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Follow the Thing: Papaya
Ian Cook et al*
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK; i.j.cook@bham.ac.uk

In a recent round table about Antipode’s radical geographies, contributors argued that the journal needed more papers which stimulated debate, were accessible to academics and nonacademics alike, didn’t ‘‘preach to the cognoscenti’’, were written to fit into radical teaching agendas, and were diverse and eclectic in style (Waterstone 2002:663; Hague 2002). This paper has been written to fit this bill. It outlines the findings of multi-locale ethnographic research into the globalization of food, focusing on a supply chain stretching from UK supermarket shelves to a Jamaican farm, and concluding in a North London flat. It addresses perspectives and critiques from the growing literature on the geographies of commodities, but presents these academic arguments ‘‘between the lines’’ of a series of overlapping vignettes about people who were (un)knowingly connected to each other through the international trade in fresh papaya, and an entangled range of economic, political, social, cultural, agricultural and other processes also shaping these connections in the early 1990s. The research on which it is based was initially energized by David Harvey’s (1990:422) call for radical geographers to ‘‘get behind the veil, the fetishism of the market’’, to make powerful, important, disturbing connections between Western consumers and the distant strangers whose contributions to their lives were invisible, unnoticed, and largely unappreciated. Harvey argued that radical geographers should attempt to de-fetishise commodities, re-connect consumers and producers, tell fuller stories of social reproduction, and thereby provoke moral and ethical questions for participants in this exploitation who might think they’re decent people. This paper has been written to provoke such questions, to provide materials to think through and with, for geography’s ongoing debates about the politics of consumption.

The Idea
… if we accept that geographical knowledges through which commodity systems are imagined and acted upon from within are fragmentary, multiple, contradictory, inconsistent and, often, downright hypocritical, then the power of a text which deals with these knowledges comes not from smoothing them out, but through juxtaposing and montaging them … so that audiences can work their way through them and, along the way, inject and make their own critical knowledges out of them. (Cook and Crang 1996:41)
Ó 2004 Editorial Board of Antipode. Published by Blackwell Publishing, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA

Follow the Thing: Papaya


The Thing

The Following Producing Papaya

Figure 1: Left: 30 foot trees. Right: packing papaya1

Once they’re picked, they start to die. Twisted off the stem. Just as they have ‘‘turned’’. From fully green, to green with a yellow streak. By farm workers. Men. Walking slowly along an avenue of ‘‘trees’’. Alongside a trailer, full of green plastic crates. Pulled by a tractor. Work that’s undertaken in the hot sun. But they’re shaded by the leaves splaying out from the tree top. Leaves that shade the fruit
Ó 2004 Editorial Board of Antipode.

‘‘Product of Jamaica’’. I don’t think I would either. Primarily by women. weighed. Looking for those colour changes. Picking for export. Thirty feet tall. She said. Buyers don’t usually last that long in one department. What crops had done well in which parts of the world. What’s coming ‘‘on line’’ from where. she got a ‘‘feel’’ for the market. Eight pickers leaning precariously off that platform. People in the trade expected papaya to go mainstream. you know. So I’d probably go there ‘cause I know it would be a lot cheaper (laughs) … I know my mum would never go into (my stores) to buy mangoes. The sprayer can’t reach them. All trying to prevent the white latex oozing from the fruits’ peduncles from dripping onto their skin. Carefully twisting them off. Four a side. Keeping tabs on the market. Jerked about. Alongside mangoes. Welded to another trailer. Cupping the bottom of the ‘‘turning’’ fruits. Thirty feet up. Picking is easy. The leaves finally succumbing to ‘‘bunchy top’’. Never directly. trimmed. Fresh. And eight months old. wrapped and packed neatly in boxes. All of her produce came via three big suppliers. it’s edible. I wouldn’t go into (my stores). There was a weekly rhythm to Mina’s work. ‘‘Turning’’ fruits at the bottom and flowers at the top. when. What’s out there. From huge volumes of mainstream fruits like pineapples.644 Antipode growing around that column. Each supplier able to offer her a wide range of produce. Mina had been a speciality fruit and veg buyer for eight years. She worked at a supermarket HQ just outside London. That month or week. And soon to be felled. In 1992. The Papaya Buyer I know that if I was going to buy. But. Early in the week. the ‘‘trees’’ are eighteen months old. But 99 p was good value. To keep everything on Ó 2004 Editorial Board of Antipode. picking is still going on there. At what price and quality. Following kiwi fruits before them. graded. where they’re washed. On a platform made from scaffolding. I mean. in the next field. It’s nasty. Wheels following undulating tracks in the baked mud. We’re on a papaya farm. £1 per fruit too expensive for the consumer. A psychological barrier. To the USA and Europe. Soon. These ‘‘trees’’ are perhaps ten feet tall. purely because it’s an image that we’ve created in the supermarkets. mangoes (or) papayas. Each a good handful. Most of this work revolved around her phone and computer. But. to dozens of boxes of obscure fruits like sapodillas. Everything’s got to look perfect. . But then I wouldn’t go into (our competitors’) either …‘‘Ethnic’’ shops … have a lot of good lines. And how this should influence their supply and price. just the fact that it’s got a blemish in there. Slowly moving. Placing them in crates for the packing house. Sold in mainstream supermarkets. Pulled slowly along by another tractor. Broken into the market through promotions: low prices and high volumes. But.

Damaged. The rest were probably impulse buys. What she was going to charge her consumer. Regardless of season. Dropping Ó 2004 Editorial Board of Antipode. Would they actually buy it? For how much? £1? They had kept prickly pears and tamarillos off her shelves. and other so-called ‘‘ethnic’’ restaurants in the UK where this took place closer to home for many more people? Mina assumed that these two exposures were responsible for 90% of her sales. They’d be on sale for the same price. Because of wastage. She’d get a home economist to prepare it fresh. Lower prices for suppliers. To accurately register sales. Changing the following Sunday. Their shelf lives. What she was going to pay her suppliers. And the price was competitive. or in a recipe. To symbolise something. Perhaps only three days long. Mundane. Manky or unwanted fruits left on the shelf. Consumers wanting to recreate at home what they had experienced elsewhere. His company had better computers. Questions were being asked in the trade press. One of her rivals placed his orders on Thursdays. Shapes.Follow the Thing: Papaya 645 the shelves year round. Mina vividly remembered the first time her panel sampled Jamaican papaya. How had sales gone. other buyers. Textures. It was delicious. People raved about it. And what about those Indian. Jamaican airfreight tasted so much better than the Brazilian seafreight she was used to. Set her prices that day. And the other looked great. Keeping his money for a couple more days. To fruits in their ‘‘natural’’ settings. or had an ID photo at the till. But they’d need promotion. during previous week? What were the figures from checkout scanning? Each fruit was bar-coded. Was the speciality or exotic produce there to make money? Or was it a statement about supermarkets’ global reach and sophistication? Photographs of exotic fruits were used in annual reports and promotional materials. line by line. The quality was much higher. The decreasing cost and increasing popularity of package holidays to the tropics meant first-hand exposure for many British consumers. From all around the world. Supermarket shoppers usually pass through the fresh fruit and veg first. In all supermarkets. For seven days. So he could buy stock closer to the day it reached the shelf. She placed her orders every Tuesday. . secretaries. These papayas could become mainstream sales. To achieve a 37–38% profit margin. Smells. Those colours. Like kiwi. Chinese. How could she not stock it? If she could be sure of the supplies. The seeds in one were annoying. rotting or past their sell-by dates. Not pet food. strange and plain weird. Then ask what her panel thought about it. New stock started to arrive on the shelves on Sundays. To them. Increasing volumes. She’d take a sample and try it out with a ‘‘taste panel’’ made up of her work mates. Which she wouldn’t make overall. cleaners. But how did her new product development work? How did she change her offering? Suppliers would offer something new at the right price and volumes. They didn’t like them. but tasted like an unripe tomato. It was brilliant.

646 Antipode her profit margin to 16%. That really upset her. Borrowed from her exotic fruit book or suggested by her home economists. Occasionally. Where they came from. this land was still Ó 2004 Editorial Board of Antipode. But were bracketed out when facing the figures on their spreadsheets. They were discussed back at the office. Traces of the agricultural. . Making papayas look attractive. And how you ate them. Much has changed. Capitalism had its clothes off. Knowing that she was directly involved. But these were the standards her bosses and consumer wanted from her. husbandry and packing technologies. sugar factory. But these experiences and feelings went with the territory. Advising them on quality standards. What they tasted like. Like Tony’s company had. That was ‘‘taking the mickey’’. Ancient equipment rusting away inside. You couldn’t sell lower quality produce than your competitors. in 1992. and computer screens. Suppliers used promotions to get their foot in the door in order to up the price when the market was broken. Starting in the 1500s. Recently she’d visited a pineapple farm in the Ivory Coast. as a British Asian woman whose mum wouldn’t buy mangoes from her stores. They had to be. Where sugar cane used to be grown. she went on big trips. Her performance was reviewed monthly. The plantation’s great house. She said. Jamaica! How you knew they were ripe. Yet. Seeing all that poverty. So she dropped them for a cheaper Jamaican papaya supplier. Papaya Political Economy Figure 2: Left: nineteenth century sketch of sugar estate. Sometimes. Right: ruined factory chimney amid the papayas A fifty-two acre farm in Jamaica. Producing leaflets free from the shelf fixture. Providing preparation and recipe ideas. With a company technologist: an expert in plant physiology. export-oriented society Jamaica was set up to be. Maintaining relationships with big suppliers. When world trade was in its infancy. and rum distillery in ruins at its centre. or a market stall. Explaining what they were. Visiting sites of production. You could get a much better deal at a local ‘‘ethnic’’ store. The farm manager’s house built in the ruins of the overseer’s. she knew her produce was unnecessarily blemish-free and too expensive. First hand. But.

You can try and give yourself some sort of comfort and believe it leaks through and everybody becomes a little better off. According to supermarkets’ specifications. volumes. Jamaica has needed to diversify exports for some time. too. Re-graded or rejected them. was an agent for a large number of suppliers in Israel. Unpacked them. Who picked up shipments from (air)ports. Like papaya. Involving countries with no colonial obligations. Mina bought her Jamaican papayas from Tony. . in turn. Sometimes. Most of that is bullshit … I don’t have any sleepless nights over it. No predictable or steady income. Grinding poverty. Export diversification should help to tackle rural poverty. That was contracted out. US$1800. And bananas. And with that historical connection. Put a sticker on each one. Week by week. To slavery days. Or 38. And from EU expansion. Seasonal. On international trade agreements. The Papaya Importer Most of the population in this world are using sunshine to turn into dollar bills because they haven’t got an awful lot going for them … It does precious little good for the average man in the street … but it creates wealth for a few individuals who reckon to hold onto the wealth and not spread it around too much. US$4. Which fruits. Brazil and the Caribbean. To service debts.Follow the Thing: Papaya 647 devoted to export agriculture. He spent a lot of time on the phone. At the 1990 exchange rate.000. Negotiating a balance between what one needed and what the others could provide. He’d recently set up a specialist fruit importing business in a small suite of offices in central London with two Israeli partners. Quotas. But threatened by the WTO. Back breaking. per person. Egypt. Identifying niche markets. But at least they weren’t still farming sugar cane. Fruits of equal size Ó 2004 Editorial Board of Antipode. For high value commodities. The ‘‘free market’’. Zambia. Its owners and managers weren’t. Jamaica was still an impoverished country. The farm workers were descendants of enslaved African people.000. Talking to buyers and suppliers. He. Changing voting patterns. Or J$ 38. Trucked them to a central depot. With unpredictable yields and prices. And I’m honest that I’m a bit hypocritical about it … My first priority is my wife and children. I hate it when I have to go and visit it and have it pushed in my face. They had good contacts in the diaspora of Israeli agronomists working on small and medium sized farms in the ‘‘third world’’. For sugar. Overseas. Like tropical fruits. Sugar’s reliant on preferential markets now. That’s a horrible business. as this would be described locally. prices. Tony’s family had been in fresh produce for three generations. quality? His company didn’t handle these fruits.5 billion in 1991. An uncompetitive industry kept afloat. or J$14. With information and a barcode on it. At the 1993 rate.000 J. To a specialist ‘‘pre-packer’’.

but still coming back for more punishment. Meaning there were less on the market. The rich often using that trickle-down argument. the manager of a Jamaican papaya farm he acted for. via his colleague’s contacts with a man he had shared a tent with in the Israeli army. often in small quantities. In the third world or anywhere else. But these visits—taking up six or seven weeks a year—meant Tony continually had to face up to the ugly realities of world trade. His greatest business pleasure was ‘‘turning a penny into tuppence’’. Ready to eat. Better. So low that many went bankrupt. So. This was where Jim learned his trade. … Third World suppliers are still over-supplying the market with produce. And stopped growing them. They over-produced. So prices increased. Not the thousands of people whose lives he might only have glimpsed. you could cut wages. ‘‘you’ll do it for less. Having a disastrous time. you had to visit people. Their money-making was good for everyone. In huge. if export prices went down. receiving less. To him. Tony regarded Jim as his mate. But it was ‘‘supply and demand’’ that was ripping them off. ‘‘If nothing is your option’’. He visited him once a year. He said. . Before setting up on his own. Adding to the Jamaican papaya supplies handled by Tony. Perhaps. Fruits not yet ripe enough placed together. Rich getting richer. How they could produce what you wanted. An agronomist headhunted to run an experimental farm growing Jamaican strawberries for export. this was ‘‘bullshit’’. The New Zealanders were being ‘‘totally and utterly ripped off in kiwi fruit’’. During the next three days. All kinds of fruit and veg. It wasn’t people like him or Mina or Jim who were responsible for ripping off poor farm workers. he said. Poor getting poorer. He was a hypocrite. Where. How they were run. As long as one’s gases didn’t affect the others’ ripening. The experiment had failed and he moved to a pioneering papaya farm on Jamaica’s north coast. Who’d made his fortune in grain and animal feed. He could see that. But New Zealand had a welfare state. earning less. Owned by an American billionaire.648 Antipode and ripeness placed together. Talk to them. delivered straight to the stores. Like bananas can. So prices dropped. See what their farms were like. So more farmers got involved in supply. Losing a fortune. Tony had met Jim. Demand had grown. Of course. But he didn’t lose any sleep over it. Ó 2004 Editorial Board of Antipode. Because there’s nothing better for them’’. But he wasn’t trying to change the situation. Trust and confidence in your suppliers had to come from personal contact. Getting less. Alongside other fruits. Leaving those still producing having a ‘‘nice time’’. atmosphere-controlled ripening rooms. Unlike Jamaica. How could he? His wife and children were his main responsibility. But that wasn’t the case everywhere. Jim’s operation was smooth. But had no worries. Unemployment benefits. Uniform produce.

Unable to survive on the price cuts they constantly had to offer. while costing the same amount in reals. or anything else. But they were dumped when they claimed their ‘‘reward’’. a shipment of Brazilian mangoes. So. say. another one always turned up. Supply and demand. If there was a scandal. Just when you needed them. This was an up and down business. But this hadn’t really affected Tony. somewhere. Right: a standard box2 Ó 2004 Editorial Board of Antipode. else. Mina could easily get her fruit from someone. Suppliers came and went.Follow the Thing: Papaya 649 This was a cut-throat business. dodgy management practices. Currency devaluations subsidised trade. While conditions were favourable. People were always phoning him. An exposure in the British press of child labour. Making mangoes cheaper to buy in sterling. He had the contacts. Consumers gave their 99 p papayas a go. Price promotion. Quickly. currency markets. . A supplier could easily be dropped. The Papaya Plant Figure 3: Left: variation in fruit size. Or. And they got it. they could up the margin to make some ‘‘proper money’’. Jim would need the capital to ride this out. Tony had persuaded Jim to sell cheap to get a following there. but a better price. their produce became too expensive on the world market. Lower prices increased sales. And some went bust. Tony said. Other Jamaican papaya growers were desperate for the business. below the breadline poverty of farm workers. He could make money out of both on. But the buyers had been ‘‘bastards’’. if exchange rates changed. Desperate to get their produce on the shelves of British supermarkets. He had faith in that. Offering identical quality. To get a foothold in the supermarkets. Tony and Jim had helped them to break papaya into the mainstream. It had worked for kiwis! Once the market was broken. and how the international trade in fresh produce was connected to currency markets. Tony talked a lot about exchange rates. But the world of fresh produce didn’t like a vacuum. someone like Jim had to make and stash as much money as possible. any number of factors outside anyone’s control meant that disaster could be just around the corner. At that lower price. When one supplier disappeared or became too expensive.

really). And the taller a tree the slower it grows. Price. female and hermaphrodite trees (big herbs. or in people’s back yards. Working on a farm on Jamaica’s north coast owned by an American billionaire. Going out to each job at least every 15 minutes. Commercialised. Both in their thirties. Making sure they’re picking OK. Then at primary school in Jamaica. Yet the ones on the supermarket shelf are (almost) identical. papayas are far from uniform. Jim ran the papaya farm with his wife. And deforms the fruits. Look. durable seeds travelled well. . Like ‘‘bunchy top’’. It wants hermaphrodites. really). With hollow fibrous trunks. Fruits get closer together. Setting global trading standards for ‘‘tropical fresh fruits and vegetables’’. Fruit size is inversely proportional to tree height. well-drained soils. Like he had. He’d bought it as a tax break Ó 2004 Editorial Board of Antipode. Jim and his wife met at agricultural college in England. In the ‘‘wild’’. After their increasingly ugly encounters with Columbus and his followers. Which stops the fruits’ carbohydrates being converted into sugar. You see that humming bird?… Generally I spend most of the morning running in between the field and the packing house. The Papaya Farmer Humming bird. Size. And extremely vulnerable to viral diseases. Most notably in the FAO/WHO/WTO’s (1993) Codex Alimentarius volume 5B. papayas followed the colonial exploits of the Spanish and Portuguese. Their copious. Males pollinate. Compacted. Colour. but likely to get secondary education in the US or UK. Females produce round fruits (berries. Soil nutrients affect the taste. Ten pounders! There are male. Ripeness. He was a second generation white Jamaican whose parents had emigrated from the UK just after the second world war. The export markets doesn’t want these fruits. Available year round. They can be monsters. Shape. But papaya trees change sex with the climate. With less space to grow. Like cans of beans. Germinating and becoming naturalised in tropical environments with plenty of rain and fertile. They’re smaller. Checking each picking trailer. Misshapen. He next job changed his life. In the name of ‘‘consumer safety’’. And the ‘‘ringspot’’ virus. they had two young children. Each bearing imprints of those around it. Circling round and round … Some days I don’t know what I’m gonna do to get them motivated … I tried so many things … The packers don’t start packing seriously until half past four … When my orders are disrupted … it’s not worth losing a market for.650 Antipode The spread of papaya in central America and the Caribbean marks the historical travels of the Carib/Arawak people. They moved to Jamaica and his first job was on the estate where his father worked. Which stunts growth. And more pear-shaped. His father worked as an engineer in a sugar factory before setting up a small dairy farm. Standardised.

And stopped those pickers being jerked about on those trailers. The superior taste of fruits picked a little later. That plant. But also been lucky. and fallen leaves. And he’d got a PhD student studying his ‘‘success’’. Producing those gorgeous fruits. Prevented it from becoming so muddy and uneven. An ‘‘overnight’’ success story. Two years before this research was done. These weeds could have bound that soil together. Much the same was happening in Puna. Setting up on his own. And got his workers to clear the tracks between them of weeds. Papaya is notoriously difficult to grow commercially. They were too slow. And in the packing house. Ringspot had devastated commercial papaya growing in Oahu in the 1950s. he had to keep on top of things. And engaged in multiple acts of Ó 2004 Editorial Board of Antipode. Local labour was easy to recruit. . On an old sugar estate then run as a horse farm. Was so awkward. He said. An iconic place. It delayed the Jamaican government’s planned expansion of papaya production between 1991 and 1994. Along the coast. They were all learning ‘‘on the job’’. The first graduate of that ‘‘papaya school’’. The demand for fresh Jamaican papaya continued to grow in North America and Europe. Which he’d come to know so well. if those bugs didn’t go. Rented 52 acres from a wealthy white Jamaican friend. He knew it. Everything had just fallen into place. The timing couldn’t have been better. Working through the other farm’s contacts in the export trade. Even the Israeli agronomist brought in to oversee the experiment. He’d invested J$1 million to see if and how papaya could be grown there. Jim spent most of his time trying to get his ninety workers to do their jobs properly. and showed no initiative. Like ringspot and bunchy top. This was how Jim learned to grow papaya. He introduced incentive schemes. Conjuring up plenty of positive associations. And vulnerable. A terrifying but thrilling prospect. He thought. The easy airfreight. That was bound to go horribly wrong. It had all gone horribly wrong. Taking a core group of workers with him. The added value of being ‘‘Produce of Jamaica’’. At any moment. He’d worked hard. Which had excess land. The Jamaican dollar had been devalued. Their second attempt was more successful. His bosses had commissioned some market research in Europe. In the fields.Follow the Thing: Papaya 651 cum tropical holiday retreat. everyone else would. markets. unwilling to multi-task. In the USA and UK. The first crop failed. For others. Hawaii as we spoke. Exporters had been allowed to trade entirely in US dollars or sterling. Potential homes for those dangerous bugs. And he knew its export potential. But. Sprayed his trees with insecticides. dropped fruit. His bubble could burst. So he feared those virus-carrying bugs. So Jim took his chance. It showed the benefits of Jamaican production. taken in 1990. An incredibly successful gamble. A brave move. Especially to viral diseases. To supply the same. Already. expanding. Nobody there had the right experience. Borrowing money to set things up. So.

he blamed the weather. Like the rest of North America. See how they did things. expertise for others to grow the solo elsewhere in the tropics. Making it. In perfect condition. or a Tesco store. He’d make a loss. He wouldn’t get paid. Found in the Caribbean. too far from Hawaii. What a buzz! A little guy running a tiny farm in the Third World. Whatever time that was. When they missed a shipment.000 export quality fruits. So much was out of his control.652 Antipode surveillance. To boost exports to other wealthy markets. The flip side of this weather argument was being told that a shipment wasn’t up to standard. You can’t pick when it’s raining hard. was the one grown on Jim’s farm. Talk to the people involved. From places with Ó 2004 Editorial Board of Antipode. Predictions and promises kept to. But how could he be sure that he wasn’t being ripped off? If he’d seen his papaya onto the plane. Had they been cooked as the flight was delayed in Montego Bay? Had they been bruised when an airfreight container fell off its trailer at Gatwick? He didn’t know. There. . Where it was unpacked and checked against the ‘‘specifications’’. To see his fruit on their shelves. Because he had to produce what he’d promised. So he needed to visit these places. Setting the standard for the Japanese and US west coast markets. processed and packed in a couple of days. Also known as the ‘‘Solo’’. If those fruits didn’t measure up. Orders to be satisfied. as well as advantages. Over 10. Its only commercially grown papaya by 1936. So they had to work until they were done. Perhaps 1200 boxes in one shipment. But also selling the seeds. With Tony and those supermarket buyers who seemed to change jobs so regularly. Taken to Hawaii in 1911. Make personal contacts. He’d also pop into a Sainsbury’s. Europe. Through enormous efforts. Picked. Those orders had to be on those flights. He had to be seen to be in control. Or they’d all suffer. He saw ‘‘them’’ as a big wheel that he had to get rolling. There are difficulties. He couldn’t tell importers he had labour problems. knowledge. After reaching the pre-packers in the UK. Every day. a Safeway. in doing business with people you rarely see. Papaya Routes Figure 4: Papaya routes Carica papaya L.

To be careful. Or never ripening. So Jim paid for it. With fruits of the same size. But not for Jim. Trusted workers. Or else. Variable quality. Fruits picked a little earlier. fungicides. Philipps wasn’t the only ‘‘school’’ worker who made that journey. Taking tourists home. Philipps was the man Jim trusted to run things. His work overlapped with Jim’s. It also explained why Phillips was so loyal to Jim. Ten of 350 g. On direct. you fers go out dier. Who had learned their trade alongside him. Mi neva nuo se shi kaal ar mada. Like Jamaica. Seven of 500 g. During this move. On the other farm. illness and time off. Jim took a core team with him. Which has to do things ‘‘properly’’. On time. It’s a longer journey. There’s little or no commercial air traffic to/from its papaya growing regions. You fers come. drip irrigation. So shi kom an kaal ar mada. Ó 2004 Editorial Board of Antipode. connections and needs. Right at the centre of the farm. he took Phillips with him. He needed expensive hospital treatment. Washing. Se yuu and sombadi els gwaan fers. But had no medical insurance. When Jim moved to the ‘‘papaya school’’ farm. Jim also provided Philipps with somewhere to live. sprayers. They go by sea. Perhaps saving Philipps’ life. You wouldn’t know it. To get those fruits picked and boxes packed. but Philipps’ house was made out of a container. Everybody on the farm knew this. Checking. ‘‘… She shouted …‘You no raas white man. Training and supervising pickers and packers. A big problem. Making diasporic and business connections. water pumps. Wrapping in paper. The kind that goes on the back of a lorry. But he dealt with day-to-day decisions about job allocations. Trimming. insecticides. Philipps became seriously ill. The same happened when Jim left there to start his own farm. Not like Brazil which produces 90% of papayas sold in Europe. . discipline. Or thereabouts. A small house within shouting distance of his own. The Farm Foreman … mi se go out in di fiil an gwaan go wiid som graas. He’d worked alongside Jim for most of his working life. Accurate.Follow the Thing: Papaya 653 the right conditions. you black man!’…What did she mean by that?’’3 Laik se mi a tek op fa di wait man … Laik me a fait gens di blak wan dem fa di wait man … I no haad fi mek som a dem tink dat wie …‘‘What do you have to do?’’ Jus shuo likl muor powaz … dem se yu hav a wait man haat. They met on the sugar estate where Jim had his first job. He couldn’t get free treatment from the state. It explained why Jim paid his workers’ medical insurance.5 kg net—boxes. Weighing. fertilisers. Papayas which fill standard 4 kg gross—3. Possibly over-ripe on arrival. Modern tractors. On time. regular BA or Air Jamaica flights. Using ‘‘advanced’’ agro-technology and agrochemicals. In the hold of a ship. plastic crates. They’re flown to Miami or Gatwick. Twelve of 290 g. Shi se shi naa go go wild no graas.

Let them take a day off now and again to shop in the local town. And then move on. But only if you get caught stealing. You should be ashamed of yourself. When dealing with Jamaican farm workers. Embarrassed and humiliated. Where nobody really knows you. By doing things right under your nose. or running a scam. But always check that it’s genuine. There are rules here. Stopping work to watch someone trying to humiliate you. Even if she does this in the open space between the canteen and the packing house. Ask them how things are ‘‘at home’’. that you’re a black man. There. But that you must have a white man’s heart. Especially because of the rumours that could spread. At night. . Which is another reason why they need to be watched. Especially ‘‘female’’ ones. Workers living on the poverty line are sometimes tempted by opportunities to augment their pay. by the angry mother of a person you have suspended from work. Never lose your temper. Gesticulating wildly. Wait until she has had her say. For repeatedly disobeying orders. Whatever happens. Make use of the fact that almost everybody has family members who also work on the farm. and a much longer one for fighting. He didn’t like to socialise with the pickers and packers because this could undermine his authority. harangued. so you won’t be spotted by anyone who does. Relatively high wages and the free use of a pickup truck. A break. just stand there. Reminding you. An elderly woman screaming at the top of her voice. On both sides. So you need to find a place like a crowded town square. They could be up to something. which everyone knows about. Away from that place where you are constantly surveying others. A packing house whose sides are open. confront the person when they get back to work. Meaning that there’s a big audience. He’d learned that from Jim. Even if you’re getting ‘‘traced’’. Or for sickness. Watching someone trying to humiliate you. Especially if export quality papaya are flying around the packing house. That’s a serious offence.654 Antipode Phillips had a relatively good standard of living. and everyone else. Like the ones that got back to his wife about his affairs with various women on and beyond the farm. Ó 2004 Editorial Board of Antipode. Give them a ‘‘bly’’ sometimes. you can think things through. you have to be calm but authoritative. Watching how he conducted himself all those years. not a white man. He had to keep his distance. If not. would you get sacked. You get a short suspension for disobeying orders. When this happens. At work and at home. But trying to hide it. Right in your face. Another thing Philipps had learned from Jim was to never let the workers see when you’re rattled. Judging by the way you treat black people. Living on the farm means you’re constantly on duty. But also being surveyed yourself. But don’t necessarily suspend or sack them. Take it. See if what they say corresponds with what you were told. By getting behind the wheel of your pickup and driving out of there. But his was a lonely life.

Exchange rates weren’t the only monetary calculations shaping this trade. Undetected in 1992. When Jim sacked him. In 1992. They paid for boxes. A scam that came to light much later. ‘‘Twelves’’ (ie 12 · 290 g) for Asda. Papaya Payments Money. ‘‘Eights’’ and ‘‘sevens’’ for Marks and Spencer. catered to by a UK-based ‘‘pre-packer’’. The J$ was devalued. So. Tony paid Jim £4. in May 1992. Ó 2004 Editorial Board of Antipode. And workers had to cope with soaring prices for everyday goods imported into this export-oriented economy. stored and packed papaya differently for different supermarkets. The price paid by Jim’s US importer varied from week to week (from US$4. though. In 1990. After all those years of service. discrete thing. Their shoppers weren’t just paying 99 p for a nice. labour costs plummeted without pay cuts. Philipps had a scam going. This was handy for Jamaica’s ‘‘Registered Exporters’’. like Jim. Making extra money off papayas which weren’t export quality. Between the pound. and US dollar. Others wanted them re-packaged into haggis trays. But the supermarkets Tony supplied had different demands.Follow the Thing: Papaya 655 Show your emotions.5. They unpacked. Like paying workers.50 a box) and between boxes (depending on the size of the fruits). calm but authoritative foreman. fuel. re-graded. So that you can drive back to the farm and resume your role. wages. A box of carefully wrapped Jamaican air would have been only slightly cheaper in Asda. Exporters weighing up margins to be made selling to the US or UK. Closely guarded secrets. Including your boss. In prison.00 a box. ripened. was 90%. Jim’s farm workers didn’t enjoy this squeeze. there were big changes in exchange rates. Jim told me that Phillips was in the UK. All set out in supermarkets’ specifications. Allowing them to conduct their international business entirely in foreign currency. Jamaican dollar. wrapping. The cool. more or less scarring. Perhaps six-sevenths of the final shelf price. And trust. who ensured their workers paid taxes. A managed role. But his UK and US importers and retailers did. With longer or shorter shelf lives. ‘‘Nines’’ for Sainsbury’s. Converting to J$ only for domestic purposes. . dividends. The ones sold to local hoteliers. wastage and so much more. For drug smuggling. Most of the value was added to these fruits after they left Kingston or Montego Bay. Devaluation made Jamaican papayas more ‘‘competitive’’ on the world market. US$1 would get you J$8. Sort yourself out. Inflation. Exchange rates constantly monitored. Some were happy with the farm’s packing. In 1993. In 1999. Sainsbury’s or Marks and Spencer. The ‘‘bottom line’’. agrochemicals. Performed so that people don’t really know what you’re thinking. insurance. regardless.50 to US$7. Importers weighing up the option of buying from Jamaica or Brazil. it would get you J$21.

Phillips’. But two died very young. She couldn’t afford more. Jim told me. Nine in the evening. Her father had one outside. shuga and flowa an rais. The fear of being caught red handed. You cannot sit down far yu get faiyad. yu no. Unlike her mother. An a bai di fuudz an bai som biskit fa di kidz dem an milk an suop an raip bananaz. But spending more on her weekly trip to the market. Sometimes. was supposed to keep their minds and Ó 2004 Editorial Board of Antipode. when sat at his desk. especially in the packing house. Evri sekon dem kaal yu. Last week I went an I spend 350 dollar. ‘‘Do you find that you can’t get a nice rest in the packing house then?’’ Noo. her family’s electricity bill. A container. Given the standard shift pattern. Windows so high that. twenty odd years ago. Any time. ‘‘So Phillips keeps an eye on you?’’ Ye. But she still had to find the money for her kids’ school fees. Getting paid around 300 J per week. Where devaluation had vastly inflated prices. Let her go home early. Six and four. She did have better pay and benefits than other agricultural workers. To buy big items. on stilts. If anything. Pru had two daughters. Three pairs of eyes were constantly on the women working there. Or one in the morning. and more besides. . panelled. But he’d be able to see what they were doing. books and lunch money. ‘‘… How much did you get paid last week?’’ Laas wiik me get … trii hondred an fifti dala … ‘‘A hundred went to tax?’’ Ye … Tumara nou a goin tu maakit. with windows cut out of the sides. She saw few benefits from the taxes she had to pay. They’d all experienced a financial squeeze. brother and four sisters. Unless Philipps gave her a ‘‘bly’’. She worked with her mother and sister on the farm. or slacking off. However. Five feet up. Much helping to pay off those huge government debts. Pru saw her kids off to school early in the morning. Whatever time. Uuzwali hav nais taim duon dier. Tu moch presha. but was only able to come home when those boxes of papaya were packed. Like clothes. Like cane cutters. kiip aiz an yu all di wail…(It) haad werk. Dem doun waant yu get eni res … Dem se if yu waant res yu fi go houm. Pru was twenty-one and lived at home with her parents. Jim had given Pru and her colleagues above average pay rises. In the current financial climate. Jim was relocating his office to one end of the packing house. One of her sisters had had four. kawnmiil. and Mavis the packing house supervisor’s. Wi uuzwali get a res. They stayed at their grandmother’s in the evenings.656 Antipode The Papaya Packer Som a di taim ai prefa di fiil. But they were still well below inflation. the packing house workers wouldn’t see him. Her mum had had nine children. By simply standing up. She continued to put 40 J a week into a ‘‘partner’’ that gave back 600 J every 15 weeks. Or know if he was there. Things could have been worse. She found work tiring. sit doun an hav a nais res. Jim’s.

Individually. He thought. oozing from peduncles. Numbers of sevens. Face up. So many didn’t wear them. Gingerly. Which were passed to the tables behind. Some of the women had had to take time off. He felt he had no choice but to be strict with his workers. Marigolds. At their destination. A small sticker with the farm and importer’s name put on some. ‘‘weighers’’ selected those of the right shape. 9. ripeness and blemish for export. Causing abrasions. Those of the same size grouped together. Developed cracks and holes. Preferring to handle the papayas quickly. at the right time. The ‘‘pickers’’ tipped them into tanks of Benlate solution. Boxes out. Wages software. In transit. Possibly. And the management wouldn’t just ‘‘give away’’ new pairs. dead caterpillars. On kitchen scales. On fingertips and the sides of thumbs. Making notes in her book. She had family there. These gloves were uncomfortable to wear. Notes taken alongside the packing house stats. Double thickness. Mavis’ surveillance was more overt. Like the USA. Placed in the standard box. Gloves which were supposed to protect their skin from that latex. from the crease and divot at either end. For Miami. The ‘‘wrappers’’ trimmed the peduncles of export quality fruits to the quick with sharp knives. 10 and 12. The carrot to go with the stick. ready for export. Marked not in ounces or grammes. Jim had to get exactly the right fruits. Weighed them. Pru didn’t enjoy her job. She said she’d prefer to work elsewhere. They’d offered to pay her air Ó 2004 Editorial Board of Antipode. There. His importers. sizes and conditions arrived there in plastic crates. Wrapped each one in white paper. Data for Jim’s computer. But they wore out quickly. or anything else. but in segments marked 7. Gatwick. About who worked the hardest. Gloves you might use when washing dishes. 8. A fungicide. Making them worthless. Like a towel around your waist. Who was awarded 500 J.Follow the Thing: Papaya 657 bodies focused. in the right condition. Papayas of all shapes. In that packing house. and so on. freshly snapped and trimmed. retailers and consumers demanded it. . Rejects put in crates underneath for ‘‘Indian’’. Their blistered fingertips and thumbs hurting so much. Its spreadsheets. In that heat. Who collected them daily to deliver to local hotels. Finished off with a twist and a fold. The packing house workers were supposed to wear gloves to handle this fruit. So latex burns were common. Because they couldn’t handle anything. Peduncle end down. Crates in. She stood at the back of the packing house. Her observations helped him to identify the ‘‘worker of the month’’. Freshly picked. Scraped out dirt. And human skin. eights. These fruits were placed on the wrapping tables behind. The paper preventing fruits from rubbing against each other. Cut price. Quite an incentive. Did the best job. Helping ‘‘washers’’ to clean the fruits. Or else. That latex burned through rubber. And farm management programme. A constant topic of conversation.

The ‘‘geography’’! Often fetishised. Where they come from. Pure. . To keep him in his place. she wasn’t entitled to a visa. Most of the farm workers lived there. as they suspected he’d have to. Like spreading rumours that she’d said that Philipps had begged her to marry him. There.658 Antipode fare. The boredom. She argued with him. The rumours got to him. How you know when they’re ready to eat. For export. Linking tropical fruits to Ó 2004 Editorial Board of Antipode. But this hadn’t happened. worked far from home. What they taste like. lush. Acting like a white man from the slavery days. But. By foot. Just for a visit. Which could be carrying fresh papaya. pressure and stress made people do mischievous things to liven up the day. To travel in a passenger jet. like the vast majority of Jamaican people without thousands of dollars in the bank. They had much more freedom to travel than she ever would. Right: a goat4 Tropical fruits just fall from the trees. Always pressuring the black people. So few people in Ibrox. She’d wanted to become a seamstress. To put her up. It was a short. monotony. free journey. He confronted her about them. In the books. Yet there wasn’t a lovely village atmosphere at work. she had no real friends. Papaya Fetishism Figure 5: Left: papaya in a basket beneath a palm. Buses and taxis were expensive. as they knew they would. Who needs to know what these fruits look like. Which bits are edible. What you do with them. She could never afford a sewing machine or the right classes. Yours for 99 p. Down below. the village next to the farm where she lived. Or to travel to Montego Bay to buy or take them. nature. brochures and fliers addressing the concerns of the (imagined) ‘‘British’’ consumer.

Or on a woman’s head. Descendants of plantation workers often see them as perpetuating those unequal and exploitative relations between colonisers and colonised. The Papaya Consumer I’d love to buy lots of fruit and so on. Where you may have been on holiday. it’d go off … Mango is an acquired taste. If I have mango. But other crops are more sexual. Or spread out on some palm leaves. anyway. Tenderise your meat. Papaya can do sexual harm. So one visitor to the farm told me. Carmen Miranda style. But I don’t because I know I wouldn’t get enough time to eat it and it would go off … (And) you know everyone else had been picking them up and prodding them … I always have apples and nectarines when they’re in season. Under which the fruits can lie. apart from that. That’s a political fetish. And even if you know that the tropics really aren’t like that. They were keen to point that out. their shape and the way they hang from the tress brings to mind breasts or testicles. will do the same to you. they’re probably the only fruits I’ll go for. To the tropics. Unless I was making something like a sorbet … I don’t like to eat a lot of it in one go. Ó 2004 Editorial Board of Antipode. In a basket. promised to reduce praedial larceny. gentlemen. Cut out a slice and use your imagination. When he started growing papaya for export. Or so he hoped. I’d normally buy it … dried. Buying these fruits could help to take you there. Folklore has it that tethering a male goat to a papaya tree will make him impotent. like sugar. Through photographing them on crumpled maps of tropical oceans and islands.5 For others. But the imagery and magic associated with them is often quite different. too. With their standard issue palm trees. Planting one too near your house. Tropical crops have fetish-like powers in the places where they are grown. . And I always have lemons and limes. Like Frida Kahlo did in her 1943 painting The bride frightened at seeing life opened. The fear that it might. So I wouldn’t want to eat a whole mango in one go. In Jamaica. Takes you there. But. Men would think twice before breaking into a papaya farm to steal fruit from the trees. Magic! Even if only for a short time. And to representations of tropical paradises. Papayas are known as ‘‘lechosa’’ in some Spanish-speaking Caribbean islands.Follow the Thing: Papaya 659 Europeans’ imperial ‘‘adventures’’. Many. Doesn’t it? To somewhere ‘‘exotic’’. however. growing in places where their cultivation for export was initiated during colonial times. and strawberries when they’re in season. Purely for the fact (that) … if I bought a mango. and melons if they’re good value for money. That’s street slang for female genitalia. That’s the idea. Although it hadn’t happened to any of the men who worked on the farm. though. Papaya can ‘‘cut your nature’’.

6 25. They looked. Living in a North London flat. awful! And that Sainsbury’s lobster didn’t taste anything like the one she’d eaten in New England. . Art school and a Textile Design degree under her belt. For cooking. Chosen from that tank. and tasted. Things she’d seen on the TV. Bruised. Collections. Frustrating for those growing and shipping it with such care. anyway. British food had internationalised. Off. Returning them to the shelves. Waste. Taking her time. By shoppers. In cookbooks. Getting inspiration. Because it was likely to be damaged. But value fresh produce. Fresh as you like. For one ‘‘big shop’’. Store it in fridges. But shop-bought food was nothing like the ‘‘real thing’’. Because of busy lifestyles. Bringing back cookery books. Stuffed into a car boot. Taking all week to write her list. Looking up Green Thai Prawns in her Delia Smith cookbook. Trips to restaurants made Emma want to travel more. AB ones. Designing fabrics. And had flexible hours. Ready-made or from scratch. ‘‘Better educated’’. Colours. Textures. £3 for ‘‘six little round things’’. Magazines. And thinking about things she’d like to buy. Like Emma. But she’d just been to her local Afghan restaurant. She loved that. Abraded. Her grandmother wouldn’t even consider eating pasta. Looking around. She couldn’t resist ‘‘offers’’. To experience the ‘‘real thing’’. Squeezing them. Perhaps. ‘‘AB’’ consumers. She shopped when Sainsbury’s was quiet.660 Antipode Nine percent of British consumers buy ‘‘exotic’’ fruits. In her lifetime. Unloaded at the checkout. Cooked/killed for her. Her boyfriend. A quick meal for herself. or around. Past their sell-by dates. Read cookbooks. In bags swinging against one another. Expensive or unusual food with money off. Or putting them into their trolleys to be further damaged. And work. Emma worked four days a week. in particular. Like Emma. She sometimes wrote her list in the order she’d encounter things. If it looked nice. Clean. She could get what she needed to approximate them at home. Making their purchase worth the risk. Handling them. Placed back in the trolley. Seeing how ripe they are. first into the trolley. And reunite much of it in binbags. She enjoyed food. Professionals. Or an evening in with Ed. The taste of fajitas. Wealthier people. Have little time or energy to prepare food. Like those Sainsbury’s ready-made Thai fish cakes. A big meal for friends. So called. Travelling to the Far East had given her a taste for Thai and Indonesian food. Punctured. scanned and packed into bags. Single. Perhaps unlikely to be eaten when they get home. With a friend who’d just returned from Afghanistan. And ingredients. Display it in bowls. Wherever. Ó 2004 Editorial Board of Antipode. Placed on. Noting what she’d run out of. And/or carried home. Buy it. Ambling up the aisles. Patterns. People who eat a lot of ready meals. There and then. In store. Fresh produce. By other goods. home and food magazines. But shopping systematically. Eating out. them. chilli and guacamole drawing her to Mexico.

Saving for a holiday. Making little baskets. Horrible in their ‘‘actual’’ form. The ones people would buy couldn’t be grown without them. Purchased but not consumed. do you?’’ And she’d reply. All day. Never eating an ‘‘actual egg’’. In the sun. A feel also gained from her favourite TV cookery shows. Or too big for one person. Popping out. They’d say. With a vegetable garden. Eating them only when scrambled. She had ‘‘a thing about chickens’’. Not buying what she’d never get round to eating. Some of it. not at all’’. aged 7. Become farmers. Teasing her about being ‘‘a vegetarian’’. In 1992. She couldn’t help it. From her local Tesco Express. She’d seen chickens running around one day. The biggest. Picking their own. A problem Emma recognised. About how they were grown. But still piling it into those trolleys. Picking strawberries. Knowing that wasn’t true. Picking strawberries had made her ‘‘very careful and aware … of what I buy now’’. home-cooked food. Destined for the same supermarkets as Pru’s papayas. And their eggs. A summer job. She’d also grown up on a pig farm. For reasons she couldn’t quite explain. The right fruit from the right parts of the farm. You had to lie to sell them. In hope as much as expectation. perhaps. ‘‘No. And strawberries. She said. she ‘‘still got that feel’’. Better than she could. While she was at art school and university. Chickens and eggs. Not buying fresh produce when she was going away for the weekend. Hating the taste and texture. Coated Ó 2004 Editorial Board of Antipode. ‘‘You don’t put any pesticides and sprays on it. And visit Australia. Her brothers had stayed at home. Once they’d gone. Picking up ‘‘bits and bobs’’. deli. Weighing and selling fruits. In a field. . She stopped eating them. Picking with everybody else from 7 to 9 am. Unlike Pru. Rick Stein cooked crabs on an Australian beach. anyway. too. Working on her tan. Like mangoes. Picked by members of the public. No longer ‘‘food’’. That made a difference. So she wanted to eat crab. Because it was too fussy. Believing she could experience faraway cultures. Earning money to pay off debts. Like her Mum made. Too specialist. She valued fresh. Right or wrong. Or an ingredient. Where chefs went to places where dishes and/or ingredients originated. Like the ‘‘Vietnamese in those hats and things’’. or greengrocer. Through magazines. But not chicken.Follow the Thing: Papaya 661 Decomposing. ones for the top layer of each standard box. She’d sit in her deck chair. She left much of her produce buying to ‘‘little shops’’. Thinking about where her food came from. And on her plate the next. Several times a week. What people feel they ought to eat not matching what they can and do eat. she’d enjoyed it. Emma often imagined where her food came from. The mere mention of the meat provoking a vision. ‘‘a chicken just popping up in my head’’. They kept things fresh. Getting a picture in her mind. She had to answer their questions. Ideally at the same time. Like Pru. most attractive. Emma worked on a fruit farm.

In countless ways. But she didn’t buy fresh papayas from that Sainsbury’s or that Tesco Express. Indigestion remedies. Probably. Her dad insisted she wash her fresh produce when she got it home from the shops. cut the flesh into strips. One per person. Another part of this trade. Or anyone else. By any means. Like any thing you could try to follow. Its nature far from pure. So why’s she in this paper? Papaya Consumption Figure 6: Left: in the flesh. Commercially farmed. though. Even if you’ve never eaten one. Because they’re not discrete things. Exactly! Part of that recommended daily intake. Face-lift treatments. Because of its unique protein-digesting enzymes. Toothpaste. potassium and folic acid. Solo production for solo consumption. Or simple. She didn’t. Shrinkresistant woollen fabrics. and a digestive aid. A taste of the tropics. Canned meats. Attempts to Ó 2004 Editorial Board of Antipode. That poverty and exploitation. More complex commodities. This one rich in vitamins A and C. Middle: clear beer. low in calories. . Perhaps. Papayas are impossible to avoid. Take it home. Leather goods. Or what they talked about. From that white latex you wouldn’t want to drip onto your skin. Delicious. Five fruits a day. Beer clarification. eat them. And the ‘‘origins’’ she imagined and spoke about never included people like Pru or Phillips. Contact lens cleaning materials. cut it in half for breakfast. Vegetarian cheese. sprinkle some lime juice over them.662 Antipode with agrochemicals that were bad for her health. Exchange it for cash. Unravelling and becoming more entangled in the process. But all containing papain. slice off the skin. Commercially extracted. scoop out the seeds. Right: shrink-resistant wool7 A papaya consumer is supposed to pick the fruit fresh off the supermarket shelf. An invisible part of countless people’s lives. And follow the instructions: ripen it. From an unripe papaya’s peduncle. But that’s not all. Chewing gum. In East Africa and Sri Lanka. Some much more likely to be part of Emma’s weekly shopping than papaya. Slipped disc operations.

A short version has recently been published in Harrison.baobabs.jpg. Discuss.uk/ people/index.co. see the story of ‘‘Papaya Joe’’ at http://www. 2 Left photo sourcehttp://www.bham.ac. for their diverse responses and suggestions. Ó 2004 Editorial Board of Antipode. and to Jane Wills and Ros Whitehead for their encouragement and patience. Thanks to them for allowing me to use this here.com/fruitiers. Peter Jackson.exportjamaica. right photo source http://www.guardian. .ac. Unless indicated in these endnotes.asp? ID=118 1 For a more detailed step-by-step photographic journey of a papaya’s life from seed to box. Endnotes * For an explanation of why the author refers to himself in this way.uk/ people/index.jpg (accessed 19 May 2004). Pile and Thrift (Cook 2004) and a ‘‘director’s cut’’ (including an expanded bibliography.com/paintings/frida_kahlo/fk028.coachhousecrookham. Like.honmex. Thanks must also go to the ESRC (for a PhD studentship and through the Eating Places project [ref R000236404]). Mark Thorpe. Michelle Harrison. 3 Words not in italics are the author’s. and Birmingham University’s Science Faculty Research Fund for financing this project. see Ian Cook et al (in press) ‘‘Positionality/Situated Knowledge’’ in David Atkinson. and to the Geography Departments at the Universities of Sheffield.artfibers.jpg. used with kind permission. London: IB Tauris. David Sibley and Neil Washbourne (eds) Cultural Geography: a critical dictionary of key ideas.bham.asp?ID=118. Thanks to these audiences and editors. and a discussion on the politics in/ of its writing style) is available online via http://www. Acknowledgments Versions of this paper were presented at the 2002 AAG conference in Los Angeles.gees. used with kind permission 5 See http://www.com/Chunky_Gauge/ 60. 6 ‘‘Emma’’ was interviewed in 1997 by Mark Thorpe as part of the Eating Places project undertaken with Phil Crang.org/papaya/story1. what can any ‘‘radical’’ and/or ‘‘sustainable’’ politics of consumption realistically involve? If things are so. used with kind permission. 7 Middle photo source http://image. And the research participants. Celia Blake and Cath the Red are first on my ‘et al’ list. A draft copy is available at http://www. Birmingham and Coventry.com/ch_gall/goat.14.htm.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/ 2000/04/10/beer.gees.jpg. 4 Right picture source http://www.htm (accessed 12 March 2004). All proper names have been changed in an attempt to preserve anonymity. and to the Antipode referees. all unattributed photographs are either the author’s own or the copyright owner is now out of business.Follow the Thing: Papaya 663 de-fetishise commodities raise tricky but important questions. Phil Crang. UW Lampeter’s Geography Department. Kevin Burkhill drew an excellent map.

London: Reaktion Cook I and Crang P (1996) Commodity systems.ac. S Pile and N Thrift (eds) Patterned Ground: Ecologies of Culture and Nature (pp 124–126). http://www.664 Antipode References Cook I (2004) Trade. In S Harrison.gees. Inc? Antipode 34(4):655–661 Harvey D (1990) Between space and time: Reflections on the geographical imagination. documentary filmmaking and new geographies of food: Amos Gitai’s Ananas’. Association of American Geographers 80(3):418–434 Waterstone M (2002) A radical journal of geography or a journal of radical geography? Antipode 34(4):662–666 Ó 2004 Editorial Board of Antipode.htm.uk/downloads/ gesdraftpapers/iancook-pineapple. . Annals.bham. (last accessed 12 March 2004) Hague E (2002) Antipode.

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