The hands behind our food | Photo + Story

3 mins read

Behind every morsel of food are hands that cultivate the crops and culture to mold the methods that make them. In this photo story, we give face to those who harvest, cultivate and prepare food for the people.

Farmer working in a vineyard in Alagni, Heraklion, Greece. Next to olives, the production of grapes for wine is also a popular crop on the country of islands. Photo credit: Lambros Lyrarakis from Unsplash

In Bida, Nigeria located in the middle-belt of the country, the major ethnic group is the Nupe. A farming community, the Nupe practice cattle farming with main crops such as millet, guinea-corn, yams, rice, and groundnuts. In terms of gender roles, the men farmed while women prepared the food and sold crops at the market. Though the Nupe became Islamic practitioners in the Islamization of West Africa with a patriarchal lean, the women were owners of important resources of society such as small livestock and non-mechanized farm equipment. Photo credit:  Omotayo Tajudeen from Unsplash

In Central Cartagena, a popular fruit vendor are Afro-Columbian women selling fruit much like their forebears. The women wear traditional clothes of the enslaved women, colorful dresses.  Much like the women in Bahia, Brazil, the women are there for culture, history and tourism. Make sure you tip before you take a photo. Moreover, purchase fresh fruit from local farms. You must get one or more of the following: watermelon, mango, papaya, pineapple, passion fruit, guava, coconut and bananas. Photo credit: Ricardo Gomez Angel from Unsplash

Italian chef takes a break from cooking in a hot kitchen. In the summer, depending on where you are in Italy, temperatures can reach to 100 ºF. The southernmost country in Italy and situated in waters kissing North Africa, the culinary style of Italy is a fusion of Mediterranean culture and the number of empires that traded with the coastal region such as China, Persia and the Moors. Photo credit: Diana Simumpande from Unsplash

Jamaican farmer cooking provisions in a traditional fire on rocks. Food from this Anglophone, Caribbean island came from the enslaved Africans forcibly brought to the area to work, intertwined with the indigenous Arawak and the later East Indian population. During slavery, Africans would escape plantations for the hills where they farmed for subsistence eating the following: yams, breadfruit, sweet potatoes, dasheen root (taro), eddos and cassava. An important part of their culinary history are provisions, or the staple foods given to them that sustained the body for hard labor. These foods were either indigenous to the island or brought from Africa.  Photo credit: Juan Jose from Unsplash

In Seoul, the capital and major city in Republic of Korea Seoul, street food is a standard. Vendors use traditional foodways with influences of other countries. Photo credit: Maksim Larin

Tea stalls are part of the informal sector of India, but a part of the economy that tells a critical story in cultural imperialism and capitalism by way of food. Alongside China, India is noted as starting the production and domestication of tea leaves. It would be this cash crop that became a major crop harvested under British colonization. Eventually, tea became the national drink in the United Kingdom. However, post-colonization, India’s economy struggled. Tea stalls, a mark of the British imposition, also became an important source of income for working class Indians. Photo credit: Aditya Chinchure from Unsplash

In Tenganan, Indonesia, two girls make “Tipat,” a dish of rice wrapped in “Busung” or in English young coconut leaves. Photo credit: Cok Wisnu from Unsplash

Cattle farming is one of the top industry’s in Brazil. In fact, Brazil produces the most cattle in the world. So much so, reports show that in 2018, 215 million cattle were raised. The down side is that cattle farms are part of the destruction of the Amazon. As well, most farm operators are exploited by big farm corporations. The average cattle farmer makes a little over $8,600 a years. Photo credit: Tadue Jnr on Unsplash from Unsplash

Due to segregation in workforce employment, women heavily represent labor in the open-air markets of Vietman. While majority of women are untrained to work in sectors outside of selling at markets and secretarial positions, because of their experience as marketeers, they possess strong entrepreneurial knowledge and skills. Photo from Unsplash

On the Caspian Coast is one of three large fishing communities in Iran. Aquaculture has a long, rich tradition in the region, as well as, the republic has the largest fishery producer in the region. Photo credit: Sasan Rashtipour from Unsplash

Chinese sailors and traders began to immigrate to New York in the 1870s. With maritime trade booming, a small community of Chinese began turning into thriving communities with shops for the modest to the wealthy. One of the known venues were eateries and social halls, which sparked a lively food market that lived as much on the street as it did in restaurants and banquet spaces. Today, Chinatown, like most of Manhattan, is experiencing gentrification. Yet and still, the street food vendors remain. Photo credit: Clay Banks from Unsplash

Kaia Shivers covers diaspora, news and features.

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