Dole Organic Bananas
Have you ever stopped to read the sticker on a piece of fruit? I mean, really read it to find out what it's telling you? Usually you can figure out if that orange you're slicing into came from Florida or Texas, or whether that kiwi came from Italy or Chile.
But some pieces of fruit will tell you even more than that. If you pick up a Dole Organic banana at the grocery store, you'll find a farm ID number on the sticker in addition to the country of origin. Since 2007 Dole Organic has been going above and beyond to help customers figure out exactly where their fruit was grown and how.
Look that farm ID number up on the Dole Organic website and you'll find maps, photos, certifications, and other information about the plantation where your bananas grew up.
Finding Out Where Breakfast Was Grown
Just this morning I used the Dole Organic site to figure out exactly where my breakfast came from. The banana I bought at an HEB supermarket here in Austin said farm number 776: Finca Don Pedro in northeast Colombia, about 150 miles east of Barranquilla.
The Don Pedro plantation sits on 400 hectares in the shade of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains. According to the Dole Organic website, Finca Don Pedro has been certified organic by the European Union and the US Department of Agriculture since 2005. It has also been certified under GlobalGAP for good agriculture practices.
Just these tiny bits of information caused a wave of difference about how I viewed that piece of fruit I was eating for breakfast. It was no longer just a generic product that I bought for $0.70 per lb. at my local supermarket. I now knew it was grown in northern Colombia before traveling 2,000 miles to East Austin to be sold. I knew the landscape of the farm where it came from and the faces of the people who work there.
This effort at greater transparency is an enlightened move by Dole. They've faced more than their fare share of controversy throughout the years, but deserve credit for taking steps towards a transparent supply chain when the rest of the food industry shrouds itself in secrecy.
Farm ID numbers and points on a Google map are a good start, but far from where we should be. In an age where I can see what all my friends around the world are up to at this moment, being able to find out more about how my food was grown so I can make better choices just seems so obvious, don't you think?