Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.

Norway receives one of its first shipments of bananas; ca. 1905

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This is at least one of the first batches of banana that was imported into Norway. One of the persons in this picture is Christian Mathiessen, the founder of Norway’s biggest fruit importer, Bama. Norway was the second country to import bananas into Europe, after the UK.


 

Although bananas may only look like a fruit, they represent a wide variety of environmental, economic, social, and political problems. The banana trade symbolizes economic imperialism, injustices in the global trade market, and the globalization of the agricultural economy. Bananas are also number four on the list of staple crops in the world and one of the biggest profit makers in supermarkets, making them critical for economic and global food security. As one of the first tropical fruits to be exported, bananas were a cheap way to bring “the tropics” to North America and Europe. Bananas have become such a common, inexpensive grocery item that we often forget where they come from and how they got here.

(Rebecca Cohen, Global Issues for Breakfast: The Banana Industry and its Problems, The Science Creative Quarterly, Issue 3, 2008)

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