Photographers' Blog

Snails as food, snails as business

By Yiorgos Karahalis

One of my fondest memories is of the snails my mother harvested after the rains. I couldn’t wait for her to get home so that I could grab those tiny animals and play with them for hours, all the while looking forward to the next day’s lunch! Little did I know then that this childhood pastime was also a big business.

Perhaps it was my memories that led me to be intrigued by the story of Greece’s Fereikos Helix snail farming company, a successful business started by two sisters, Maria and Panagiota Vlachou.

“I was having dinner in Zurich as I was speaking to my sister on the phone. I told her that I ordered snails for near 37 euros. And she joked with me, saying we must start growing and trading snails,” Maria Vlachou said, explaining what motivated them to start their business in 2007.

The two sisters set up their first farm in Korinthos, a coastal town some 80 km (50 miles) west of Athens. They have since managed to expand their business throughout the country.

Today it operates as a family enterprise, aimed at educating young farmers or businessmen who would like to set up their own snail farm. It organizes seminars for future farmers, giving a picture of what life looks like when you own and run a snail farm, from buying the snails from the farmers at a pre-agreed price to exporting most of them to European countries.

from Russell Boyce:

Asia – A Week in Pictures January 23 2011

As India heads towards their Republic Day celebrations, Prime Minister Singh makes minor adjustments to his cabinet while outside on the streets people demonstrate over food and fuel price inflation and corruption. Adnan Abidi produces a great picture as a middle-aged demonstrator gets to feel the full force of a police water canon. In stark contrast, B Mathur gets a glimpse of the dress rehearsal of the full military parade planned to celebrate India's independence where the security forces are deployed in a somewhat different manner.  Danish Siddiqui added to the file this week with a well seen picture to illustrate a government spending initiative with a man pulling a pipe across a building site, the shadow creating an eye like image that almost seems to wink at the viewer.  

INDIA/

Police use water canons to disperse supporters of India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) during a protest in New Delhi January 18, 2011. Thousands of the supporters on Tuesday in New Delhi held a protest against a recent hike in petrol prices and high inflation. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

INDIA/

Indian Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers ride their camels during the full dress rehearsal for the Republic Day parade in New Delhi January 23, 2011. India will celebrate its Republic Day on Wednesday. REUTERS/B Mathur

from Africa News blog:

PHOTOBLOG: Children in Kenya and Haiti forced to grow up fast, if they survive

I had a flashback the other day when I was looking at photographs from Haiti of 15-year-old Fabianne Geismar, shot dead in the head after stealing wall hangings from a Port-au-Prince store, crushed in the Jan. 12 earthquake.

The image of Fabianne sprawled on the ground, blood trailing over the paintings she'd grabbed, took me back to my own childhood in Nairobi and the sight of a 7- or 8-year-old-boy - probably the same age as me at the time - who was caught stealing sweets from a street vendor and was beaten and burnt with rubber tyres. They called it mob justice.

REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

To this day, I'll never understand why that poor boy had to die such a violent and senseless death for something so trivial. I feel the same way about Fabianne - she survived one of the most catastrophic events in living memory, only to be shot in the head for petty theft. And for stealing wall hangings where there are no walls.