As tomatoes return, bananas depart

| Assignment Editor

Dining Services switched to buying only Fair Trade bananas in March 2009, but after spring break they disappeared due to supply problems. (Evan Wiskup | Student Life)

Across campus, students can be heard rejoicing the imminent and long-awaited return of tomatoes to campus. Now these same students have a new food item to miss: bananas.

Students began to notice the absence of this fruit staple after spring break. After a switchover last year, Dining Services has offered students only Fair Trade bananas, but as of late has run into problems with the vendor. According to Nadeem Siddiqui, resident district manager of Bon Appétit, the University’s source of Fair Trade bananas has recently dried out. Dining Services is investigating alternative sources of these bananas, but while this investigation is underway there are no bananas on campus.

The Fair Trade label seeks to signify that the farmers who are involved with harvesting of the bananas are receiving fair compensation for their work.

Not all students believe that this Fair Trade label justifies the absence of bananas on campus.

“I would just rather have bananas. I think Fair Trade is a good system, but it is not always beneficial,” sophomore Corissa Santos said.

This sentiment is common on campus, particularly among students who view bananas as a key component of their everyday diet.

“I love bananas,” sophomore Olivia Cook said. “I wish they would bring bananas back to campus one way or another.”

Some students are unhappy with the current selection and condition of fruit on campus.

“I am a little upset,” sophomore Eric Salzberg said. “I have found most of the fruit on this campus pretty disappointing. Generally you can find a ripe banana, so I eat them often and I really like them.”

According to Siddiqui, Dining Services will consider bringing non-Fair Trade bananas to campus if the school cannot find a new source of Fair Trade ones.

In the meantime, students are brainstorming other ways to obtain bananas.

“If I really want, I could start going to Whole Foods or Schnucks, which I actually may start doing because I am really upset right now,” Salzberg said.

Not all students are affected by this new development.

“I think it is OK because I don’t eat bananas, but I do know a lot of people who eat them, so it would be better to have bananas on campus,” junior Ashley Sham said.

Students are also concerned about the health implications of the removal of bananas from their diets.

“I know some people with potassium deficiencies who eat bananas every day,” senior Nick Chang said. “By not having them on campus, it causes inconvenience, especially for freshmen who do not have cars on campus.”

The resolution of this situation remains to be seen. There are currently three options.

The first of these options is that Dining Services will find another provider and return to selling Fair Trade bananas in the near future.

The second possible outcome is that Dining Services will have difficulty finding a new vendor and will indefinitely suspend banana sales on campus.

The last possible outcome is that Dining Services will have difficulty finding a new vendor and will decide to sell regular bananas as an alternative.

Despite the moral backings of the Fair Trade issue, some students are hoping for bananas to make a quick return to campus.

“I am a big fan of my biggest source of potassium, so I would really like to see this resolved,” Salzberg said.

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