Linking food and land with producers

This will be a hot topic at the 2015 Slow Food Australia National Conference in Ulladulla.

Think of our ancestors.  How they tilled the land.  What they ate. How they produced what went on their plate.  Our indigenous heritage.  Much of these are now forgotten foods and long-lost traditions. But all is not lost.

Attendees at the Slow Food Australia Conference, August 20-23, will be introduced to a range of products which could well have disappeared completely had it not been for some small-scale producers with enough insight to recognize that such produce was worth a fight to reinstate.  These products make it on to an international register of The Ark of Taste.

 Managed globally by the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity, the Ark of Taste is an international project comprising almost 2,000 products worldwide. Products accepted to the Ark of Taste represent small-scale quality productions strongly linked to a local culture threatened by industrial agriculture, the standardization and large-scale distribution of global food markets and environmental degradation.

 Local products currently identified include the Angasi Oyster, Bull Boar sausage, Bunya Nuts, Central Australian Wild Plum, Dairy Shorthorn cattle breed, Davidson’s Plum, Desert Quandong (Native Peach), Finger Lime,Galloway cattle, Gin Perry Pear, Green Horse Perry Pear, Kangaroo Island Ligurian bee honey, Leatherwood Honey, Moorcroft Perry Pear, Murray Cod, Pindan Walnut, Red Longdon Perry Pear, Rosella jam, Smooth Davidson Plum, Swan Valley Sun-Dried Muscat Grapes, Wessex Saddleback Pig and the Yellow Huffcap Perry Pear.

 Slow Food Conference attendees will get to experience tastings of some Australian Ark of Taste products such as the Tasmanian Leatherwood and Kangaroo Island Ligurian Honey, Bull Boar Sausage, Angasi Oyster (local to the Shoalhaven), Finger Limes, Bunya Nuts and Coorong Wild Seafood.

 “In Australia, the Ark of Taste reflects our country’s vast landscape of diverse climates, cultures and foods – from Queensland’s native Bunya nut to the Ligurian Bee honey found on Flinders Island and Victoria’s heritage pear varieties,” said Jenny Crosby, Slow Food Australia Conference Co-ordinator for Ark of Taste.

“Of particular importance are foods from the traditional diets of indigenous Australians and cultures, such as the Pindan walnut from Western Australia and Finger Limes from Australia’s East Coast. These wild foods reflect not only exciting nutritional and flavour profiles, but also the great importance of cultural knowledge and landscapes and the passing on of that knowledge.”

 “Fast life, intensive production methods and excessive legislation are the main reasons that we are losing so many of our traditional foods and drinks,” according to the UK Ark of Taste.  “With their demise we also lose centuries of expert knowledge and cultural traditions. We lose choice, flavour and the varied landscapes and wildlife associated with traditional farming.  As it is often easier to find food from half way across the world than produced on our doorstep, we have lost the link between our food, the land, and the people who produce it.”

 It is hoped that many more products can be added to the Australian Ark of Taste. Anyone can make a nomination, and can find more at:

www.slowfoodaustralia.com.au/what-we-do/ark-of-taste/

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