For us the challenge is slowly getting to its end. We know very well that with this we cannot say we had an experience with living below the line of poverty. All we had so far is a slight example of how it might feel to eat on $1.5 a day. And, our experience is only valid for Ecuador.
For us, people who love food in almost any form, its diversity and different tastes the hardest part is the lack of variety; the variety that we were used to in our homes. This is our main reflection and conclusion from the past few days.
People living below the line do not have the opportunity to experience variety and diversity of food. As we know, experiencing new things or tastes is very enriching. We can learn about new cultures, maybe new people and definitely we can explore ourselves.
Of course, poor people rarely have the possibility to create new experiences in many areas of their lives, not just food. We believe it is one of the fundamental advantages that people coming from favored backgrounds have over people below the line. But one is sure – having a meal with fruits and vegetables should be accessible to anyone, not just the rich. And more needs to be done to even out the buying power of the have and have-nots.
In every country there is a significant diversity of food, but from what we have seen, especially in rich countries, healthy food is expensive. The most important reason for it is that the governments subsidize only some type of products, mainly those being produced and processed by big food companies, such as corn, cotton, soybeans, wheat and rice. We believe that everybody should have the right to have access to a higher diversity of food and the subsidies should be divided in a more equal way among different types of food. For example, fruits and vegetables should receive more than 1% of government funds. With small changes to how our food system is funded and governed we can make big and positive changes in the lives of millions of people.