Saturday, January 31, 2009

No more bananas?

Barbara Kingsolver is very anti-banana because of the fossil fuels required to import the fruit from tropical plantations to North American consumers.

If it is a travesty to buy Chilean blueberries in winter, which I believe it to be, how are bananas different? We shouldn't eat blueberries in winter and we shouldn't eat bananas. . . ever?

I'm conflicted. 

On the one hand, of course we shouldn't eat fruit that has traveled thousands of miles. And if we do, its price should reflect the true environmental cost.

On the other hand: Cheerios without sliced bananas? No more banana bread? Banana cream pie? Elvis' favorite sandwich?

I'm curious how others feel about this and have put up a poll on the right side of the page.

5 comments:

  1. banana boats have been traversing the globe for centuries now.
    they are a huge part of the economy, especially in places like new orleans and mobile.
    if we stop importing bananas several central american economies will collapse.
    this whole idea that we shouldn't move anything around the world because of its fossil fuel costs strikes me as a very narrow view of how the world, and its economy, actually works.
    it is nothing less than a form of neo-isolationism that will have as many ill effects as good.
    count me in for bananas. bananas foster, banana splits, banana pudding, banana cream pie.
    and coconuts too.
    blueberries you can grow in season and do not need to import.

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  2. very interesting, anonymous 7:10 p.m. we also have to consider pineapples and coffee, both of which I would miss even more than bananas. If there are things that one part of the world can do that the other truly can not, it does seem reasonable to, you know, TRADE.

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  3. exactly tipsy. trade. that's how america was discovered by the europeans in the first place. of course, i suppose we could always sail those bananas from honduras to new orleans.
    now for my first cup of free trade coffee of the day. yum!

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  4. exactly tipsy. trade. that's how america was discovered by the europeans in the first place. of course, i suppose we could always sail those bananas from honduras to new orleans.
    now for my first cup of free trade coffee of the day. yum!

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  5. I went through this exact same crisis of faith when I read her book. No more spinach except in spring? No more bananas ever? Or citrus? Or chocolate? I came to a conclusion that I would try to skew seasonal and local as much as possible in my grocery shopping, but not worry about healthy non-local food. Spinach is good for you, maybe not as much when it's shipped a long way, but it beats the heck out of processed food from anywhere.

    So I support the local fruit stands (especially Sumida's) the entire growing season, making sure I stop there first for any food. During the rest of the year I do what I can to support local growers and producers, and not freak out about the rest, as long as it's real food. I guess it's my "luxury item."

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