Earlier this month, Cameroonian filmmaker Franck Hameni traveled to Saint Louis University to screen his documentary The Big Banana. Now, the faith-based organization Partners for Just Trade (2236 Tower Grove Avenue; 314-707-2831) is picking up where Hameni left off by selling dried fruit with a Cameroonian trade partner.
The Big Banana, whose premiere was banned by Cameroon's government, documents the lives of cultivators who are forced off of fertile farms for less lucrative tracts of land by the French fruit company Plantations de Haute Penja. By selling the products of these farmers, Partners for Just Trade is working help restore the Cameroonian growers' livelihoods.
There's always a little give and take when shopping at fair trade stores: You get the satisfaction of knowing that you're making responsible purchases, but the prices are almost always steeper. Along with oven-dried bananas, Partners for Just Trade offers 3.5-ounce bags of mango, pineapple, papaya and mixed fruit for around $6. You can also purchase the fruit online. And you can feel good about the buy. Partners for Just Trade communicates directly with a Cameroonian trade partner, RELUFA, to get the fruit.
If you missed the recent screening, you'll have to wait until the filmmaker releases it on DVD, which he hopes to do soon. The next showing of the documentary is August 11 in Washington, D.C.