Vendor Spotlight: G.R.O.W. Bananas
Maybe you like to enjoy a banana with your morning coffee and the local news. Or perhaps you like to let your bananas get a little past ripe and bake them into bread. And if you have kids, you might toss a banana into their lunch bag for a healthy midday snack. But no matter how you savor these potassium-rich treats, it’s important to know that the bananas you purchase here at the Co-op represent so much more than just a healthy fruit.
In the agricultural areas of Mexico and Ecuador, oftentimes the very families that provide the U.S. and other areas with tropical treats, like bananas, are living in poverty. Organics Unlimited, a banana company that operates in these regions, recognized this was a growing issue for these farming communities and the future generations and felt they had a responsibility to help.
With this in mind, Organics Unlimited founded G.R.O.W. in 2005. GROW stands for “Giving Resources and Opportunities to Workers”, a social responsibility program that helps provide educational support, clean drinking water, and milk for children, among other necessities to the people who live and work in these banana-growing regions.
Beyond improving daily life in Mexico and Ecuador, G.R.O.W. also provides long-term support to their growers and workers by reinvesting a large portion of banana sales into those communities. Additionally, G.R.O.W. offers programs that support young people’s development, such as an opportunity for higher education and micro-business plans, which oftentimes helps support the long-term success of the community as a whole.
Along with its social initiatives, G.R.O.W. practices environmental stewardship to ensure farmland is protected for generations to come, and Organic Unlimited helps fund initiatives and organizations that work to preserve natural resources, such as the Environmental Health Coalition. This means all of the GROW bananas in our Produce Department are organic, sustainably grown, and of course, taste perfectly sweet and flavorful once they’re ripe!
So next time you peel open a banana with a G.R.O.W. sticker on it, you’re not just eating something healthy, you’re giving resources and opportunities to workers (and their families!). Your snack means banana farmers and agriculture workers in Mexico and Ecuador get clean water, a chance at higher education, vison and dental wellness checks, and a healthier, brighter tomorrow.