Wednesday, February 9, 2011
How to make a banana taste sweeter
Huh...I had mumbled on my other blog about weird comments about how much fruit I've been eating, and musing to some of my coworkers eating "all that fruit" fruit was evil.
But...Apparently it can be. Who knew?
I'm not talking about nutrition wise - sure they're higher in sugar so you have to keep a level on amounts, but there's more to it.
My friend Cindi has been on a quest the last few years to eat sustainably and cruelty free. It's a challenge, and she finds the more she knows the trickier, yet tastier and ultimately more rewarding she finds the food choices she makes for her family. My fruit post rang truer than I knew...turns out fruit can be evil, in a sense of ethical and fair trade.
Specifically: bananas. Apparently Dole and Chiquita both are unfortunately trampling on the rights and lives of those who cultivate and ship the bananas in developing countries where they grow. Ethical improvements, like not exposing workers to pesticides that are banned here, are needed. The companies continue to use paid militia for union busting and their fear induced labour enforcements that keep the cost of bananas down are widespread. Like coffee and chocolate, the farmers and workers are being massively exploited for added profit - and in the case of bananas it's a paltry sum. We're talking child labour and severe mistreatment. It's difficult to know how widespread this is. From what little I've read, buying ethically grown/traded bananas would only be ~10 cents more PER BOX for bananas. This is the profit margin that large exporters and importers are willing to mistreat their workers and farmers for.
Yes, this is troubling. There are ethically grown bananas available, apparently Loblaws are the main company in North America to carry them, and more grocers would carry them up on request, if they knew the increased price would be accepted by consumers. In England apparently 25% of bananas are ethically grown and more widely available. Here it is marginal.
And so I am in a moral quandary -I love bananas. I eat one a day...they are my post-workout candy. Now they present an ethical issue for me (Cindi why do you tell me these things...).
Personally, I will be lobbying my local grocers to supply ethically grown bananas. It has worked for other things, like organic vegetables and fair trade coffee and chocolate. If we want it, we can convince grocers to supply it to us. Being in the middle of the prairies it may take a while to get here, but I hope that you will, after reading this, look into this yourself. See if you can get your local grocer to consider ethically grown crops. I know I would pay a bit more and will feel much better knowing that my daily fruit treat is not at the expense of the dignity and livelihood of someone else I've never met.