What can I say? I lack self-control. 

This North American breakfast staple is less than appetizing when its everyday production is considered. Banana plantation workers are some of the most poorly treated, often working 12 to 14 hours daily, without paid overtime, and with the looming threat of layoffs. Further, conventional banana production uses high levels of pesticides—10 times more than other crops grown in industrial countries.

Despite its reputation as an aphrodisiac, chocolate—and more specifically cocoa production—is a total turn-off. Fairtrade International estimates that 90 percent of cocoa is grown by small, family-run farms producing, typically, only 500 kilograms of cocoa per year. Unfortunately, these farmers are unable to access the futures market, which offers more fair, stable prices but typically trades in increments of 10 metric tons. Left with few alternatives, they often sell their crop for far below market value. Some commercial traders have been reported to scam farmers by tweaking their scales.

Don’t despair, though! Instead, clean up your muffin act by swapping bananas, sugar, chocolate, and coconut products for their fair trade counterparts. And with fair trade awareness increasing, more and more ingredients are becoming available at even the big chain grocers, if you can stand the fluorescent lighting.

Amy is a lifestyle blogger and banana chocolate chip muffin devourer. She chooses fair trade and organic whenever possible.

“Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins with Coconut Brown Sugar Streusel” was orginally published in the

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