The food we eat is as diverse as the cultures and lifestyles of the people consuming it. But the issues underlying food run much deeper than the whims of our cultures or palates. Until now, the subject of food security has mostly been viewed as a rural issue, with research and development work honing in on subsistence farming. But with the massive influx into cities, the focus needs to shift to the metropolis.
The Hungry Season takes science writer Leonie Joubert and photographer Eric Miller to eight different cities and towns around southern Africa as they explore the complex issues around food security, including:
- Childhood stunting and malnutrition;
- The transition from traditional ‘African’ to ‘Western’ diets;
- Chronic lifestyle-related illnesses associated with a modern diet;
- Nutritional literacy, behaviour and choices;
- Large-scale food production and urban food gardens;
- Poverty, joblessness and the geography of the city;
- Urban planning, supermarkets and the full food value chain; and
- Food wastage.
Ultimately, The Hungry Season looks at the crisis of hunger and malnutrition surrounding us in the city, hidden behind layers of affluence and comfort. It tackles the fundamental question: Why is it that in southern Africa we produce enough calories and nutrients to keep the region full, satisfied and well nourished, and yet we still have such high levels of hunger and malnutrition?