“The answer lies in Mother Nature.” That is the philosophy of Esmeralda Farms — one of largest importers of cut flowers to the U.S. — says Peter Ullrich, chairman of the Miami-based company. It is this idea that has guided their Ecuadorian operations through a transformation that has earned them VeriFlora certification.
Since beginning to transition its farms, the Esmeralda Farm group has cut its use of conventional pesticides by 40 percent and its conventional fertilizer use by 50 percent. Using biological controls and organic fertilizers has helped decrease reliance on more harmful chemicals. The natural ingredients, according to Ulrich, are not only better for the environment, but also help the plants grow better.
Plants are not the only ones benefiting from the transition. Employees have seen improved working conditions, including less exposure to harmful chemicals. Workers also have access to permanent doctors available on the farms and provided daycare for children. “Esmeralda Farms’ practices reflect a vision of sustainability that actively embraces and engages the workers,” said Roberto Boada, a VeriFlora certification manager.
Energy savings, resource conservation, wildlife preservation and enhancement and water quality protection are other criteria considered through the VeriFlora certification process. Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) evaluated Esmeralda’s accomplishments in these areas and determined the company meets “exceptional standards of excellence.”
To learn more about Esmeralda Farms visit www.esmeraldafarms.com . To find out more about VeriFlora certification, visit www.scscertified.com .