Dole Organic began putting a little sticker on its bananas earlier this year, allowing consumers to see where the fruit was grown. I blogged on this months ago. Now they've taken the program further, allowing for interaction with the farm. Dole has posted an email one customer wrote and then an amazing number of responses from workers on the banana plantation in La Guajira, Colombia.
Photos: Dole Organic
Among a few choice quotes:
"I evaluate the agronomical practices at the banana fields. Your letter made me feel that my work is appreciated. Thank you very much!" - Dulcinis Atencio
"You said you will keep us in your mind every time you eat an organic banana, we promise to keep you in mind every time we pack your bananas. Thank you for your letter." - Midelfi Mejías
"Everything started with this small sticker with the three digits... It is hard to believe that this tiny piece of paper created a beautiful link between you and all of us in Don Pedro ...I put the stickers on the organic bananas." - Tatiana Barros
OK, I know this is PR. I know the statements come through the company. I know this reveals little about the actual operation. But the appreciation expressed by the workers was pretty amazing, as if they were finally recognized for growing food! What a thought.
I encourage people to read this new experiment in the farmer-consumer connection over thousands of miles. Thanks to Luis Monge, regional certification officer for Dole's Organic Program, for the shout out on this development.