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Renewing America's Food Traditions - RAFT

Renewing America's Food Traditions - RAFTHave you ever eaten a meal rich with juices, flavors, and fragrances that have taken centuries to develop? A tender pear once planted in Thomas Jefferson’s orchards, an oily fish that built trade routes in the Northwest, a hot pepper that tells the story of Minorcan immigration to Florida—these are the stories of North American traditions that lie hidden within our foods. Yet many of these foods have been rapidly disappearing from our tables. In the United States alone, 63% of native American crop varieties have disappeared from cultivation since European arrival on this continent.

With these losses has come a decline in traditional ecological and culinary knowledge, and declines in the food rituals which link communities to place and cultural heritage. If these culinary delights persist only in our history books we will have lost an important cultural legacy and future generations will be deprived of the exquisite flavors found in these heritage foods. 

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Center for Sustainable Environments
at Northern Arizona University
PO Box 5765
Flagstaff, AZ 86011
Phone: (928) 523-0637
Fax (928) 523-8223
We are part of the
College of Engineering and Natural Sciences

Last updated January 16, 2007