Magazine article The American Prospect

What Are the Political-And Taste-Implications of the Food Industry-Created Banana Monoculture?

Magazine article The American Prospect

What Are the Political-And Taste-Implications of the Food Industry-Created Banana Monoculture?

Article excerpt

ANN FRIEDMAN: The banana as we know it is about to die out. All of the bananas we consume in the U.S. are the same varietal, and one disease could wipe them all out. As a lifelong banana-hater, though, I can't say I'm too upset about it.

ADAM SERWER: That's pretty callous. Bananas are the most-eaten fruit in the country. Plus, what about all those people whose jobs depend on bananas?

ANN: OK, let me revise that. I am upset at the implications for the global food system and for people who work in the banana industry. But not about the loss of bananas themselves.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

ADAM: But that's no reason to hope for banana extinction. Ann Friedman doesn't care about banana workers.

ANN: False! It's just that if I had to pick one industrially farmed food to go extinct, it would be the banana. They smell gross. They taste gross. They have a gross texture.

ADAM: Look, I love bananas. They're easily portable, they're sweet, and they come in their own wrapping. What other fruit does that?

ANN: Apples. Pears. Blueberries. Oranges. Lemons. Grapefruit ...

ADAM: The protective skin of a banana is far superior.

ANN: But think of all the people who have been injured after slipping on this "superior" packaging.

ADAM: Think about all the people who have been given hours of joy and mirth from such slippage. Also, while I respect your foolish decision not to eat bananas, you shouldn't ruin it for the rest of us.

ANN: You could argue that, because I don't eat the factory-farmed bananas that have created the monoculture (and thus the risk of extinction), I am actually doing more than you banana enthusiasts to keep this fruit around, as much as it pains me to say it. …

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