In October 2011, Equal Exchange and Oke USA took a group of produce managers and buyers from food co-operatives in the midwest to northern Peru to visit some of our banana co-op partners and learn more about their lives, co-operative businesses and the bananas they grow and export to us here in the U.S.
This March, as part of Equal Exchange banana Month, we are featuring news from our farmer partners, producer profiles, and articles written by those retail partners who had the opportunity to accompany us on our visit to Peru. The following excerpt is from a wonderful article written by Travis Lusk, Seward Co-op Produce Manager which appeared in the December January issue of The Sprout.
Equal Exchange bananas epitomize Principle Six (P6). They’re from farmer-run cooperatives — small-scale banana farmers in southwest Ecuador and northwest Peru — and are sold to cooperative grocery stores in North America. Equal Exchange bananas are also a premium product of outstanding quality and reliability. Seward Co-op’s partnership with Equal Exchange highlights two cooperatives working together to improve the quality of life for consumers and producers.
Bananas are the highest-volume product sold at Seward Co-op and at most grocery stores across the country. Despite this popularity, many consumers are unaware of the back-story of the tropical fruit. In October 2011, I had the pleasure of visiting Peru, along with other cooperators from Equal Exchange, and learned much about how indigenous communities organize to grow and export bananas.
See more here (go to pages 9 – 10).