International Trade and Family

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For my Hungry Planet paper, I chose to compare the Ukita family of Japan and the Ayme family of Ecuador:

“The Ukitas are a four-member family unit in a relatively small living space, which is common for Tokyo-dwellers. They spend roughly $320 per week on a variety of foods, including fish, fruits, rice, noodles, vegetables, oils, and several snacks. Sashimi and rice are Japanese staples, but they also clearly enjoy their “favorite foods” of cakes and potato chips as well, making their diet a modern one. I determine them to be a relatively affluent family, most likely middle-class. The Ayme family, on the other hand, has a total of 9 members, spends about $32 on groceries per week, and mainly seems to subsist off fruits and vegetables—there are sacks of potatoes, bananas, grains, carrots, lettuce, and what looks like some leeks. Unlike the Ukitas, the Aymes have no packaged or processed foods in their weekly haul, and instead of “favorite foods,” they have a family recipe of potato soup listed. It might be cold where they live, seeing that almost all of them are wearing hats and warm clothing, which made it curious that there was no meat of any kind in their spread. There are some cooking pots pictured behind them, and I would imagine their diet to be relatively traditional.”

I decided to focus on how international trade affected both of these families. The Ukitas have several foods that might not be accessible to them without global trade, like bananas, and the Aymes appear to have local fruits and vegetables with short commodity chains. The Ukitas, given their status, are able to actively participate in international trade and benefit from it, whereas the Aymes simply must make do with what is locally available.


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