Thursday, August 14, 2008

Buy Heritage Foods to Ensure Species Diversity and Survival

If you don’t already subscribe to the daily Ideal Bite, a green email list with great tips, you should. Yesterday’s was all about buying heritage foods in order to ensure that they survive. Here’s what they say:

The Bite

If we start a heritage foods revolution by eating 'em, they'll stick around (sounds crazy, but by creating a higher demand, it gives farmers more motivation to raise them). Go for meat from farms raising these select heritage breeds instead of conventional 'stock, and you'll help keep biodiversity alive. By, um...George, we think they've got it.

The Benefits
Benefits that aren't just allegorical fiction. Preserving heritage animals preserves biodiversity - and they may have beneficial genetics (disease resistance, climate adaptability) that more common breeds may not.

Saving species from total(itarian) extinction. Most livestock originate from just a few breeds. Example: Right now 75% of U.S. pigs come from three main species; about ten others are close to dying out.

More variety than your 10th-grade required reading. With heritage foods, you'll taste flavors you're not gonna find with conventional meats, which are bred for uniformity.

Wanna Try?
Schmancier grocery stores (such as Whole Foods) often let you know via signage whether a meat is heritage or not - or try asking your butcher.
Heritage Foods USA - order select heritage foods online (prices vary).
American Livestock Breeds Conservancy - find out which species are at risk.
Slow Food USA - nonprof dedicated to preserving biodiversity in our food.

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