Mahatma Gandhi, preeminent leader in India's Freedom Movement, was the king of protest fasts. On three separate occasions, he undertook 21-day fasts as a way to demand equality, unity, and reconciliation. He also engaged in over a dozen other short fasts as a non-violent way of calling for social change.
The question here is "why food?" While Gandhi's methods of fasting as protest technically involved the lack of food, they still revolved around it. The real question should be "why not food?" Food is culture, religion, sustenance, and industry. Food is personal, and a major aspect of everyday life.
As can be seen in the following content, protests involving food occur more than we may realize. Sometimes, the food involved is seemingly random. More often than not, the food involved has major cultural, religious, and/or historical connections with the countries and issues involved.
Without further ado, here is a list of 10 times this decade that people across the world have used food to protest.
1. Wine (France, 2016)
Just a few months ago, a protest group called the Regional Action Committee of Winemakers flooded the streets of a town in Southern France with imported wine.
These wine aficionados, fiercely loyal to local products, evidently commandeered the beverage from a nearby shop. The thousands of liters flooded homes and basements.
2. Pancakes (United States, 2016)
In a protest dubbed Pancakes Not Pipelines, activists gathered last March in front of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission building in Washington D.C.
Using solar power, they cooked pancakes and served them with maple syrup as a way to oppose the destruction of a family maple farm, which happened to be "in the way" of a proposed pipeline installation.
3. Frozen French Fries (Belgium, 2016)
In response to new legislation affecting their businesses, french fry vendors in Belgium gathered to dump two tons of frozen french fries onto their city hall steps.
4. Carrots (France, 2015)
In an act of protest against tentative regulations requiring plain packaging on cigarettes, a group of angry French tobacconists dropped four tonnes of carrots outside of the socialist party's headquarters in Paris.
The carrots, which represent French cigarette shops signs, evidently did the trick. French lawmakers threw out the proposal, opting for an amendment requiring health warnings to be larger instead.
5. Apples (Poland, 2014)
In 2014, Russia banned fruit and vegetable imports from Poland, a petty move that had the potential to hurt Poland's economy. In response, Poles began a social media campaign encouraging people to eat Polish apples.
6. Chips and Mayo (Belgium, 2014)
In 2014, a group of protestors organized by Belgian feminist group LilthS gathered at a conference at which Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michael was speaking. They threw "chips and sauce," a trademark Belgian food, at him to protest recent government actions.
But it may have not had the intended effect, as he is seen laughing and smiling in photos of the incident.
7. Spaghetti (Ukraine, 2014)
2014 was a big year for European food protests. This protest actually took place in Odessa, Russia, and was conducted by a group of Ukrainians who were upset with the Russian news media's propaganda during the conflict between the two states.
They threw spaghetti at the Russian consulate in Odessa, in reference to the Ukrainian/Russian saying "to hang noodles over someone's ears," which is roughly equivalent to "to pull someone's leg." This was their way of saying that the information the Russian media was releasing couldn't be taken seriously.
8. Potato Chips (Korea, 2014)
Frustrated with the seemingly excessive amount of air in their potato chip bags, a group of Korean students made a raft to prove a point. A raft, that is, out of tape and bags of potato chips. Did it float? Oh yeah. With a person on it? You betcha.
9. Cookies (United States, 2010)
Sarah Palin was scheduled to speak at a private elementary school in Pennsylvania when she heard that the school in question was imposing strict regulations on their cafeteria food. She showed up to her speech at the "nanny state run amok" with 200 cookies to teach the children the "beauty of laissez-faire."
10. Yogurt (Greece, 2013)
The practice of yogurting involves throwing yogurt in the faces of people with whom one is displeased (usually male politicians). Although it has been occurring since the 1950's, there has been a recent resurgence of yogurting in Greece, to shame politicians for their actions involving Greek politics and austerity.
Has the practice been successful? Perhaps it's made some breakthrough, as Deputy Minister of Regional Development Sokratis Xinidis has been quoted as saying “The time has come for all of us to pay the price. I am ready to be thrown a yogurt…”