One of the reasons I am so passionate about Colombian grown flowers - besides the incredible quality of the flowers - is the caring practices of the farms. From all of the flower farms I have visited in the world, Colombian farms definitely win in terms of investing in their people as well as in the environment.
Photo: one of the fields at Jaroma Roses
Happy People, Happy Product
It always feels to me like I am visiting a family rather than a company. The love for the people drips through to the care for the products. Offering free child daycare and many other secondary benefits for the whole family are no exceptions. And who can blame the owners? They’ve cracked the code: happy employees mean better productivity and quality out in the field.
A Few Examples
Watching the employees work is what I love to do most during my visits as the way they act says so much about the company culture and way of management. I will never forget the smiling faces and enthusiastic employees at Jaroma Roses.
Photo: water tank at Bicco Farms
Many do something extra for the environment like recycling material or even sacrifice valuable land to build a water tank that recycles rainwater as Bicco Farms has done. This grower recycles as much as they can such as plastic, cardboard, and waste. They even go as far as trying to push sea freight rather than shipping by air and they use organic products to control pests rather than chemicals.
And what a great welcome did I receive back in March from Flores Silvestres. They are Rainforest and Global GAP members and are truly amazing people.
Photo: the dedicated people from Silvestres and me
All well-established Colombian growers are Rainforest Alliance or Global G.A.P certified (or even both). A Rainforest Alliance Certified farm is one that complies with 10 standards set in place by the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN). These standards include ecosystem conservation, wildlife protection, and fair treatment, and good working conditions for workers. Rainforest certification has overlapping aspects with Global G.A.P but is wider and the social conditions - like providing decent and safe working conditions for employees - are more emphasized.
Global G.A.P is a farm (not limited to flowers) assurance program, translating consumer requirements into Good Agricultural Practice. This certification provides a third-party independent evaluation of growers' practices. It requires farms to take care of the environment as well as employees. Below a really nice video made by Global G.A.P; worth a watch!
After years of working in the flower industry in the Netherlands, I am currently traveling through Central and South America. By means of online marketing and writing, I am passionately building a bridge between Latin America and Europe.