America Goes Bananas for Fair Trade!

Parker Townley December 10, 2012

Did you know that bananas are the number one selling item in almost ALL grocery stores?  It’s true! That’s why it is important that you ask for Fair Trade bananas. It is also why we’ve been rallying Fair Trade Town, University and College campaigns across the country to Go Bananas for Fair Trade since October! Through our Go Bananas for Fair Trade web site advocates are provided with  tools and resources to locate where Fair Trade  bananas are available, how to support the sale of existing Fair Trade banana supplies or work with purchasers to bring Fair Trade bananas to market.  Below are some of the successes that we’ve seen across the country.

Go Bananas Challenge

To kick off the Go Bananas for Fair Trade campaign we encouraged Fair Trade Town, University & College campaigns to host Fair Trade banana themed events October 1 through 14.  The two campaigns with either the most Fair Trade bananas consumed or people in attendance won a grand prize of free Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream for a year. Over 30 campaigns participated and here’s a snap shot of their accomplishments!

Grand Prize Winners –

  • Fair Trade Boston: Overall 1167 bananas were gobbled up and Fair Trade Boston presented to 5 elementary classrooms along with the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Boston! In addition to educating youth Fair Trade Boston helped Ben & Jerry’s scoop shops switch to Fair Trade bananas, resulting in hundreds of Fair Trade banana splits. Way to go Boston!
  • Penn State Brandy Wine: The Trail Blazers left 611 banana peels in their dusty tracks after a two-day event on campus giving away free Fair Trade bananas with informational flyers.  They even created a Fair Trade banana quiz for IPads and made sure all the peels were thrown into a wheel barrel destined for on-campus composting.

A”peel”ing Achievements –

  • Penncrest High School in Media, PA was able to switch the bananas that their cafeteria purchases to Fair Trade bananas.
  • Tulane University was successful at getting their food service provider to commit to 2 cases of Fair Trade bananas a week.
  • Mankato Minnesota handed out bananas to thousands of runners at their annual  5k race.
  • The Go Bananas Challenge energized three new campaigns in Missoula, MT, Huntington, West Virginia and UCLA.

Banana Farmers Tour the Midwest

In October, we hit the road with Felipe Echeverri & Jorge Restrepo from Bananeras de Urabá S.A. of Colombia to talk about their lives as banana producers to US consumers. In 12 days we hit 10 cities, attended 57 events and met with over 1240 people in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Illinois. Events included 16 classrooms presentations, 4 media interviews, 10 meetings with banana purchasers, 13 public events, 5 meetings with politicians, 8 meetings with Fair Trade groups and 1 local farm visit! This was one of the most exciting tours we’ve ever done and we’re hoping to see a ripple effect in the availability of Fair Trade bananas as these campaigns continue to build off of our visit. Thanks to all our wonderful campaign organizers, and of course Felipe & Jorge for making this happen!

Check out pictures here!

Will you rally for Fair Trade Bananas With Us?

Bananas are the most popular fruit in the world and Fair Trade banana producers need your continuous support to increase availability in the US. We have dozens of campaigns that are working with their campus or local supermarket to supply Fair Trade bananas and we’d love to add you to the list!  The Go Bananas for Fair Trade web site will continue to serve as a resource for you, and we’d love to support you in anyway needed. 

Please drop us a line if you’d like to Go Bananas!


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Parker Townley, National Organizer | Fair Trade Colleges & Universities

Parker Townley works for Fair Trade Colleges and Universities to help connect students and faculty with the resources they need to effectively campaign for Fair Trade on campus. In his free time Parker explores the Sierra Nevadas with his trusty backpack, roams the Bay Area in search of the perfect cup of coffee, and cultivates a small veggie garden.