In 1870, sea captain Lorenzo Baker docked in Jersey City with a boatload of Jamaican bananas. After making a tidy profit on his spur-of-the-moment investment, Baker launched himself in the banana business, establishing the company that would eventually become United Fruit. In its efforts to make a perishable, tropical fruit a nutritional mainstay in the temperate North, the company would foster both innovation and intrigue. At its height, the United Fruit Company owned huge swathes of land in Latin America and had the power to install and depose presidents and strongmen. In this workshop we will examine the legacy of the company known as “the Octopus” as well as the present-day challenges facing banana-producing countries.
Speakers included UC Berkeley professor Alex Saragoza and Dan Koeppel, author of Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World.
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