Where there is a will there is a way

Monday, March 7, 2011

Going Bananas

When I posted the entire article from Good Magazine about fair trade bananas, I was still processing the information. I immediately realized its significance of knowledge, but bombarded my connections with the entire article I had learned it from. Now if I was going to process it and communicate it to others, I would probably say:

Did you know that...common bananas are produced using a pesticide which causes sterility and birth defects for the banana workers that have to work with it.

Also that there is an alternative, fair trade banana you can buy, "All Good Bananas", distributed by the same guy that sells Phoenix Organics (the ads have cartoon illustrations showing all the nasties you aren't buying in the drink).

But with my husband, I first explained that the farming techniques people use now to mass-produce one species (monoculture) also leave it vulnerable to disease. (There aren't many varieties with various resistances to disease, if one area gets it they can all get it.)
In fact the kind of banana everyone eats now is a different cultivated variety as the last one became plagued by a disease.

There is a pesticide that works very well to deliver us perfectly disease-free bananas to our supermarkets, it just sterilizes the people that apply it to the banana root (people who live in poorer countries who can't fight back) and sometimes causes their wives, to give birth to children with extreme birth defects. The company that created the pesticide knows this, the big banana companies like Dole, know it, but they choose to use it. Isn't that disgusting? I wish I had always known. I never would have supported that decision. Never.

What am I going to do about it? Not much, but as much as a little wife in New Zealand with an education from Canada can do - write a few letters and boycott "regular" bananas. Tell my friends about it. The letters would be to my local supermarket, and to Dole (why not). Now we know!

This is the book (see image) that has made the story about bananas known, which was represented in Good magazine's recent issue (Issue 17). It is called Fighting the Banana Wars and Other Fairtrade Battles, by Harriet Lamb. (She ran into a lady who had given birth to a child effected by the poison her husband used at work and it started her entire venture. BTW her child was too ill to live for long.)

Here is the website for All Good Bananas, the section for finding a store near you! (But Pak 'n Save does have them.)


PS I did it! Emailed Dole to express my views, emailed Pak 'n Save to say thanks, and emailed my local fruit & veg shop to ask them to supply fairtrade bananas. Feels good.

No comments: