I am proud that my organization, Roots of Change, helped launch, 16 years ago now, the Presidium, with its intrepid leader, Paula Shatkin.
This effort to raise awareness about the threat to the apple and to build the market has been fabulously successful.
The price has risen, more are being planted and their reputation ensured.
It is important to note that the project really got off the ground due to a grant from USDA’s Risk Management Agency, which Roots of Change got for the Gravenstein Apple Presidium.
USDA would be so happy to know that such a small amount of money ($12,000 I think) has turned around what was a fast declining crop, bringing more income and security to small apple farmers in Sonoma County.
Editor’s Comments: The Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity was set up in 2003 to coordinate projects to defend local food traditions, protect local biodiversity and promote small-scale quality products.
The first of these projects was the Ark of Taste, which aims to rediscover, catalog, describe and publicize forgotten flavors. It is a metaphorical recipient of excellent gastronomic products that are threatened by industrial standardization, hygiene laws, the regulations of large-scale distribution and environmental damage.
The Sebastopol Gravenstein Apple was embarked on the Ark of Taste in 2003.
The Presidia projects take a similar idea much further. To support quality production at risk of extinction, protect unique regions and ecosystems, recover traditional processing methods, safeguard native breeds and local plant varieties, the Presidia directly involve producers, offer technical assistance to improve production quality, organize exchanges among different countries, educate local consumers and provide new market outlets both locally and internationally.
The Sebastopol Gravenstein Apple Presidium was founded in 2006.