Taken for granted in modern times salt remains one of the most important minerals for human survival. Our bodies demand it. Since we walked this earth humans have searched out salt and for millennia the control of a salt source and its trade provided empires with power and wealth.
And why? Because before the development of refrigeration, salt was vital in preserving food, and ofcourse making food taste better. Without salt to preserve meat or fish early explorers and sailors would have had a much harder time during their travels.
Throughout history local people have developed some ingenious and sometimes bizarre ways of extracting salt and this fact alone formed the basis of this book. In remote regions throughout the world, on isolated islands, hidden in remote valleys or high up on mountainous plateaus, people still use the methods of old to produce this vital mineral.
Salz der Erde is the result of 5 years of work and collaboration between architect Mikel Landa and photographer Luke Duggleby. The aim was to document and illustrate some of the worlds most unique and special traditional salt producing places. Covering 29 places in total, which were divided in two between Luke and Mikel, on four continents they aimed to show the sheer diversity of salt production and the communities that still rely on it for their livelihood.
But modernization has led to many saltworks being abandoned in industrialized countries, a process that is slowly reaching every traditional saltworks even those in remote regions. Cheap low-quality factory salt has flooded the market and as a result the demand for labour intensive traditional salt, despite its superior quality, declined.
However, there is one factor that could save these disappearing traditional salt making sites and that is quality. Handmade salt is vastly superior in quality and it is this fact that has lead to the preservation and renewal of several sites across Europe and America. It is this fact that the authors want to remind the reader so that we can help preserve those sites that still remain.
This comprehensive history of salt production was published in German in a large format book by German publisher mareVerlag (www.mare.de) and is available in the German speaking countries of Germany, Austria and Switzerland.