It’s official! The International Ark Commission of the Slow Food Foundation has approved the inclusion of three varieties of heirloom rice from the Philippine Cordillera into the Foundation’s “Ark of Taste.”

Official listing of Philippine heirloom rice to the "Ark of Taste"

Official listing of Philippine heirloom rice to the "Ark of Taste"

Ominio (top) and Imbuucan (below) grains

Ominio (top) and Imbuucan grains (below)

The “Ark of Taste” aims to catalog, describe and publicize outstanding gastronomic foods and food products that are threatened in our globally changing world. Inclusion in the Ark means that the rice has met the foundation’s standards for taste quality, environmental sustainability and respect for the cultural identity of the producers. All products listed in the Ark are recognized to have real economic viability and commercial potential.

With listing of the first three rice varieties from Cordillera–Imbuucan from Ifugao, Ominio from Mountain Province and Chong-ak from Kalinga, the high-elevation terrace farmers are one step closer to making their heirloom rice an economic engine for the region and a means for preserving the fragile biodiversity of the terraces and the cultural identity of the indigenous people.

Imbuucan (left) and Chong-ak grains (right)

Imbuucan (left) and Chong-ak grains (right)

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