Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Food Deserts

Food deserts are places where it is hard to access healthy and affordable food. They are characterised by mini markets, takeaways and a lack of fresh, seasonal produce. The term ‘food desert’ first came to prominence in the 1990s but is useful for understanding the effects of food production and distribution today. As inequality in the UK grows, increasingly where you live determines what opportunities you have. Food deserts are found in areas where people have lower incomes and therefore less of the resources required to take advantage of the globalised food system. Supermarkets moving to the edge of the cities make having a car a requisite for accessing affordable food. Collecting local vegetables, meat and bread from different shops requires time and planning. Indeed this variety of shops may not even be available in the local area. Therefore it appears unreasonable to place the pressure for change at the door of those who are already disadvantaged.

Last year’s ‘Food Matters’ report produced for the government recommends that “The UK must continue to focus on fair prices, access to food and food security through competitive markets”.It is hard to see how purely ‘competitive markets’ will be able to address the complex problems of transport, income and planning that lead to the creation of a ‘food desert system’.

Food deserts show how environmental, economic, social and political issues can be expressed and influenced by food. This makes them compelling areas for study and action.

Chicken: Low Art, High Calorie

from the fantastic mark batty publisher

Just a small something on the subject of food and graphic design. Seeing as I live in London now, I might do some kind of fast food graphical tour some time soon... I'm especially interested in the way the big companies are dealing with current attitudes towards animal welfare and healthy eating. I'm fairly sure people prefer the honesty of the little dirty chicken shop.


Saturday, 18 July 2009

an email from olly

we've been wanting to start a food project for a while and now we've decided to make a start. here is an email i just recieved from olly on the subject...

How is London? I hope it is brilliant.
I heard something interesting on the radio that could maybe go into our idea pot. There's been all this controversy about how food from the west bank is not clearly labelled, not saying whether it's from illegal Israeli settlements or from genuine palestinian farms. Basically saying geographic labelling is not enough; there should perhaps be more to it.

Maybe this whole food labelling thing is a good route in to problems of how much to expect of people buying food and how much to expect of corporations and government. Perhaps something quite focused like packaging could be interesting.

let's hope we do something worth reading...