Industrial food production, which now dominates food supplies and threatens food sovereignty, has replaced quality with quantity and has favoured appearance and attractiveness over vitality and nutrition. The result has been a loss of flavour, a loss of ‘taste’ that is so pervasive, some people no longer know (or have never known) what real food tastes like. It is our belief that taste begins with healthy soil cultivated by sustainable, natural agriculture practices. As these practices are misunderstood or taken for granted, re-education and effort to support these practices is required so that we may continue to enjoy the real ‘taste’ of foods and wines. TASTE is therefore committed to supporting the true expression of ‘terroir’ in wines, the real taste of food through natural, sustainable, organic and biodynamic farming methods and the experience of discovering these fundamental worlds first hand through guided tours.
‘Taste’ is not just one of the five senses; it is also a form of discovery and one of the most primal sensorial experiences. Learning to taste and acquiring a taste for things is an inherent part of civilised living. ‘Taste’ is also what food, wine and travel are all about. The business of a chef is to combine flavours and savours for a maximum of taste, just as it is the wine maker's task to extract the most ‘taste’ from their grapes. The specific geography or ‘terroir’ where things are grown implies travel, as ‘tasting’ them takes us to that place. We discover the ‘terroir’ of a wine or a food through taste. It also used to mean, ‘to relish, to enjoy’ an experience. It is an invitation: ‘Here, taste this’ and might also be taken as a command: ‘Taste this!’ It is an aesthetic discernment of beauty or excellence. Having good or bad taste. Doing things in a ‘tasteful’ manner or expressing oneself in good or bad taste. All of its meanings are intimately tied to being alive and alert to what is around us and the pleasures that ‘taste’ can bring. In terms of acronyms, T.A.S.T.E.
can also mean:
ravel and E
afe for T
empting for E
ssociation for S
ssociation for S
avouring and T
Terra, Ars, Sapor, Trado, Elatio
Transmettre, Apprendre, Saveur, Traduire, Événementiel
Three levels of activity
In order to serve the greatest possible good, TASTE has been founded around three main activities:
- Guided eco wine and gastronomic tours
- Guided cultural tours for foreigners visiting Europe
- The organisation of thematic tours with a goal to informing and educating
- The organisation of cultural and artistic events
- The organisation of wine tastings
- The organisation of dinners around regional products
- Comparative blind wine tastings between chemical and ‘natural’ (organic, biodynamic)
- Culinary seminars and thematic dinners
- Initiation courses in how to adopt a ‘green’ lifestyle
- Bulk wine purchases on behalf of association members
Internet Site / Press / Media:
- Distribution of information on biodynamic agricultural practices via a website
- Production and editing of audio-visual documents on these same themes
- Production of documentary films on the themes mentioned above
- Creation, editing and translation of documents
The discovery of new places is always tied to the food and culture of those places and so is inherently agricultural. TASTE will conduct thematic and cultural tours for both its local and foreign members in order to promote sustainable agricultural practices, locally produced foods and the discovery of biodynamic wines and farms.
Tastings and events
In its role as a pioneer in bringing biodynamic products to a broad clientele, TASTE will necessarily be a forum for presentations and tastings by biodynamic wine producers and farmers. This social aspect will bring greater understanding about biodynamic practices while further expanding TASTE's membership base. These presentations can function as simple members—inviting—friends gatherings, or media events with invitations to the press to further spread the word.
Internet / Press / Media
In a more direct and active sense, TASTE will host a bilingual (French / English) Internet site for both its members and the general public. The site will grow from its three main themes with regular updates and contributions from members. These contributions could eventually be published in print format for distribution.
In order to further understanding of biodynamic agriculture and advance acceptance of the political, economic and cultural issues that surround sustainable practices, TASTE will offer a professional translation service that will also be available for diverse administrative in—house and exterior needs.
TASTE will also provide a structure for the audio-visual contributions of its members and so function as a ‘producer’ of documentary films and other media formats to inform and educate the public on themes related to sustainable agriculture practices.
Underlying philosophy — helping the planet and enjoying the best quality eating and drinking experience at the same time
Already there is a huge boom in the ‘organic’ food market and this is only going to get bigger. TASTE is committed to sharing the experience of 100% biodynamic wines coupled with as many biodynamic food products as possible, the rest being *organic. The underlying philosophy is not about trying to convert people to organic and biodynamic principles, but through tasting, allowing them to rediscover how delicious things can taste when they're not artificially produced. It's about the simple pleasures of the table — good food and good wine that have real flavours and characters.
The more people there are sustaining natural methods of agriculture, the cheaper it will become. And so there is a direct commercial, sustainable development link to be made through supporting what TASTE represents, which will provide members with additional motivation. We can only hope to assure the future of this planet and that of our future generations if the health of the earth's soils, from which all life depends, is restored. So for those who understand these connections, supporting an association that aims to promote sustainable agricultural practices will be part of their personal effort and contribution to supporting global health.
Part of the TASTE philosophy is to join healthy living with the primary pleasures of eating and drinking. Ideally, all food should bring both health and happiness. Eating and drinking should be able to sustain us not just by filling a mechanical need to fuel the body, but to also fuel the creative spirit in all of us. And this is key to the approach we are taking by offering the foods and wines with the highest vitality. Biodynamics is about harnessing life forces and TASTE is dedicated to introducing those life forces to people’s palates to give them the choice of combining health with pleasure.
*A note on ‘organic’ — By organic we mean agriculture that is practiced with the greatest respect for the soil and the forces of nature to provide the highest level of health. This means agriculture without chemicals, pesticides or herbicides and food that is produced without additives or supplements. It means whole foods that have not been processed or treated in any way, which then transmit all of their nourishment and vitality to those that consume them. It is only by eating whole foods that we benefit fully from the things we eat. To cite Sir Howard who started the Soil Association in England: ‘We need to treat the whole problem of health in soil, plant, animal and man as one great subject.’
A celebration of the senses
The outward emphasis is on pleasure and not on health, but our conviction is that these two things are indivisible. When something tastes good, it gives pleasure and things only taste good when they are naturally produced, and biodynamics adds another dimension of vitality that enhances flavours even more. Organic, vegetarian, or health food restaurants are often gloomy places with glum, ill-looking people who eat for health, which has escaped them, or is escaping them, instead of pleasure. TASTE will be for people who want the most out of life, who value their own health and that of the planet and who have a real appetite for the pleasures of the table. It will be a celebration of the senses that is elegant and refined, yet affordable (basic annual membership costs 10€); gastronomic and wine savvy, but simple and unpretentious.
A convivial association for all ages
Other than wine tastings, which necessarily preclude the involvement of young people, there will be no dominant ‘theme’ or ‘style’ that identifies with a particular age group. Events will be universal in application and emphasis will be given to including youth as the heirs of the future with child specific events being organised from time to time. Food tastings will be seasonal, local and fresh; the range of cultural and sustainable development events will make it possible for everyone from children to the elderly to participate. As ‘taste’ is also something that is learned and shared, family events will be scheduled to reinforce the pleasures of sharing in an environment devoted to enhancing health on this planet. Students will also be able to discover quality wines for the cost of a beer and learn that simple, real food dishes can cost no more than a gourmet sandwich. For people who can afford to indulge themselves, events involving prestigious first growth and world-renowned wines with more elaborate cuisine can be organised. And at the same time, many will discover for the first time that the quality of biodynamic wines and foods is superior to industrial / chemical and will perhaps make a personal lifestyle change that will ultimately help the planet.
Food supplies & sources
In order to encourage local biodynamic farmers, a direct partnership with the farmers who are geographically closest will be pursued. This partnership will imply a direct relationship between members and the producer and will help sensitize them to the origins of what they eat and drink. Working exchanges might even be arranged from time to time for hands on assistance from TASTE's members who are interested in ‘getting back to the land’. This arrangement might also encourage other small farmers to take up biodynamic practices, thus expanding the movement and reclaiming more land from destructive chemical industrial practices.
Peter Singer's Five Ethical Principals from, The Ethics of What We Eat
Consumers have a right to know how their food is produced.
Producing food should not impose costs on others (any food produced that is not environmentally sustainable, for example, is unfair to future generations).
Inflicting significant suffering on animals is wrong.
4. Social responsibility
Workers must have decent wages and working conditions.
Choosing to eat a food because of taste or habit (as opposed to necessity) means that your choice must meet stricter ethical standards.
Conscious choices to save the planet
Everyone is aware of the results of the past fifty years of intensive chemical, industrial agriculture: brain cancer, prostate cancer, kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer, asthma, leukaemia, adverse reproductive effects, including birth defects, foetal death and intrauterine growth retardation are all linked to industrial chemical agriculture.
But it is depressing to focus on this destructive trend and so rather than condemn the problem, TASTE intends to live the solution. No toxic chemicals, pesticides or herbicides polluting the soil, the ground water, the rivers, lakes and the sea are used in biodynamic (or organic) agriculture. Biodynamic agriculture also distinguishes itself in having a dramatic ability to heal and restore soils sick from chemical abuse in a very short time. As a creative, life-giving alternative to the destructive, deadly toxins of chemical agriculture, it is highly promising. Soon we will all have to personally decide which we want to support. If we believe this planet has a future and want to leave our children something that is still alive, the choice is obvious.