Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Taken For Granted: Comparing a Week of Food Around the World

As our great-grandmothers used to tell us, "Waste not, want not." It's an idea that has vanished with the pocket watch and the Victrola. It's worth noting how much we in the West take for granted when it comes to food.

Too often we in the developed countries of the world forget how lucky actually are. Many of us cannot begin to imagine what it is like not to live in a land of plenty. It's easy to do if you have never been hungry.
And because we tend to take things for granted, we become part of the problem. 
Take food and how we waste it.

According to a 2013 report by the National Resources Defense Council, the average American tosses about 25 percent of food and beverages purchased. For a family of four, the money wasted could total from $1,365 to $2,275. Food spending as a percentage of the overall budget has decreased dramatically over the last few decades, but it’s still the third-largest expense for a household.

The organization also points out that feeding the U.S. population requires an enormous amount of land and resources. When the resources to grow that food are considered, this amounts to approximately 25 percent of all freshwater, 4 percent of the oil we consume, and more than $165 billion dollars all dedicated to producing food that never gets eaten.
Cover of "Hungry Planet: What the World E...

Clearly as population in developing countries continue to grow, there will be a limit to how much can be produced 

The photos below are from the book "Hungry Planet: What the World Eats" by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio, a photographic study of families from around the world, revealing what people eat during the course of one week.

Each family's profile includes a detailed description and how much was spend every week. It's a truly eye-opening examination of human life on Earth, isn't it?