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The sign read:

An Announcement from our Wholesale Supplier

Important Notice Re Bananas:

Please be advised that there is an issue with the supply of bananas for the next few weeks.

Due to the bad weather (hurricanes) in the Dominican Republic the fruit was of poorer quality going into the ripening rooms and has not withstood the usual storage / ripening process.

As a result the fruit was poor quality coming out and rejected so this has created a shortage throughout Europe.
Subsequently the majority of fruit from other countries has been “sucked out” of the system by much larger buyers and supermarkets…. As produce is scarce this has pushed the price of bananas up. Our suppliers expect that the amount of bananas that they have to offer us will be down by approximately 30% and so we will have less bananas available to offer to customers.

OK, so today I couldn’t buy Organic, Fair-Trade bananas from our local organic shop, which functions as a social enterprise and is supplied by small-scale and ethical businesses.  Our local supermarket still had plenty of bananas if I wanted some.

Yet– already supplies of food are seriously impacted by extreme weather– storms, droughts, floods, let alone dwindling bee populations to pollinate European crops- but there’s so much food in the world it’s easy not to feel it.  And it’s easy if we have money to pay higher prices.  And it’s easy if we are part of food systems that deliver along lines of power (to acquire, to purchase in volume, to push smaller buyers out of the way, and to consumers in wealthier societies).  And of course we’re part of a social lie that there is year-round, seasonally irrelevant, resource depleting, climate-stability destroying– in a word — unsustainable — abundance.

Not everyone on this revolving globe has access to the fabulous but false abundance to which we’ve become accustomed.  Sometimes in a supermarket I feel like I am hallucinating.  And  yet, this false abundance itself is increasingly jeopardised by all the climate weirding that is already happening.

The messages I took from the sign in the shop are questions, really:

What happened to all those bananas that didn’t make the grade?  Must be a massive amount of waste unless flexible Food Manufacturers could suddenly call up a whole new need for pulped bananas for a new product? Unlikely.

Big players have power in a compromised market place, and what do we want to do about that?  ( I did, after all, later in the day, go and buy Fairtrade bananas at the supermarket.)

What’s going to happen in the years to come, when more and more foodstuffs we rely on in a globalised market become scarcer.  Yes, the rich will probably continue to have easier access to the best there is.  But certainly there is going to be less best.  I cannot believe that as our Climate extremes increase, Big Ag or even our small scale local sustainable Ag will always keep up.

Another reason that all of us, gardeners and not gardeners, need to get on with growing and learning and making these practices normal and common.  Not for bananas necessarily, but grains and roots and fruit and greens, diverse foods, so there’s always at least something.

Why are we not all talking about Climate Change constantly, why is it not the main topic of conversation in how it relates to almost everything else?  The silence is deafening!

Yes, we have no bananas today.

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