Bananas, RIP

Bananas are one of the most perfect foods. They are tasty any time of day, affordable, and packed full of nutrition. A single banana has over 10% of the daily fiber and potassium requirements. These are 2 nutrients that most Americans don’t get enough of.

Unfortunately, bananas may soon be extinct. This has actually happened in the past. In the 1960’s a fungus known as Panama Disease struck banana plantations across the world. In a matter of years, it decimated 99 percent of the banana industry. The Gros Michel banana variety of bananas was annihilated, and producers scrambled to find a suitable replacement.

The only variety that could be mass produced, exported, and reasonably survive on a shelf was the Cavendish, which we continue eating to this day. It’s not as tasty or hardy as the Gros Michel, but it is better than nothing. Unfortunately a new mutation of the Panama fungus has started making rounds in various banana plantations across the globe. Growers and scientists are trying to find a solution, but so far have come up empty handed.

This is the price we pay for monoculture agriculture, where in the name of economies of scale, growers prefer just one variety of crop, instead of many. We didn’t learn the lesson 50 years ago, will we be smarter this time?

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