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What do avocados and cocaine have in common?

Everyday we at Klerify try to get our daily hit… of avocado. Whether on your salad or mashed up as guacamole, slathered on toast, or sliced as a drink garnish, we can’t get enough of the tasty fruit.

Almost 6 out 7 avocados we enjoy are imported. Mexico is the leading source of the fruit formerly known as the “alligator pear.” And sadly, the farmers who work hard to bring you delicious avocados are too often extorted by drug cartels, and sometimes the farms are even owned by cartels. So, yes, the people who provide Americans with cocaine and other drugs, also benefit from our avocado habit…

That habit also harms a garden favorite…

Yes, avocados are the number fruit consumed by Americans today, and that demand is encouraging more production in the Mexican state of Michoacan, near to the origin of the avocado. The farms that grow avocados are creeping into neighboring forests that happen to be the winter home for all of the world’s Monarch butterflies!

So, our insatiable desire for all things avocado is starting to destroy the habitat of one of our favorite summertime delights – seeing Monarch butterflies in our gardens! So while you may be trying to save the threatened Monarch butterfly by planting milkweed, your eating habits are harming its winter home. Every increase in avocado sales gives more incentive for Mexican farmers to chop down natural habitat to meet your need for a guacamole fix! This harms the environment in Mexico and in the USA because not only are butterflies critical pollinators to help grow food across North America, but they are an important source of food for other creatures in almost all ecosystems from Mexico through Canada!

It’s not just the butterflies getting hurt in Mexico from our avocado addiction…

Poor pesticide management in parts of Michoacan (where the avocados are farmed) has led to a public health challenges because the pesticides are causing health problems for people living nearby. The health issues include cognitive challenges for kids, exhaustion, hormonal imbalance and sometimes cancer for adults exposed to too many pesticides in the avocado production areas.

That’s a lot of bad news, anything good to say?

Heck yeah! The avocado is a great source of income for farmers and has helped with our international trade to support growers in Mexico. Also, avocados are super tasty, versatile, and healthy to eat. Avocados also don’t have a lot of pesticides on them when you purchase the “alligator pears” at the store.

Good avocado farmers responsibly (or don’t use any) pesticides, and don’t cut down the forests of Mexico to grow their produce. They also pay their farm workers at least minimum wage.

What should I do to buy sustainable avocados?

Well, there are a few things you can and should do:

  1. Tell your favorite grocery store to provide you with Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance avocados that are also Organic.

  2. In the short term, try to buy Organic avocados from California to reduce pesticide use, and not contribute to deforestation.

  3. Maybe lay off the guacamole for a while, and definitely stop the cocaine that supports the farmer extorting cartels!

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