Sugar and Other Sweeteners
Sugar cane, Saccharum, is comprised of a number of species of tall perennial grasses native to the tropical regions of South and Southeast Asia. Different species originated in different regions; S. barberi came from India and S. edule and S. officinarum came from Papua New Guinea. All sugar cane species can and do interbreed; the commercial cultivars now used are complex hybrids.
Sugar cane looks similar to some varieties of bamboo. The stalks are thick, jointed and fibrous, and grow to twenty feet in height. While the canes were traditionally grown from seeds
Sugar, Coffee, Chocolate Vanilla: the backbone of the tropical foods economy. Four products that most of us use daily. But, do you know where your morning coffee is grown, or the conditions under which it’s grown? What about that chocolate bar you had yesterday afternoon? Who processed the sugar you sprinkled over your cereal? Is the vanilla in your ice cream natural or synthetic?
The truth is, few of us know much about where these food staples are grown, or whether the people who grow them earn enough to feed their families, have schooling available for their children, or have access to basic medical care.
Consider this: Coffee and chocolate traditionally grew in the