Universal Harvest Project


As a traveler, I am fascinated by food containers in the markets I visit on my journeys, and the way that the text and imagery printed on food packaging reflects local culture in flux. Twenty-first century consumers may never themselves touch farming, but market imagery often harkens back to idealized versions of food-production. Evocations of olde-time watermills, overflowing cornucopias, buxom milkmaids, and eternally ripe orchards stand side by side with proud proclamations of regional accomplishments in the realms of cheese, sweets, or bread. Environmentally savvy shoppers are urged to reuse their paper bags; or else disposable plastic points to cheap plenty in forms ranging from bok choi to fresh-killed chicken. Eating food bought from a market remains an essential way in which people participate in local economies and connect with a sense of place.

I am interested in food containers of all kinds: boxes, tins, labels, bags, tubes, found in small-time fruit stands, bakeries, and butcher-shops, as well as large chain supermarkets such as Kroger (US), Casino (France), Tesco’s (UK and Hong Kong), AB (Greece), or Migro (Switzerland).

The Universal Harvest Project will take the form of an annotated collection of food-related imagery, assembled with the help of international participants. Annotations will include photographs of markets & supermarkets, participant correspondence, and other relevant commentary. Calls for participation will be circulated through such sources as the Lonely Planet travelers’ website, artists’ list-serves, friends, cultural associations, and study-abroad programs.

call for participation>> images>>