Photography - Issue #7
Food is foundational, not just as a commodity but as a basic human requirement. The photographs submitted for the Good Food For All photography competition have the power to make us look again at the food we see around us. They highlight the issues key to the UN Food Systems Summit and illustrate the challenges we encounter when we think about our broken food systems alongside some of the solutions to those challenges.
At the UN World Food Programme, we understand fragile food systems only too well as we work with the poorest and most vulnerable people on the planet, in 2020 assisting more than 115 million people in 84 countries.
Some of us are lucky enough to be able to take delicious food for granted, whereas others struggle every day to put food on the table. Even though there is enough food in the world to feed everyone, a deadly mix of conflict, climate change and coronavirus has brought 41 million people to the brink of famine. As many as 690 million people go to bed hungry each night, yet 2 billion people are overweight. Global food systems account for a third of greenhouse gases - yet a third of all food and produce is wasted.
The photos touch on the five themes, or “action tracks”, that have been the basis for a worldwide conversation ahead of this year’s summit:
Ensuring access to safe and nutritious food
Shifting to sustainable consumption patterns
Boosting nature-positive production
Advancing equitable livelihoods
Among the entries were stunning pictures of floating vegetable plots, urban gardening, hydroponics, crab collectors, seaweed growers and a zero-waste kitchen growing greens from food scraps. The images came from every corner of the world and show how the inhabitants of planet Earth rise to the challenges they face with ingenuity, innovation and inspiration. This final selection was chosen by our judging panel, which included representatives from all of the participating organisations: Where the Leaves Fall magazine, OmVed Gardens, The Chef’s Manifesto, World Food Programme and Good Food For All. Congratulations to the overall winner Debdatta Chakraborty.
Introduction by Corinne Woods, the director of communications, advocacy and marketing for the UN World Food Programme
ACTION TRACK 1 (p67)
Danilo Victoriano, Philippines
Harvesting the Technology
A common problem for farmers is that overharvesting can result in very low prices for their crops, which can lead them to dump the unsold products. But, with the advance of technology, cell towers can be found even in the furthermost rural towns and barrios so mobile phones can reach even the far flung countryside, allowing farmers to get price information, giving them more bargaining power in setting prices for their produce and widening their market access to other areas that have demand for their crops. The technology also allows for improving knowledge of new farming methods, getting the latest weather forecasts, and interacting with fellow farmers. Aside from the benefits of affordable communication technologies, farmers are also benefitting from alternative renewable solar energy sources.
ACTION TRACK 2 (pp70-71)
Debdatta Chakraborty, India
Floating Island Vegetables
The Dal Lake lies at the heart of the city of Srinagar. In the waters, there are a number of floating islands where vegetables and other crops are produced. The morning vegetable market of Dal Lake is all about the buying and selling of these crops. The lake is not only a beauty spot for tourists, but also a source of sustainable food for the people of the mountain city.
I am intrigued by the relation of food and the cultures among the people of the world. In tribal societies, for the most part, the kitchen serves as the living room. The warmth and the aroma of food provides an opportunity for people to exchange ideas. Sustainable food aims to avoid damaging or wasting natural resources. It also minimises its contribution to climate change throughout the whole production process.
ACTION TRACK 3 (pp72-73)
Anthony Into, Philippines
A seaweed farmer carries seaweed seedlings tied on a rope to be planted in the shallow waters at Pasiagan, Bongao. The seaweed doesn’t need irrigation because it has an unlimited supply of seawater. As well as providing sustainable, healthy food for local communities, seaweed aquaculture helps to mitigate climate change through carbon uptake, reduction of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, and protection of shores from coastal erosion.
ACTION TRACK 4 (pp74-75)
Amitava Chandra, India
Close Group Fishing
Fishermen with their nets in the Shilabati river in Gangani, West Bengal, India. Outside the rainy season the rivers coming from the plateau area are low, which reduces the number of fish. This can be tough for the fishing community along the river, as they struggle to maintain a livelihood during these periods.
To address this, they come together, forming a close group in a small area in the shallows of the river. They mutually encircle a small portion of water and place their nets at the same time so that any yield within the circle can be landed in any of their nets.
At the end of each day, they distribute an equal share among themselves. It’s a tried and tested survival technique to ensure a sustainable living for the entire community.
ACTION TRACK 5 (pp76-77)
Juan de Dios Morales, Ecuador
The Crab Harvesters
Resilience is well framed by the traditional cangrejeros (crab harvesters) such as Ariel, who is the president of the Association of Crab Harvesters of the Sabana Grande community in Guayaquil. The crab harvesters at Sabana Grande are allowed to collect red mangrove crabs in exchange for helping to conserve the 6,500 hectares of mangrove forest.
As many of the younger generation migrate to cities, endangering this ancestral practice, there is a move by younger harvesters like Ariel to use technology to attract new harvesters, improve the management of the healthy crab population and continue serving Guayaquil’s crab consumers, which include numerous restaurants.
Good Food For All