Basically, Darya, the author, leaves bananas off of her plate because they are something not standard here in the U.S. and she shops mostly at farmer’s markets. She goes into detail on how bananas arrive in our stores; here’s a quote from the blog:
“Virtually all of the bananas sold in the US are grown in Latin Amercia by a handful of countries including Panama, Honduras and Costa Rica. In these places bananas are grown year round, are harvested while unripe, then shipped in special refrigerated compartments until they reach their destination weeks later. The fruit is then exposed to ethylene gas which causes it to ripen and turn their characteristic yellow (not their natural color when tree-ripened).”
monocultures (growing one single species of crop in a wide area) which leaves the entire crop susceptible to disease. This could seriously affect a crop’s yield for a particular year since the disease can kill the entire crop in the area. Think of the Great Irish Potato Famine where the entire potato crop was wiped out and many people died because of their vast dependence on this one crop. For polycultures, multiple crops are grown within the same area to mimic the natural ecosystem. A good example of polycultures are the heirloom produce items like tomatoes. The funky colors and shapes are a result of different tomato species. Here are the advantages from Wikipedia for polycultural over monocultural farming:
- The diversity of crops avoids the susceptibility of monocultures to disease. For example, a study in China reported in Nature showed that planting several varieties of rice in the same field increased yields by 89%, largely because of a dramatic (94%) decrease in the incidence of disease, which made pesticides redundant.
- The greater variety of crops provides habitat for more species, increasing local biodiversity. This is one example of reconciliation ecology, or accommodating biodiversity within human landscapes. It is also a function of a biological pest control program..
To me, polyculture farming is the best way to produce crops as it more closely resembles how plants grow in the natural world without farming. Will this influx of new information make me swear off the aforementioned bananas and all other monocultural produce? Probably not, but I will now be more mindful of the items at the store and look for ways to buy more heirloom or polyculture fruits and veggies. I enjoy bananas (see my blog from the past for proof) and other produce too much to cut them out completely, but my consumption of some might decrease.
So, how will this information affect your grocery shopping choices?