Cut Flower Growers Earn VeriFlora Certification

November 21, 2008 - 11:54

Four prominent cut flower growers in Ecuador — Valleflor, Sande Ecuador, SunRite Farms and Flower Village — as well as California-based Farmers’ West Flowers & Bouquets have recently earned VeriFlora Certification.

The VeriFlora Certified Sustainably Grown label means these companies met the rigorous requirements set forth by the VeriFlora certification program, the sustainability benchmark for cut flowers and potted plants sold in the North American market.

Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) administers the program.

Valleflor, a 55-acre farm in Puembo, Ecuador, produces summer varieties such as phlox, limonium, delphinium, bouvardia and veronica. James Andrade Mena, general manager, was motivated to seek VeriFlora certification as a way of demonstrating the farm’s commitment to its people and the environment. “We want to show the marketplace that we have a high quality product,” Mena said.

Sande Ecuador breeds and produces Zantedeschia year round, and is a subsidiary of the Sandegroup, with farms in Holland, Kenya and Ecuador. Certification Coordinator Victoria Alomía said the company “sought VeriFlora certification in response to its growing awareness among floral buyers in North America. Our customers expect quality, and VeriFlora gave us a way to benchmark our quality practices.”

SunRite Farms earned certification on all 143 acres of greenhouse roses. The company improves the lives of its 800 employees by providing onsite medical care, computer skills and classes for children. Committed to reducing its carbon footprint, SunRite installed a gravity-based irrigation system that does not require an electric pump. The farm also invested heavily in a two-tier water purification system for both irrigation and drinking water.

“The VeriFlora certification process helped us make improvements in several different aspects of sustainability,” said Jose Miguel Orska, commercial manager for SunRite. “It also helped us refine our quality control procedures.”

Flower Village boasts 38 acres of roses, limonium, statice and eringium. The entire farm is surrounded by a fence of cypress trees, which creates a wind barrier and helps reduce soil erosion, thereby reducing the farm’s environmental impact. Longtime practitioners of integrated pest management, Flower Village has an onsite laboratory where it identifies and cultivates new biological controls. “We are committed to not only practicing sustainability, but also contributing to the knowledge about sustainable floriculture practices,” said General Manager Ricardo Delgado.

Farmers’ West Flowers & Bouquets, a premier grower and shipper of fresh cut flowers, greens and bouquets, has four growing locations on the Central Coast of California with over 1.5 million square feet of cut flower production.

The certification confirms that Farmers’ West meets VeriFlora’s high standards for environmental sustainability, social responsibility and product quality.

“Farmers’ West promotes sustainable agriculture not only for the environment today, but for the future of our children and the world we will leave behind,” said Wilja Happé, company owner. “As a grower and as a mother, it is important to me that Farmers’ West continues to stand at the forefront of making this world a greener place. I also appreciate that the VeriFlora certification process emphasizes product quality and social responsibility as well as environmental sustainability.”

For more information about VeriFlora and SCS, visit www.veriflora.com or call (510) 452-8000.

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