Will Colombians Reach A Peace Deal with the FARC?

Rejected in October, New Efforts Towards Peace Emerge

The peaceful transition of presidential power in the United States has certainly been a focus of the media since the Nov. 8 elections.

Mario Tama/Getty Images Presidential guard soldiers keep watch during the referendum on a peace accord to end the five-decade-long guerrilla war between the FARC and the state on Sunday in Bogota, Colombia. Colombian voters rejected the peace deal in a very close vote.

Mario Tama/Getty Images Presidential guard soldiers keep watch during the referendum on a peace accord to end the five-decade-long guerrilla war between the FARC and the state on Sunday in Bogota, Colombia. Colombian voters rejected the peace deal in a very close vote.

However, in Colombia, they are still looking to establish peace from a 52 year civil war with FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) leftist rebels.

A peace agreement, brokered by Colombian President Juan Manual Santos, was recently rejected by a majority of Colombian voters in October.

This peace deal isn’t completely dead and with the majority of cut flowers sold in the U.S. coming from Colombia, it’s something for the U.S. floral industry to watch.

I had a chance to speak to a couple of my Colombian colleagues during this year’s Wholesale Florist & Floral Supply Association (WFFSA) convention in Miami and they shared how sharply divided their country is over any peace deal with the FARC.

While our country goes through the process of a changing administration, the issues and ideas of living in “peace” is certainly relative.

What I’m Reading:

How Do You Raise the Tide?

You’ve heard the phrase, “a rising tide lifts all boats,” right?

The adage was made popular by President John F. Kennedy  who used the phrase in 1963 at the dedication of Greers Ferry Dam in Arkansas, to describe how the state’s improving economy helps the country’s overall economy. It’s a way of saying that improving economic market conditions are good for everyone involved.

Rising Tide

Here is an

She Is Going To Change Valentine’s Day Forever

Click to contribute to Debra's Slow Flowers campaign.

Click to contribute to Debra’s Slow Flowers campaign.

…and Mother’s Day.

…and birthdays.

…and graduations.

…and weddings…

If Slow Flowers author Debra Prinzing’s successful in her efforts, all of these floral related holidays and life events will take on new meaning for people’s gift giving in the future.  If Debra Prinzing’s successful she’ll transform the landscape of the floral industry we know today, connecting local florists who are selling local flowers with consumers who care.  If Debra Prinzing’s successful she will be the catalyst this country needs to bring flower farming back to the United States, so that the millions of flowers that are purchased each year are coming from local family flower farms, growing in our own backyard.

How does she plan to do all of that?

3 Advocates of the American Grown Flowers Movement You Should Know

One of the primary objectives of the California Cut Flower Commission has been and continues to be to promote the virtues and values of California Grown flowers.  However, in a country where, over the course of the past 30 years, approximately 80% of the flowers being sold in the U.S. are now being imported from places like Colombia and Ecuador, the task of educating a consuming public as to the benefits of buying locally grown blooms seemed nearly impossible just 3 years ago.

Where your flowers come from matters. Do you know a champion for locally grown flowers? Let me know.

However, as they say, the one thing you can always count on is change.

With the growing popularity of farmers markets through out the country, U.S. consumer food safety concerns rising, the Slow Food movement and increasing demand for Made in America products, it now appears that

[Video] Why “CA Grown” Matters

If there were to be a renaissance in the flower industry, it would be to bring back American grown flowers.

A recent nationwide survey of 1,000 consumers found that 74% of people who bought flowers did not know where the flowers they purchased were grown.

Yet, in that same nationwide survey, we learned that 58% of consumers would prefer to buy CA Grown flowers over those imported, if given a choice. So, apparently where flowers come from does matter to a majority of people.

Farm to Fork? How About Field to Vase.

It seems like everyone is talking “Farm to Fork,” these days.  Don’t you agree?

A great image from a recent article by Trey Shelton, “Could Foodies Save American Flower Growers?

Having recently moved to Sacramento, I have found myself smack dab in the middle of the “Farm to Fork” Capital of America.  And recently I read that Whole Foods is planning on growing a rooftop crop above one of their new stores near Boston. Yes, the produce is expected to be grown on their roof and sold in their store

It seems that the fervor for all things local and the support for family farmers is at an all time high.

So what about flowers?

“It’s only been 20 years…”

On Wednesday last week, I had the opportunity to speak to a class of almost 200 students at UC Davis.  Dr. Heiner Lieth invited me to speak to his class regarding flower farming in California.

My “lecture,” title “Reclaiming the American Cut Flower Industry,” inspired some good discussion surrounding the topic about where America’s flowers come from.

Click on the image to see a short Vine video of my time at UC Davis.

While none of the class could tell me where the flowers they purchased on Mother’s Day were grown, by the end of the talk a super majority of them said they’d be buying CA Grown the next time they are buying flowers.

In addition, there were some good questions from the students about the information I presented.  One student in the class even made the case that the federal trade policy goals for drug eradication from Colombia simply has not had enough time to be realized.  She suggested that 20 years is just not enough time to expect those kind or results.