Health, Food and Human History: The All-American Banana?

7 Aug

As part of my move toward eating locally produced food, I have cut out certain fruits and vegetables from my diet. In an attempt to have some sort of balance, and in cases where they are available, I will purchase organic and fairly traded varieties of coffee, chocolate, tea and coconut products but have nearly cut out the consumption of all fruit that cannot be grown within California. This includes pineapple, papaya, mango, and of course: bananas.

I’ve recently become somewhat fascinated with the banana. I often wonder why it is so popular. Perhaps it is because the banana is so easy to carry and eat. But the banana is not a local fruit. Not unless you live in South America, Hawaii, or parts of Asia. How did it get here and when? And how have banana prices remained so low, even though the fruit travels thousands of miles to reach our markets and tables?

Not just Organic, but Fair Trade!

Most of us have seen organic produce varieties popping up in supermarkets across the United States. Though knowing how food is grown is extremely important, so too is knowing how the farmers and workers are paid and treated in the process. Finding Fair Trade coffee, tea and chocolate is becoming easier and easier and I find it interesting that there doesn’t seem to be as much of a movement to engage fresh fruit producers and distributors. I have no doubt there are many challenges with storage, shipping and USDA guidelines though I have not found any specific information as yet. Fair Trade fruit is available now, though can be difficult to find and I have not seen any form of labelling system to indicate that the fruit is in fact Fair Trade.

Below are some resources about the Banana and Fair Trade Fruit:

Banana: The Fate of the Fruit that Changed the World

Yes, We Will Have No Bananas

The Banana

Banana.com

Fair Trade Banana Cooperative

Fair Trade: Fresh Fruit Program

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3 Responses to “Health, Food and Human History: The All-American Banana?”

  1. Veronique August 7, 2008 at 9:31 pm #

    Sometimes we see fair trade bananas, but availability does not seem to be consistent. I don’t think I’ve seen fair trade labels on any other tropical fruit–yet.

  2. Saffron Nine December 30, 2008 at 2:05 am #

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  3. Phyllis Robinson September 1, 2009 at 7:43 pm #

    but yes… there is such a thing as Fair Trade, organic bananas… and from organizations of small farmers as well!

    Check out Equal Exchange’s new Fair Trade bananas…

    http://www.smallfarmersbigchange.coop

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