We’ve teamed up with Slow Food USA to offer a seed packet collection of six rare varieties featured in Slow Food’s ‘Ark of Taste.’ We encourage you to participate in the preservation of these varieties by growing them, eating them, and sharing both the produce and seeds with your community.
Storied Vegetables: the Root of Quality
By: Renata Christen, Seed Savers Exchange | Published: NOVEMBER 26, 2013 | No
What if our relationship to food was like our relationship to storytelling; where mealtime, the end-product of a process, teems with meaning and soul? What if a carrot wasn’t just a carrot, but a beloved family heirloom of your elderly neighbor, used exclusively to make vegetable-based soup stocks rich with transcendentally meaty flavors? Food Diversity – mountains of tomato varieties and rainbow carrots, melons grown for roasting their tasty seeds, wacky kinds of hot pepper – defines the work happening at Seed Savers Exchange. Thankfully, we’re not alone: believing that foods of cultural value have inherent value also defines the work of Slow Food International, an organization founded “to counteract fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world.”
Slow Food has done more to identify and preserve beautiful food ways of life than any other globally recognized non-profit – that craft foods and their base products are worth preserving for the mere poetry of their existence, and the alternative, viable economies in which such poetry is a muse. Over the years, Seed Savers Exchange members have recovered crop varieties of historical importance that directly tie into the notion of terroir (“a taste of place” worth preserving) and the mission of Slow Food. While the scope of Slow Food encompasses all traditionally-made (typically craft) regionally significant food products, their work overlaps heavily with ours: uniting people whose passion is to save heirloom and heritage agricultural products from the brink of extinction.
Slow Food houses numerous umbrella projects, the Ark of Taste being its most substantial food recovery effort: a catalog of rare and endangered heritage foods whose lives we can save by eating them, thus ensuring they’ll continue to be valued and used (keeping sustainable harvesting practices always in mind). Steered by participatory nominations, an “Ark of Taste” committee gathers to determine through set evaluation criteria, a nominated product’s history, taste, whether it’s available in limited quantities, sustainably harvested or produced, and whether it’s endangered, at risk, or under appreciated. Like Seed Savers Exchange, the Ark exists because of average citizens offering up rare heirloom varieties for preservation. Seed Savers members have introduced 35 varieties to the Ark.
In an effort to clarify Seed Savers’ partnership with Slow Food’s Ark, we’ve curated six varieties showcasing the power of food with rich stories and unconventional uses: read more