Mom, I'm Home!
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The Background: I live close to the the U.S. point of entry for every Dole banana sold west of the Rockies. Each month, 33 million bananas enter the U.S. through the port by my house and leave on trucks, destined for thousands of destinations.

Dole’s production and distribution of bananas is a good metaphor for raising children. The millions of bananas in the containers were first nurtured on trees they called home by farmers who were invested in their survival. Then, they tested out new waters on the boat ride from Central America. By the time the bananas make it to the U.S., they have transformed from an immature green to a nearly-ripe yellow. They are ready to head out in a dizzying number of directions, just like all the adults around my age that are starting families and trying to build lives of our own.

The path of a banana from tree to table remains relatively unchanged over the years, but the economy has made following the traditional life progression a lot harder for the people of my generation. No matter how well our parents prepared us to enter the world, there simply is not enough work to go around. For three years, unemployment has topped 8 percent, which is the longest period of high unemployment in our country since the Great Depression.

Without a paycheck, many in my generation find it difficult to support themselves. Faced with this situation, 5.9 million Americans between the ages of 24 and 35 have decided that their best option is to move back home. That is the highest number of adult children living with their parents ever recorded in the United States.

The Project: What would it look like if bananas could move back home?

For me, humor has always been a useful way to explore the complexities of complicated issues. Reading the chilling ‘5.9 million adults now live at home’ statistic got me thinking about absurd gestures that could illustrate how unnatural the consequences of the bad economy have been on the parents and young adults who can now call each other “roommate.”

Every photo or text that I receive through this site will be posted on this site, and a printed photo or bit of text from each submission will be attached to a Dole banana. The personalized bananas will be piled with others (590 in total, a substantial and symbolic number) and floated back out to the Dole boat they once called home. Then, we will see if their mother ship chooses to take them back or let them drown.