Whole Story

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Giving Flowers That Give Back

At our office, we talk about flowers all year long, but this time of year it’s hard to miss all of the excitement reminding us that there is a holiday right around the corner. Mother’s Day and flowers absolutely go hand in hand! As we were gearing up for Mother’s Day this year, I was part of a Whole Foods Market team who traveled to Colombia to visit one of the flower farms we partner with. The farm grows many of our Whole Trade Guarantee flowers including two of our favorites, gerbera daisies and mixed bouquets. These flowers have attributes far beyond their beauty. The Whole Trade Guarantee is our commitment to ethical trade, the environment and the highest quality, with each purchase supporting positive impact in the community that produces the flowers. Wouldn’t that make any mom’s day? I took my camera along so I could share a few highlights from the trip. Enjoy! We walked many of the greenhouses on the farm (gerbera daisies pictured below). These flowers are in full bloom when they are cut, which makes for quite a show in the greenhouses! We visited post harvest, where the cut flowers are sized, bunched and packaged.  Here are just a few of the faces behind our Whole Trade bouquets. We visited the farm’s Foundation, which supports the farm’s workers and their families with education, housing and health programs. In one of the classrooms, the students were learning about shopping at a grocery stores as a way to teach math (how perfect was that for our visit?). Our trip was focused on the flowers, but we were thrilled to find out that the Foundation’s 10-year anniversary celebration was happening while we were there. Each purchase of Whole Trade flowers directly supports the Foundation and as the Whole Trade flower program has grown, so has the support of the Foundation. We knew that the program’s impact was positive but nothing could have prepared us for the experience we had.  We met 100 workers at the celebration who had all benefited directly from the Whole Trade flower program’s support of the Foundation. 100 workers all thanking Whole Foods Market and our shoppers for providing their families with opportunities they otherwise would not have had. Wow! It was really an amazing day. And even more good news! We visited some other farms in Colombia that grow additional varieties of flowers, all Rainforest Alliance or Fair Trade certified. Keep an eye out for some exciting new Whole Trade flowers in the next few months. Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

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keith says …

are your flowers and plants chemical free, if not they should not be smelled

Maria says …

It is not just about buying and selling flowers... is about the story and the people behind it.

Belinda Gross says …

This is so cool and beautiful. How they teach math with real life examples and problems. How they are trying to save they earth, but make it beautiful.

Julie Larson says …

Thank you for sharing this!! Its amazing to see the great things about Colombia (My Country) and its people. Thank you for supporting our people!!!!

Sue says …

Pardon my ignorance but is there a reason these flower farms are not here in the United States? Is it the climate? Does Whole Foods support any products made here in Our Country? The reason I bring this up is that so many Americans are without Jobs(losing their homes, etc.)and while helping foreign countries is noble so is helping Our Own People!!

paig292 says …

@Sue Yes, we do buy flowers from farms all across the United States. Here's an earlier post we did about our Daffodil growers http://blog.wholefoodsmarket.com/2010/03/a-perfect-proportion-of-daffodils/ and tune in next Tuesday for a post about our U.S. peonies growers.