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June 27 2022

Think Global, Buy Local Flowers

Tags: Farmers

Supply chain issues are widespread due to the pandemic. Flower imports are no exception. Additionally, a new problem is further disrupting the flower supply in the US - political protest in Ecuador.

Ecuador accounts for 10% of the world's flower exports with over $2 million shipped every day. Flower exports have been cut in half since protests began in mid June 2022.

Indigenous Ecuadorians have been "warming the streets" according to Eduardo Letort, CEO of Hoja Verde and President of Cayambe Association of Floraculture, in advance of elections next year. In a conversation on The Flower Podcast Letort described his experience trying to export flowers from Ecuador.

Protestors have blocked access to the airport and seized flower deliveries in their effort to lower gas prices, obtain assistance for small farms, and limit oil mining expansion, among other demands. Protestors have also been recruiting workers directly on the farms.

Letort has had to close operations when his workers leave to protest or to avoid potential violence. He has also resorted to paying bribes to pass blockades and delivering flowers to the airport by foot off-road and at night .

Wholesalers and florists in the US are noticing the disruption. Delays for orders and substitutions of varieties are increasingly common. Locally grown flowers have been one source to fill the need. Our growers have seen an increase in demand during the pandemic and again now with this additional supply disruption.

Flowers are an emotional and political product. Amy Stewart documented "the absurd arrangement" of the global flower market in her influential book, Flower Confidential. It is, for us, a maddening "intersection of nature and technology, of sentiment and commerce" and also climate concerns.

Buy local flowers! Viva Ecuador!


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