The RAFT (Renewing America’s Food Traditions) Alliance is a collaboration of food, farming and environmental advocates (including Slow Food USA). It was founded in 2004 to identify, restore and celebrate America’s biologically and culturally diverse food traditions through conservation, education, market recovery and regional networking. RAFT developed the first-ever comprehensive list of food species and varieties unique to each eco-region of North America and found that well over 1,000 food varieties are threatened, endangered or functionally extinct from the marketplace.
The local RAFT Garden is located at the Whiteaker Community Garden the end of N. Polk St. The plot is on the east side and marked with a RAFT Garden sign.
The RAFT garden includes Hooker’s corn, Oregon Giant Pole bean, Oregon Delicious melon, Lower Salmon River squash, Newburg onion, Haida, Tlingit and Ozette potatoes and Marshall Strawberry. Two recent additions to Pacific and Northwest Region of the Ark of Taste are the Manalauloa Kalo (a taro) and Spanish Roja Garlic. Both will soon be listed on both the Slow Food USA and the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity websites.
The focus of the garden has been the Marshall Strawberry the last two years. Runners have been distributed to more than a dozen gardens throughout Lane County.
Slow Food member, Nicki Maxwell, maintains the RAFT garden. She is also a member of the Pacific and Northwest Regional Committee of Ark of Taste, Slow Food USA. The Ark of Taste is a tool for farmers, ranchers, fishers, chefs, grocers, educators and consumers to seek out and celebrate our country’s diverse biological, cultural and culinary heritage. Learn more about its function at http://www.slowfoodusa.org/ark-of-taste-in-the-usa.
Nicki can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get in touch with her if you know of a food product that is outstanding in terms of taste; at risk biologically; able to be sustainably produced; culturally or historically linked to this region; currently produced in limited quantities. These are the criteria for nominating and selecting items to the Ark of Taste. For a list of Pacific Northwest foods currently on the list, click here.