Monday, June 8, 2009

Banana fanna fo fanna ...

Look what I found this weekend ...

Now take a closer look:

In February I wrote an article about bananas ... you can read that article HERE. After researching the subject, I made the decision not to buy bananas until I found organic, fair trade varieties. The problem was ... I like bananas. They are healthy, available all year long and they taste good. So, when I saw the "produce guy" stocking shelves, I asked him if they had organic, fair trade bananas. He took me to the organic varieties ... but sorry ... no fair trade. So, I started writing letters and asking questions. The store I normally shop in forwarded my letters to Del Monte who sent me a beautiful, long letter saying ... well, not really saying anything. They used a lot of words ... but never once said they would provide either organic or fair trade produce. So I wrote more letters.

In my favorite whole foods market, I looked ... organic but no fair trade. I asked ... I wrote ... I waited. And then, this weekend, I saw them ... beautiful, organic, fair trade bananas. Yes, they were a bit more expensive than the usual variety ... 20 cents per pound more. But ... they were available. So, I used the power of my purchase to send a message ... I WANT ORGANIC, FAIR TRADE BANANAS.

Now, I'm not saying that my letters and requests were the sole reason for seeing these little jewels in the store ... but maybe they helped. As I've said many times before, I"m a firm believer that if we ask, providers will try to accommodate us. After all ... it's their bottom line that's being affected. And I also believe that if we pay a little more for the "good" bananas and refuse to buy the "bad" bananas, the price will eventually come down.

So ... today's tip is easy: Write an email to your grocery store and ask them to stock organic, fair trade bananas ... or coffee ... or chocolate. If you see a produce guy stocking the shelf, ask him if they carry them and when he says "no" (as he probably will), tell him you're interested in them. And make a commitment not to buy bananas if you can't find organic, fair trade.

Today, I'm going to write a letter to the grocery store, thanking them for stocking these bananas ... and then I'm going to enjoy one.

As always ... I would love to hear from you!


  1. I love the power that our money has!
    I have found a few new products that I need to blog about, I just need to find the time to do it! LOL

  2. i have a Lemonade Stand Award for you on my blog

  3. I heard criticism of the "fair trade" designation.

    The 2 main points put forth were that it was condescending because farmers have to provide and accounting of where their money is spent. As if we should have the power to tell them where they should spend their money. And 2, it was a 1 way street. That we have the power to tell them how to spend their money, but they don't have any control over who their consumers are. Maybe farmer A isn't interested in selling his bananas to customer B because Customer B spends his income on cigarettes and then smokes them in the car with his children.

    It wasn't my argument, but I thought it was meritorious.

  4. You are right. Writing our views to the producers will sure help them understand customer reaction and also help them do the needful. Good eye opener indeed.


  5. Yes! It can be very powerful to make requests for what we want. If we don't speak up it may never happen. Thank you!

  6. Thomas, I can't comment on the anti-Fair Trade argument you make since you don't link to it, but it does not sound like any Fair Trade program I have ever heard of. Perhaps you can link to an example?

    I have little doubt that there are political factions opposed to Fair Trade because keeping small farmers in debt bondage or the like is highly profitable. History tells us that they will come up with all sorts of academic arguments against fixing the situation. Land reform and so forth is a complicated matter and there's always the possibility that outside efforts can screw up, but more facts would be helpful before condemning Fair Trade.

  7. I think it was your efforts that paved the way for fair trade bananas. At the very lest you played a part. If we all took baby steps we would all get a lot done. Bravo!

  8. Its great to hear this stuff. Even if your writing to them might not have helped but you took a step to do the right thing and thats a whole lot of satisfaction in itself...

  9. I noticed at my Whole Foods that they had Fair Trade bananas for the first time this week, too. But no organic bananas anymore. I guess it's either/or in stocking our whole foods!

  10. Oh yeah!! I love your integrity!! I usually buy organic, but haven't found them fair trade yet. :D

  11. while fair trade is excellent, i am a little surprised that no one has said 'stop eating bananas'. i'm serious. let's focus on eating locally, and contemplate (if not act on) the idea of eating native foods in their native habitat. my life changed when i had a fresh papaya right off the tree in the tropics. not only the taste, but consider the fuel it takes to get those foods up here just to satisfy americans' need for a buffet assortment wherever they go. just something to think about. one item at a time. enjoy foods in the season and the location, it not only is environmentally sound but also gives one such a true appreciation for where things come from (not to mention how awesome a tomato tastes right off the vine versus off a truck from mexico).