The ark of taste
Where heritage meets biodiversity.
The Ark of Taste is a living catalog of delicious and distinctive foods facing extinction. By identifying and championing these foods, we keep them in production and on our plates.
Agricultural biodiversity and small–scale, family-based food production systems are in danger throughout the world due to industrialization, genetic erosion, changing consumption patterns, climate change, the abandonment of rural areas, migration, and conflict.
The Ark of Taste invites everybody to take action: In some cases, products need to be rediscovered and put back on the table, and producers need to be supported and to have their stories told; in others, such as the case of endangered wild species, it might be better to eat less or none of them in order to preserve them and favor their reproduction.
Ark of Taste in the USA
Since 1996, more than 3,500 products from over 150 countries have been added to the International Ark of Taste. Over 200 of these foods are from the USA, and we are always seeking more edible treasures to include.
Produced in limited quantities, these foods will not be around in another generation or two without immediate action. Risk factors may be biological, commercial, or cultural.
Whether an animal breed, baked treat, fruit, spice, grain, or beverage these foods are prized by those who eat them for their special taste.
No engineered foods here. These foods are linked to the place and the community that protects them. Everything on the Ark of Taste has the potential to be grown, raised or produced without harm to the environment.
To keep these foods’ traditions alive takes many hands. No commercial or trademarked items are allowed on to the Ark of Taste, only foods that anyone may champion, produce, share or sell.
The Ark of Taste is a tool for farmers, ranchers, fishers, chefs, grocers, educators and consumers to seek out and celebrate our country’s diverse biological, cultural and culinary heritage. You can help increase awareness of this catalog by becoming an Ark of Taste ambassador — whether you cultivate Ark of Taste varieties in your farm or garden, cook with them in your kitchen, or organize a field trip to learn about Ark of Taste varieties from growers and stewards of these culturally and historically significant foods in the places where they thrive.
If you’re passionate about promoting and protecting our world’s biodiversity, connect with others who share that passion! Find your nearest chapter to connect with leaders there and find out more about how to support the Ark of Taste on a local level.
If you’re curious about any resources or seed varieties in your area, find and contact your local Ark of Taste Representative—see the list below!
THESE SEED COMPANIES HAVE MADE MANY ARK OF TASTE SEED VARIETIES AVAILABLE. CLICK ANY NAME TO SHOP THEIR SEED COLLECTION!
UPRISING SEEDS – CHECK OUT THEIR ARK OF TASTE SEED SAMPLER!
THE ARK OF TASTE COMMITTEE
The Ark of Taste national committee mobilizes and vets regional Ark nominations, works with Slow Food International for publication, and encourages educational and professional promotion of biodiversity. We are thankful for their expertise and enthusiasm!
Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Florida
Email: AoT Southeast
Dr. David S. Shields is the Carolina Distinguished Professor at the University of South Carolina and the Chairman of the Carolina Gold Rice Foundation. His scholarship explores three fields: early American literary culture, American performing arts photography and food studies. His history Southern Provisions: the Creation and Revival of a Cuisine (University of Chicago 2015), chronicles the emergence in the 1800s of a distinctive set of foodways along the southeastern coast of the United States. As Chair of the CGR Foundation, Shields provided the research enabling Glenn Roberts and Dr. Brian Ward to recover and put into commercial production classic southern ingredients, such as benne, sea island white flint corn, purple straw wheat, purple ribbon sugar cane, the Carolina African runner peanut and the Bradford watermelon. In autumn 2017 the University of Chicago Press will publish his collection of 175 biographical sketches, The Culinarians: Lives and Careers for the first Age of American Fine Dining.
Since 2013 Dr. Shields has chaired Slow Foods Ark of Taste committee for the South. He is the sole author or editor of eleven books and he edited the scholarly journal Early American Literature for a decade. In 2016 he won the Southern Foodways Alliances Keeper of the Flame Award.
Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware
Email: AoT Northeast
Mimi Edelman is the owner of I&Me Farm on the North Fork of Long Island. The farm harvests heritage, Ark of Taste, and global ingredients. Engaged with several New York Slow Food chapters, Mimi is currently on the board of Slow Food East End. She is also the co-coordinator of the Northeast Ark of Taste Committee. Mimi received the Snailblazer Biodiversity Award in 2019.
Jeff is a Community Seed Organizer with the Community Seed Resource Program through Seed Savers Exchange and Seed Matters and presents sustainability workshops through the Stockton Center of Successful Aging at Stockton University in Pomona, NJ. He is an artist and activist who founded the Library Seed Bank in 2014 where he works with public libraries and community groups to establish seed lending libraries in southern New Jersey. Jeff has a B.A. is in the fine arts, and recently blended his art and activism with a series of propaganda posters about food sovereignty, and local heirloom varieties of food.
Jeanne Calabrese is a sustainable agriculture and food justice advocate. For years she has cultivated her knowledge of local food systems and growing practices in order to gain a better understanding of how to impact positive change within the food system. This has led her to complete the Stateline Farm Beginnings course, a residency program in fermentation, certification as a master food preserver and an apprenticeship on a small apple orchard. She has taken numerous workshops at food and farming conferences throughout the US. She is co-founder of City Orchards, a 501c3 entity that designs, implements and manages micro orchards on Chicago’s westside. She has been a member of the Midwest Ark of Taste since its inception and is a former Slow Food Chicago board member.
Linda Ziedrich is a writer and editor who specializes in the subject of food from garden to table. Her work involves experimentation with growing, processing, and cooking uncommon fruits and vegetables, including Ark of Taste products. Linda is a founder of the Santiam Food Alliance, a Slow Food Corvallis board member, and a co-coordinator of the Ark of Taste National Committee. She lives in Lebanon, Oregon, in the heart of the Willamette Valley.
Texas, Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, Arizona
Email: AoT Moutain Southwest
John Casazza grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and turned his passion for outdoors and nature into a degree in Soils and Plant Nutrition from UC Berkeley. This led him to a career in production agriculture growing pineapple, bananas, papaya, mango, asparagus and salad vegetables. He’s currently working as a consultant in sustainable agriculture development to help farmers diversify and improve crop production. He now lives in San Francisco and continues to use it as a base for his consulting business. He is on the board of directors of Slow Food California and Catracha Community (a non-profit supporting a Honduran coffee community) and is a member of the Pie Ranch Advisory Board and the Global Seed Savers Program Committee.