China“Ark of Taste”Project at 2015 Beijing Design Week

Slow Food China’s Ark of Taste reflects ourcountry’s vast landscape of diverse climates, cultures and foods. Our goal isto select “100 types of regional food treasures” from 23 provinces, 4 municipalitiesand 5 autonomous regions in China and display them

China“Ark of Taste”Project at 2015 Beijing Design Week

Slow Food China’s Ark of Taste reflects our country’s vast landscape of diverse climates, cultures and foods. Our goal is to select “100 types of regional food treasures” from 23 provinces, 4 municipalities and 5 autonomous regions in China and display them at the Beijing Design week event in September 2015.

The Ark of Taste project started in 1996 in Turin. It is an online catalog that is growing day by day, gathering alerts from people who see the flavors of their childhood disappear. The Ark travels the world collecting small-scale quality foods that belong to the histories, cultures and traditions of the entire planet: an extraordinary heritage of fruits, vegetables, livestock breeds, cheeses, breads, sweets and cured meats. Currently, the project counts more than 2000 products worldwide.

The Ark of Taste is a living collection of distinctive and meaningful foods in danger of extinction. It was created to point out the existence of these
products, draw attention to the risk of their extinction within a few generations, and invite everyone to take action to help protect them. In some cases this might be by buying and consuming them, in some by telling their story and supporting their producers, in the cases of endangered wild species, this may initially mean eating less or none of them in order to preserve them and favor their reproduction.

By promoting these products and the traditions and knowledge that surround them, we hope that future generations will still be able to access their local culinary culture.

In order to be selected for the Ark, the products should be:

  • food products;

  • of distinctive quality in terms of taste;

  • associated with a particular geographic region and its traditions;

  • produced by small-scale craft producers;

  • produced by using sustainable farming methods;

  • at risk of extinction.

These“100 types of foods ” must be edible varieties. Moreover, including:

  • Nominations for inclusion on the Ark must be food products and may include: domestic species (plant varieties, ecotypes, indigenous animal breeds and populations), wild species (only if tied to methods of harvesting, processing and traditional uses) and processed products (such as preserves, baked goods, cheeses, spirits, etc., made from raw agricultural products) .

  • A product that is of a genetically modified organism or is derived from one is ineligible.

  • A product must be believed to have been part of foodways in the China at least 25 years ago.

  • It is desirable that the nomination be sponsored by a chapter.

  • A nomination made by a commercial entity for marketing purposes is 
ineligible.

  • A product with a registered trademark is ineligible.

  • Ark products are not allowed to display the Slow Food logo (snail) or any 
variant of that logo on the food item, or its packaging.

Download the nominating form


China “Ark of Taste “ Nomination Process

1. A nomination is submitted:
  • Any person, from anywhere may submit a nomination for a product.

  • Nominations for inclusion on the Ark must be food products and may 
include: domestic species (plant varieties, ecotypes, indigenous animal breeds and populations), wild species (only if tied to methods of harvesting, processing and traditional uses) and processed products(preserves, baked goods, cheeses, spirits, etc. made from raw agricultural products.).

  • The nomination needs to follow the form published on the SFGC website or the Foundation for Biodiveristy website. (If someone wants to nominate a product, but doesn’t know how to answer all the questions on this form, s/he should contact SFGC to be connected with experts for assistance.)

  • The completed nomination is sent to the local chapter, or Slow Food  Great China.

2. The nomination is reviewed:
  • While anyone, anywhere in China may submit an application, the nomination will be reviewed by SFGC.

  • SFGC forms a jury from their ranks to review the nomination.

  • The jury will consider the evidence presented in the nomination. The jury will look for scientific evidence and personal testimony to communicate the product’s threat of extinction, distinctive flavor, potential for sustainable production, and cultural significance.

  • If the application is found to be incomplete, it will be returned to the nominee with advice for how to complete and strengthen the nomination.

  • If the jury approves the nomination by a majority vote, the product will be matched with a local chapter to house the product and ensure its futurity. (If no local chapter exists in the area of production, SFGC will assume the responsibility of sponsorship.) As local sponsor, the chapter agrees to support the product as is appropriate. This support can take many forms.

  • If after review the nomination is rejected, the author will be informed of this decision and the reasoning behind it.

3. The product is boarded on to China“Ark of Taste”:
  • Approved nominations are sent to the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity to be reviewed by the International Ark Commission.

  • The product is then added to Slow Food China“Ark of Taste”website with a photo, history, and usage.

  • Once the International Ark Commission approves the nomination, the product is officially included on the Ark of Taste.

Note:Filling the nomination form, please send: info@slowfoodchina.org


Evaluation Criteria 


Your application should aim to document the product you are nominating in all its interesting detail. Your responses to the five specific criteria, detailed below, are what will qualify a product to be boarded onto the Ark of Taste. The qualifications and review process used in China for nominations to the Ark of Taste are based on those set by the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity and have been modified to include elements specific to our unique history and food ways. As you consider and complete this nomination, you should demonstrate and document the ways in which your nomination meets these criteria.

  • Taste


One of the basic conditions for a product to be on the Ark is that it is good to eat (as defined in the context of local traditions and uses). Describe the flavors of this product and the variety of ways it is used to achieve a remarkable taste experience. Does it have unique nutritional characteristics? Does its taste evoke or represent the cultural memory of a community? Include testimonials from producers, consumers, chefs or scholars if possible.


  • Product History(Regional, Cultural, or Economic Importance):


Tell the story of this product and the way it has played a part in a past or present food culture. Are there any traditions or celebrations associated with this product? Does it have special importance to the community that produces or consumes it? How is its history unique and meaningful? What would be lost if it were to disappear.


  • Endangered, At-Risk, or Underappreciated:

Promoting biodiversity is a central theme of Slow Food. Identifying foods that have been lost or forgotten draws attention to the need to protect these foods. Explain how or why this product is at risk of disappearing. Scholarly documentation and production data is strongly encouraged in explaining the level of risk of the product.  


  • Sustainable Harvest or Production:


It is important that this product can be grown, harvested or produced in a way that is environmentally sound and gives dignity and proper remuneration to its producers and their workers, i.e. the product is Good, Clean and Fair. In the case of a crop or breed so threatened that consuming it could hasten its disappearance, explain the level of threat, and any efforts at conservancy of which you are aware. Describe the potential for sustainable harvest or production should the species reach a stable population.


  • Available in Limited Quantities:


The product must be produced in a non-industrial way, from entities such as family owned farms or independent food harvesters or producers, or by individuals for home consumption. If you know any producers, please include their names and contact information.