Slow Food – US Ark of Taste
The US Ark of Taste is a catalog of over 200 delicious foods in danger of extinction. By promoting and eating Ark products we help ensure they remain in production and on our plates.
The Ark is an international catalog of foods that are threatened by industrial standardization, the regulations of large-scale distribution and environmental damage. In an effort to cultivate consumer demand—key to agricultural conservation—only the best tasting endangered foods make it onto the Ark.
Since 1996, more than 800 products from over 50 countries have been added to the international Ark of Taste. The US Ark of Taste profiles over 200 rare regional foods, and is a tool that helps farmers, ranchers, fishers, chefs, retail grocers, educators and consumers celebrate our country’s diverse biological, cultural and culinary heritage.
To qualify for the US Ark of Taste, food products must be:
- Outstanding in terms of taste—as defined in the context of local traditions and uses
- At risk biologically or as culinary traditions
- Sustainably produced
- Culturally or historically linked to a specific region, locality, ethnicity or traditional production practice
- Produced in limited quantities, by farms or by small-scale processing companies
Product categories include vegetables, fruits and berries, nuts, cereals, cheeses, fish, shellfish, game, livestock, poultry, beverages, honey, spices, syrups, vinegars, and more.
The Slow Food USA biodiversity committee evaluates Ark of Taste nominations on an on-going basis.
Find Ark of Taste Producers
Each Ark of Taste product profile includes a short list of producers, seed sources or nursery stock sources.
Slow Food USA has also teamed up with LocalHarvest, a comprehensive online directory of small farmers, farmers markets and other local food sources, to increase the visibility of Ark foods – encouraging producers to grow more foods in danger of disappearing, and consumers to seek them out in the marketplace. Slow Food USA does not review the information found in the listings. You should contact the farm to confirm that their listing is current and review the Farming Practices section of their listing.
Get Involved and Learn More
Many foods fall out of favor because they do not fit into our industrial food production system. Although the foods may still be produced on a small scale, their flavors, fragrances and textures slip into obscurity. Through action we can help preserve these foods.
Here are several ways to get involved:
- Encourage a local chef or restaurant to use heirloom or heritage foods
- Grow heirloom fruits and vegetables in your garden
- Host a dinner or picnic featuring regional foods that deserve a long-term place on our plate
- Organize a field trip to seek out the rare foods in your area
- Start a recovery project for an endangered food or food production method
- Become a seed saver or fruit explorer and organize seasonal events to exchange varieties with others in your community
- Nominate a food deserving attention from your region to the Ark of Taste
- Join Slow Food USA and become active in your local chapter!