Whether in celebration, mourning or the everyday, food plays a central role in a Nepali's life. Last July, the World Food Programme staged a unique photo exhibition called 'The Life of Food in Nepal', showcasing a collection of 46 photographs by 18 photographers across the country. The photos have now been compiled into a coffee-table book that reflects the rich food culture of Nepal.
A family walks through a golden field of wheat, a line of mules carrying food marches up a mountain, a woman arranges fresh white yomari on a plate. The 'Life of Food' encompasses the lifecycles of foods Nepalis live on, from cultivation and production to transportation and consumption. It also communicates the hardships faced by farming families to put food on their plates – and ours – in the terrain of Nepal. The image of a farmer leading his oxen through a field, for example, reminds us just how much we are still dependent on traditional agricultural methods. But amidst the hardship is hope, as symbolised by the image of a green oasis surrounding a homestead in the midst of brown, barren slopes.
Each section is introduced by short paeans to Nepal's food culture (including a few from environmental entrepreneur Anil Chitrakar), and personal accounts of struggle add to the book's value. But it's the pictures that speak volumes.