Day Two in Ecuador . . . and it’s Getting Even More Amazing

December 2nd, 2009 | melody | 1 Comment »

melThumbMachala Nov 2009 019Greetings from Machala, Ecuador. It’s the second arduous day of visiting small banana producers in Southern Ecuador. The producers have joined together to create associations to improve their prosperity. The associations help the producers to obtain Organic, Fair Trade and Euro Gap certification, so that their bananas will be worth more in the marketplace. I learned today that all three certifications lead to the same ultimate goal – Sustainability: Sustainability through organic production, food safety and social responsibility – different paths to reach the same place!  Amongst the several grower associations, one in particular stood out in the way they were achieving sustainability through biodiversity of their farms. The transnational companies came in 50 years ago and told them to mono-crop only bananas; to tear all the native plants out. So, this particular group now uses their Fair Trade premium to grow and distribute native hardwood trees that are nearly extinct. Trees with exotic names like Caoba and Nogal that their grandparents knew when their farms where like gardens.  These banana groves are carpeted with kudzu, a native legume that regulates soil temperature, moisture and adds vital nutrients. The farms are like Sylvan portraits of an Eden lost, and are now being reclaimed by small growers. Their carton slogan says “We are dedicated to the biodiversity that is the Source of Life”. These growers are truly impressive – so much to learn from them, and so easy to be inspired from both their deeds and their attitude.

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