When people talking about africa, the first image jumps to my mind is not the lions or leopard, it is actually the poor kids. With so many population and limited resources, the global south is always an area catches people’s attention when talking about the food insecurity in Africa. ‘In urban areas. the main characteristic of food insecurity is not food production but access to food. Accessibility hinges primarily on the individual or household’s ability to purchase foodstuffs, which in turn depends on household income, the price of food and the location of food outlets. Food may be economically accessible but spatially inaccessible. On the other hand, it may be spatially accessible but economically inaccessible.’ (Crush,2011, P.781) In the article, Crush states a fact that the people in the global south uses informal food economy more often than the global north, I haven’t use any other forms of food source since I was born. My family purchase food from 3 supermarket, Costco, T&T, and Walmart. When the summer comes, we go to one of the local farm and pick up the blueberries, cherries, and strawberries. And that is the only time we do not get food from the supermarket.
Supermarkets play a huge role in my life. It is my main food source, I get most of my food from metro on Yonge/College. If there’s no supermarkets around where I live, honestly, I do not have any idea what to eat, I must ended up eat in the restaurant everyday. Although the food in the supermarket is more expensive than those informal food economy, I would rather pay more to get the food from a formal supermarket. It is safe, well, it is ‘safe’ to most of people in the global north because in our mindset, we are taught that these food are safe. My mom is a huge fan of Costco, she buys almost everything from there, beef, chicken, fruits, eggs, bread, blender, handsoaps, mops, cups…I still remember every weekend, I had to go to costco with her and work as a construction worker to move all the groceries to our fridge. Urban life makes us a believer of the supermarket, therefore, we would only consider supermarket as our only food source, we trust the supermarket, rely on it, and always believe it will have the best quality.
I still remember when I was in China, every morning on my way to school, there’s always lots of street venders selling fruits and vegetables. After moving to Canada, I ‘ve rarely seen it. I know there’s some in the Chinatown, but I never purchase any food from them.
The informal food economy is a main trend in the global south, it is cheap, people with low income would rarely think about what they eat, the first thing they are thinking is how to fill the whole family. The people in the global north purchase everything from the supermarket, they believe its quality because they were taught so.
Crush, J. and Frayne, B. 2011. Supermarket expansion and the informal food economy in Southern African cities: Implications for Urban Food Security. Journal of Southern African Studies, 37 (4), 781-807.