Sunday, January 23, 2011

Colombian flowers

Really interesting, and I think even-handed, article in The Smithsonian about the flower industry in Colombia, which is huge (and, if the article is accurate, largely initiated in the late 1960s by an American horticulture grad student).  Basically, conditions are not great but have been improving a lot.  The practical lesson is that you should look for flowers that are certified, which means they were grown with labor protections and in an environmentally sustainable manner.


The global marketplace will always demand cheaper flowers, and Colombian farms must compete with growers in other nations, including neighboring Ecuador and rising flower power Kenya. Increasingly, though, there’s another factor flower growers must consider: independent flower certification programs, including Fair Trade flowers, VeriFlora and the Rainforest Alliance, which are working to certify farms in Colombia.
Such programs have been key to Colombia’s business in Europe, where customers pay close attention to the source of their flowers. The U.S. trade in certified flowers is tiny by comparison—my Mother’s Day bouquet bore no certification notice—but growing. “Sustainability is an attribute that consumers are seeking,” says Linda Brown, creator of the certification standards for VeriFlora, which is based in Emeryville, California. “When you are looking 10 to 20 years out, sustainability will become the way that people do business.”

3 comments:

Vicente Duque 12:20 PM  

Thanks for Post Mr Weeks

The study of Trade, Commerce, Economics, Economic Development, etc .... is very useful and makes nations closer and people will understand each other.

I wish that people pay more attention to these matters of Economy, Statistics, Demography, Numbers and the logic of trade.

Continue the Good Work. I always read your blog, every day.

Vicente

Anna Clark,  11:12 AM  

To meet the growing consumer demand for sustainably produced flowers, more and more flower farms are working to become Rainforest Alliance Certified. Rainforest Alliance certification helps to arrest many of the negative social and environmental impacts of flower farming. Certified farms adopt farming methods that protect forests, soils and waterways and minimize the use of agrochemicals, while farm workers enjoy decent wages, dignified housing, occupational health and safety training, and education and healthcare for their families. There are now twenty Rainforest Alliance Certified farms in Colombia, and an additional twenty five across Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico and Kenya. Shoppers can find Rainforest Alliance Certified blooms at Whole Foods, Costco or FTD.com.

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