Years ago, I wandered the world via Peter Menzel's Material World: A Global Family Portrait. Each page is a photograph of a family portrayed outside their home, surrounded by all their possessions. It is humbling to live in the consumer-driven United States and see pictures of how people in other countries live.
Menzel teamed up with Faith D'Aluisio several years ago to document what people eat, creating Hungry Planet: What the World Eats. Covering 24 different countries, the book again portrays families, but this time surrounded by a week's worth of groceries. You can see some of the images here, in a post that's capturing the Facebook audience this week.
Looking at the images yesterday morning, I was struck partly by the differences in the amount of food, but much more by what foods are represented and how they are packaged. The ratio of packaged, processed foods to whole foods varied considerably between the families and countries. The implications of these food choices go beyond the dietary health of the families to the health of local and global environments.
If you were to gather up your weekly groceries, what would they look like? Would they be closer to the packaged bounty of the United States or the fresh-produce filled table of Mexico (if we ignore the row of two liter soda bottles at the back)?