Sarah Ford | April 28, 2015

Feeding 7 Billion: How Food Impacts Communities Around the World

Food connects us, and at the same time helps shape our identity.

That’s the narrative Seattle-based photographer Michael Hanson tries to show in his ongoing series, Feeding 7 Billion. He documents food’s scarcity and abundance, the communities and rituals that surround it, and how it affects our planet.

For two months in 2010, Hanson traveled around the United States with his brother and friend in a short school bus that ran on vegetable oil, collecting stories and photos of America’s urban farming and local food movement. He saw the foundations of communities built on local farms. He saw teenage mothers in Detroit spend part of the school day on a working farm. And he witnessed New Orleans’ resilient Versailles community create makeshift backyard farms in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Since then, Hanson’s photography has grown to include more international stories of food: tea field workers in Sumatra, Indonesia; salt ponds in Maras, Peru; daily rationing in certain parts of Cuba; and women selling their last chickens at a Chichicastenango, Guatemala market in order to support their families.

“Where our food comes from was an obvious mission,” Hanson tells Mashable. “Food hits on multiple fronts. It defines our community. Food signals changes in tradition, history, geography. You can find out a lot about a country or culture by eating its food.”

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