The Ark of Taste is an international catalogue of heritage foods in danger of extinction which is maintained by the global Slow Food movement. The Ark is designed to preserve at-risk foods that are sustainably produced, unique in taste, and part of a distinct ecoregion. Contrary to the most literal definition of plant and animal conservation, the Ark of Taste aims to maintain edibles in its purview by actively encouraging their cultivation for consumption. By doing so, Slow Food hopes to promote the growing and eating of foods which are sustainable and preserve biodiversity in the human food chain.
Foods included in the list are intended to be "culturally or historically linked to a specific region, locality, ethnicity or traditional production practice", in addition to being rare. Which foods meet these criteria is decided by an adjudicating committee made up of members of the Slow Food non-profit organization; all candidates go through a formal nomination process which includes tastings and identification of producers within the region.
Since the foundation of the Ark in 1996, 800 products from over 50 countries have been included. The list includes not only prepared foods and food products, but a great many livestock breeds as well as vegetable and fruit cultivars. All foods in the catalogue are accompanied by a list of resources for those wishing to grow or buy them.
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