Possible solutions to biodiversity using engineering
12 April 2023
Slow Food created the international Ark of Taste project to halt the loss of biodiversity, which is advancing at a rapid pace, and to gather and catalog both the raw materials of agriculture and the processed foods that play a key role in the world’s culture, history, and traditions.
Agricultural biodiversity includes an incredible heritage of fruits, vegetables, animal breeds, cheeses, bread, cured meats, and sweets… lost and forgotten for years by the food industry, which has chosen and used only a small variety of the available species, damaging ecosystems and undermining consumer choice.
Is it like Noah’s ark for food?
The Ark of Taste is part of the basic grammar of slow food, necessary but not sufficient. After the map, work begins in the states and communities to protect endangered species:
With the Presidia project and the Slow Food Chefs Alliance, with events like Terra Madre that emphasize the work of small producers.
How many products have you written about so far?
For 5144 of them, the description can be seen on the fundazioneslowfood.com site, but the counter is updated in real-time: we receive reports from the Internet all the time and it is monitored.
Why are we losing food diversity?
In general, the main causes of biodiversity loss are population growth, which particularly affects the areas of the planet richest in biodiversity (such as tropical areas), the destruction and fragmentation of natural habitats (deforestation, urbanization, landscape consolidation), intensive agriculture, pollution, climate change and the introduction of invasive species.
The industrial agricultural model (based on intensive production, monocultures, a limited number of plant and animal species, the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and the cultivation of genetically modified organisms) progressively marginalizes traditional and small-scale agricultural systems, based instead on a wide variety of species, crops, and breeds selected for their ability to adapt to different environments.
Does it affect some places more?
Research shows conclusively that biodiversity declines less rapidly on lands managed by indigenous peoples than in other areas. Deforestation rates in Colombia, Brazil, and Bolivia are considerably lower where indigenous peoples securely own land, according to a report by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).
Who are the guardians of biodiversity?
There is a knowledge-based model of agriculture that, over time, has given rise to thousands of plant varieties and animal breeds, which express – in shape, color, smell, and taste – the history of the territories where they live. It is a model that favors small-scale family farming, based on agroecological methods.
Agroecology reverses the agribusiness system, cares for natural resources, enhances diversity, harmonizes official science with traditional knowledge and launches a challenge:
Feed the world with small-scale farming in an era dominated by climate change. And I want to remember the people there. They are widely recognized as bearers of a rich oral tradition and custodians of biodiversity, who every day are in danger of losing their lands and ways of life.
Slow Food supports indigenous peoples in preserving their culinary traditions and passing on their knowledge. It would be useless to protect biodiversity without protecting the identity of traditional peoples and their right to protect their lands. People’s rights to reclaim their land cannot be taken away.