participants discussed the importance of biodiversity for agriculture and decided to launch a true and proper campaign to search for new endangered products to nominate to the Ark of Taste.
Slow Food Minsk and the other three Convivia of the country have thus taken up the goals set by the 6th International Slow Food Congress: at the end of 2012, the delegates reunited in Turin and reiterated the central role that the protection of biodiversity must take in the association's activities.
The first leg of the campaign will include Terra Madre Day 2013, which, on December 10th, will be dedicated to local products at the risk of extinction to be proposed to the Ark of Taste, with the hope that this will reverse their decline.
After the round table, readers of the news portal INTERFAX were invited to vote on the products to be nominated to the Ark. The results of the survey demonstrated that consumers were worried about the methods used to produce food: there should be meat without artificial growth hormones, bread and beverages without chemical additives, and fruit and vegetables without pesticides.
According to Olga Schiglinskaya, a specialist in permaculture, "In Belarus, ‘clean' production can be guaranteed only by the government, which should intervene with targeted subsidies, or by the producer himself, who, if he is convinced of the importance of his work, should not damage his reputation, but should be inspired to produce only healthy foods."
For more information:
To nominate a product to the Ark:
Press releases (in Russian):
1) a) В Беларуси решено спасать исчезающие продукты питания - 03.05.13
b) Опрос: В Беларуси хотят создать «Красную книгу исчезающих продуктов питания». Что бы вы включили в этот список? - 03.05.13
2) Белорусские фиточаи занесены в международный каталог исчезающих продуктов питания "Ковчег вкуса" - 04.05.13
3) В Беларуси появится «продовольственная Красная книга» - 06.05.13