By Simran Sethi
I first learned about biodiversity through Slow Food, though I didn’t realize it at the time. I was pouring through a book that referenced Carlo Petrini and everything he was doing to replace fast with slow – reminding people that there were delicious, nourishing alternatives to our industrialized food system. This awareness changed how I saw every meal. It reminded me that every morsel I consumed was a choice. Not everyone has these choices, I realize, but I believe that, if we do, we owe it to ourselves – and to the world – to nourish ourselves well. Saving the diverse foods we love by eating them and encouraging others to continue to do the same.
Agricultural biodiversity is the foundation of agriculture and food. It’s what emerges out of the connection between
1. the microorganisms, plants and animals we eat and drink;
2. the inputs that support their creation and development, including bees and other pollinators, as well as the quality of nutrients in the soil;
3. nonliving influences on our ability to grow and gather food, such as temperature and the structures of farms; and
4. a range of socioeconomic and cultural issues that inform what and how we eat.
I was asked to join Slow Food’s month-long celebration of biodiversity because I have just completed a five-year journey across six continents to document the loss of agricultural biodiversity – the genetic and cultural erosion that occurs every time fast food replaces slow – and shed light on the tireless patrons of biodiversity all over the world. Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love is the culmination of my research and shares the same sentiments of Slow Food, celebrating foods that are created and consumed with intention and gratitude.
Through the Ark of Taste (Slow Food’s living catalogue of the delicious and important foods that define who we are), we can truly understand what is at stake – and what we can save. I am delighted to join you in these efforts and to share an exclusive excerpt of my book here.