G44: Global Groceries

Following my talk of my own grocery shopping, I want to turn to the images that hit the internet last year. This series was shown on many websites and titled, “One Week’s Worth of Food Around Our Planet.” According to the site, where I found these a commenter stated that these photographs are a fraction of what are shown in the original book. The book is Hungry Planet: What the World Eats by photographer Peter Menzel and writer Faith D'Aluisio. I was struck by the great difference in the food eaten by the various families, the size and make-up of the families, the huge cost of food disparity between different groups and how appalling the American diet seems compared to the developing nations.
Japan: The Ukita family of Kodaira City Food expenditure for one week: 37,699 Yen or $317.25. .
This is a family of four. Note the amount of packaged foods alongside fresh fish and vegetables.

The next family is the largest in this post with 9 individuals. Granted half of them are children, but that is a lot of people to feed on $31 a weeks.

Ecuador: The Ayme family of Tingo Food expenditure for one week : $31.55 Family recipe : Potato soup with cabbage.

This last family is the most berift of what we would consider adequate food. Imagine feeding six people on $1.25 a week. I know that is a naïve statement, given different economic structures between all of these countries. But, it is still a frighteningly low amount of money to feed a large family, including young children and a nursing mother.
Only after reading further is it clear that this is the breakdown of food is as follows.

Chad: The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp Food expenditure for one week: 685 CFA Francs or $1.23 Favorite foods: soup with fresh sheep meat. Not available to them.

Meat, Fish & Eggs: $0.58**
Goat meat, dried and on bone, 9 oz; fish, dried, 7 oz. Note: Periodically, such as at the end of Ramadan, several families collectively purchase a live animal to slaughter and share. Some of its meat is eaten fresh in soup and the rest is dried.

Fruits, Vegetables & Nuts: $0.51**
Limes, small, 5; pulses ration, 4.6 lb, the seeds of legumes such as peas, beans, lentils, chickpeas, and fava beans. Red onions, 1 lb; garlic, 8 oz; okra, dried, 5 oz; red peppers, dried, 5 oz; tomatoes, dried, 5 oz.

Condiments: $0.13**
Sunflower oil ration, 2.1 qt; white sugar ration, 1.4 lb; dried pepper, 12 oz; salt ration, 7.4 oz; ginger, 4 oz.

Water, 77.7 gal, provided by Oxfam, and includes water for all purposes. Rations organized by the United Nations with the World Food Programme.

Food Expenditure for One Week: 685 CFA francs/$1.23
**Market value of food rations, if purchased locally: $24.37

You may well find reviewing these photographs is hypnotizing. I did. Here are some more links about this work of Peter Menzel and Faith D’Alusio here and here. The NPR story says,

The husband-and-wife team wanted to see how globalization, migration and rising affluence are affecting the diets of communities around the globe.

Each chapter of their book features a portrait of a family, photographed alongside a week's worth of groceries. There's also a detailed list of all the food and the total cost.

We now are able to find in our grocery stores the foods, the tastes from around the globe. But, what terrifies me is that the fast food, the over processed and empty food, the GMO food will all be available to the families around the globe. Not shown in this post, but a delicious looking assortment of food was the Turkish diet. Only I was struck by the discordant addition of Coke.

This is not a good thing.


Rosa said...

I love this book. We got it at the library and spent two weeks paging through it as a family, talking about food and food storage and families.

It hasn't had an immediate effect on our consumption but I can feel the awareness working on me when I shop and cook.

katecontinued said...

What a wonderful thing to do with your family. I find that inspiring.

Chile said...

Yes, do pick up the book from your library if you can. It's amazing!

Raw Food Diva said...

love this post. I took a bit and put it on my blog. How much we waste in this land of plenty.

Rosa said...

I'm seeing pictures from it flying around in emails, too - one of my coworkers got some from a church friend today and showed me.

I should write a letter to the photographers about the impact it had on me.