Our Forgotten Foods Programme – Preserving Britain’s Food Heritage One Product at a Time
The Forgotten Foods Programme (Ark of Taste) : Our way of protecting Britain’s edible bio-diversity
The Forgotten Foods Programme (Ark of Taste) travels the UK collecting small-scale quality produce threatened by industrial agriculture, environmental degradation and homogenization. These products are often at risk of extinction so we aim to raise awareness so that they may be rediscovered and returned to the market. The UK Forgotten Foods Programme (Ark of Taste) is part of the International Ark of Taste network, where, thanks to the contribution of experts and collaborators around the world, there are more than 1000 products from over 60 countries.
It’s as simple as eat it or lose it – and we’ve already lost an awful lot.
Spreading the message that we need to preserve and celebrate British food culture is at the core of Slow Food UK who raise consumer’s awareness via a number of channels.
Slow Food UK’s aim is for consumers to see UK Forgotten Food’s (Ark of Taste) products on the shelves, in markets, at food festivals and in menus across the country.
The Slow Food UK Chef Alliance plays a very important part role in spreading awareness of unique and seasonal ingredients. Slow Food UK is delighted that so many restaurants have come on board with this project and find it rewarding to put chef and producers together to make unique and delicious menus that make a difference.
At this year’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards, Slow Food UK has spun for the first time ever a newly created ‘Forgotten Foods Roulette Wheel’—with the support of Lavazza ¡Tierra! The wheel profiles a range of seasonal and native British Foods that are under threat. Slow Food UK is also sponsoring the first Slow Food UK Award, to be given to a chef that cooks, lives and celebrates the Slow Food life.
But restaurants are only part of the equation.
Slow Food’s ongoing project with Booths Supermarkets aims to spread the Forgotten Foods message to a wider audience and make artisan produce more widely assessable. Booths and Slow Food UK joined forces to preserve and return forgotten specialities to their rightful place: on the shelves.
The directors of Booths were keen to take the Slow Food UK message and philosophy to a wider audience and foster real change in how we cook, shop, and eat. So now you’ll find Formby Asparagus, Lyth Valley Damsons, York Ham, Whey Butter, unpasteurised Wensleydale and a wealth of Forgotten Foods—not forgotten at all, but cherished, celebrated and readily available in their stores. A recent BBC article highlights these efforts.
Slow Food UK has seen tangible results for the small-scale producers working with us to revive these foods and retain and sustain local jobs surrounding these economies. By keeping these food stuffs alive and well, creating a market, and retaining them as part of the landscape, our further long term objective is preserving the diverse edible biodiversity of the UK, and in a small but not insignificant way, its food security.