Pacific Coast Eco Bananas

Ever wondered lately, as you’re strolling down the local fruit and veg aisle, why some bananas suddenly appear to be wearing little red skirts?
By Market Magazine

Those biodegradable wax tips indicate these cool bananas are healthy for the environment, as well as your body. In other words, they’re coming from a good place!

Grown by Pacific Coast Eco Bananas, just outside Innisfail, Queensland, farmers Dianne and Frank Sciacca use ‘creature-friendly farming’, a whole-system approach using practices that have minimal impact on the ecosystem and a positive impact on soil health.

“It wasn’t about just creating a farming system,” explains Dianne. “It was about creating a framework for sustainable farming and being able to measure it.”

Earth calling

While billions of dollars are spent on researching climate change, it’s not the only impact humans are having on the planet. Precious resources affected by farming practices include the loss of tropical rainforests, depletion of food and clean water sources, as well as air, water, and soil pollution.

Creature features

Although there has recently been more frequent use of naturally derived products to battle pests and diseases that can impact crops, these can also negatively affect the environment. But alternatives do exist, and that’s where eco bananas come in.

Two decades ago, just after marrying, Dianne and Frank began developing the Ecoganic® patented farming system for their new crop of bananas.

Pacific Coast Eco Bananas are now grown using this approach, which is different to both conventional and organic farming methods. It removes synthetic and organic treatments from the land and employs holistic practices that value plants, weeds, grasses, animals and insects – providing biodiversity and soil health. That means no nasty nematicides, miticides or insecticides, the chemicals used to kill parasitic worms, mites and insects. The focus is also to produce fruit with a sweeter, creamier flavour and denser texture, to give it a longer shelf life.

Cool bananas

The Sciaccas monitor natural predators as an indicator of the health of the ecosystem. Fertiliser is limited
for a more natural growing cycle, reducing the impact on other natural assets, such as nearby waterways leading to the Great Barrier Reef. (It is the only banana to receive Reef Friendly endorsement from The Great Barrier Reef Foundation.) The trailblazing growing system also increases the production of carbon in the soil – rather than the atmosphere.

“It was never just about a solution for our farm or making money,” says Dianne. “It was about sustainability on an industry level and sharing that knowledge with people.”

That knowledge will likely see other wax-tipped fruit arrive on market shelves soon, as more farmers consider using the Ecoganic® method for producing papaya and avocado. Even cattle farmers are said to be looking into the research. And why not? It’s a winning formula for the farming industry, the environment and the consumer.

So, next time you go to grab a hand of bananas, make a conscious choice and go for those ones with the cool eco credentials… and those alluring little red skirts.

Top Tip

Acting as a natural beta-blocker, eating bananas helps ease the symptoms of anxiety. These clever little rays of sunshine also contain the natural chemical serotonin, which makes people happy.

Fun Fact

A bunch of bananas is called a ‘hand’, while a single banana is called a ‘finger’.

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