Since its founding, Slow Food has made the defense of biodiversity the focus of its strategies.
Biodiversity is under threat around the world, and the biodiversity linked to family farming and small-scale agriculture is at particular risk. The reasons are many: agricultural industrialization, genetic erosion, changing food habits, climate breakdown, the abandonment of rural areas, migration and conflicts, to name just a few.
We all need to do what we can to save what remains.
It is not just up to NGOs and other associations to defend our invaluable heritage of fruits, vegetables, livestock breeds, cheeses, breads, sweets and cured meats. Each one of us can make conscious choices when we’re buying food, as well as bringing attention to products at risk of extinction and helping to save them.
That’s what the Ark of Taste project is for: giving all of us a way to do something.
This fall, as part of the COVCHEG project, the citizens of Azerbaijan are being asked to make a special effort. From October 2019 until March 31, 2020, anyone can help rediscover traditional foods by talking to the elderly, cooks, shopkeepers or directly with producers and then nominating their chosen products for the Ark of Taste, giving them a chance to win a trip to Italy.
Participating is easy: just connect to the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity website and nominate your favorite local products at risk of extinction to the Ark of Taste, adding photos, videos, descriptions and recipes (https://www.fondazioneslowfood.com/en/what-we-do/the-ark-of-taste/nominations-from-around-the-world/nominate-a-product/).
A jury will be assigning points to all the nominations received and will select the most interesting food. The person who nominated the winning product will travel to Italy later in the year to take part in Terra Madre Salone del Gusto 2020 in Turin, the most important international event dedicated to good, clean and fair food.
The aim of the COVCHEG project is to raise awareness among citizens about the importance of their food heritage, so that they can better understand the wealth and uniqueness of the cultural diversity of different countries. Beyond the competition, it is vital that all of us pay attention to the safeguarding and promotion of our food heritage. Thanks to the contributions of many people around the globe, the Ark of Taste has already catalogued 5,000 food products over the years, but there is still much more work to be done.
You can nominate a product here:
The COVCHEG contest rules are here:
The COVCHEG project is run by Slow Food with the Animal Protection Public Union and the National Association of Rural Municipalities of Azerbaijan, in partnership with the State Tourism Agency of Azerbaijan and the PASHA-Travel Agency.