My awesome project is a two-week story-telling residency in La Central de Abasto in Mexico City. La Central is one of the largest wholesale markets in the world — up to 30% of all the food sold in the entire country passes through it every day. I will be accompanied by a Mexican photographer and translator (sadly, I chose German in high school). Together, we will spend one workday (starting at midnight, in most cases) at a time in its different sectors and with its different actors, from flowers to fruit, and from cargadores to cleaners and prostitutes to police. We will record their stories, document their day-to-day activities, inventory data (what do they eat? where do they come from? where and to/from whom does the produce they work with go? what do all the crazy fruit and vegetable signs say? what is the most expensive and cheapest product on sale each day? what is in the market’s waste and where does it go? etc.).
Each day, at the market’s close, we will return to our own headquarters to put together a beautifully designed broadside of our findings: photographs, stories, and infographics that bring to life the people and unpack the mysteries of this "Axis of Food." Each day’s broadside will thus focus on one facet of the market: there will be an entire sheet on ice vendors, another on carrot cartels, and yet another on truck drivers, for example.
We'll print these and distribute them as food wrappers at the city's public and street markets, where much of the produce sold at La Central ends up. We'll also publish them online (in collaboration with the BBC), and, at the end of the project, display them in tear-off pads as an exhibition in DF and then NYC.
The market is amazing and mysterious, even to 99% of the residents of Mexico City: this project will help bring its daily operations and idiosyncrasies to life for the people it feeds. I have been wanting to do this since my first quick visit in 2010 (http://www.ediblegeography.com/the-axis-of-food/)!
Funded by Awesome Without Borders (December 2013)