Last Fall I watched the movie Blood Diamonds, a story of the sordid diamond trade in Sierra Leone. The real story is probably more evil than the movie can depict, and the price of diamonds exceeds what money can buy. Apparently it is worse for bananas.
Listening to NPR: Fresh Air yesterday afternoon, I listened to an interview with Dan Koeppel about the history of the banana. It is a bloody fruit. And I just bought two bunches of them Sunday night at Scotts. We eat alot of bananas in our home, and I've never wondered about their heritage.
When Tara and I went on our Carribbean cruise several years ago, we took a tour through a banana plantation. It was a neat experience, but they didn't share much about the ugly side of the business. In Koeppel's book, Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World he traces the history of the banana from Southeastern Asia to its industrialized form in Central America. I suppose there are two sides to every story, I've not read the book, so I'm assuming that there is somebody out there that can prove certain facts in the book as misleading. But assuming that the gist of the book is correct, the rise of the banana as THE most popular fruit in the United States is enmeshed in evil.
Bananas are a bloody fruit. We eat them completely unaware as to the real cost; we might purchase them for $.55 a pound, but it is because the laborers of Costa Rica, Honduras and other countries were enslaved, beaten, murdered, and terrorized by corporations, governments and armies so that a few could make a ridiculous profit.
So should we stop eating bananas?
The list goes on: the meat we eat is often a product of disgusting, cruel, and inhuman systems of slaughter and breeding; the tomatoes we eat are picked by underpaid and overworked immigrant workers; and on and on and on. Almost everything has blood on it. Almost.
There are some farmers, growers, producers, sellers who are committed to providing food in such a way that animals are treated with dignity that God requires, the earth is stewarded properly to produce the vegetables, fruits, and grains we need, and those who work with animals, those who work the earth are also treated with dignity.
Polyface Farms is one place in Virginia that does this kind of good work. I've blogged about this before, yet I've not taken decisive action on it. My friend Steve Dennie blogged on something similar about the meat industry.
Arrgh, why can't eating food be simple. Maybe I'll just ignore the evil reality surrounding the current food production syndicate. Yeah, that's it. I'll just pretend that everything is okay. Or not...