Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Colombian Flowers

When you fly into Bogota, you see miles and miles of greenhouses, which are filled with flowers. Colombia is the second largest flower exporter in the world. Sixty percent of all flowers sold in the US are from Colombia, and US citizens spend $18 billion per year on flowers.*

Of course, along with flower production comes labor rights violations, issues related to pesticide use, health problems, long work hours, and lack of permanent employment for flower workers. There is a movement here to improve working conditions and stop the exploitation of workers in the flower industry.

We have enjoyed looking at the flowers, both in the wild, at the Arboretum, and at the market. Of course here they are incredibly cheap. One friend who was married here told us she had bountiful flowers at her wedding and it cost her $20.

So, next time you buy flowers in the US, think about the Colombian workers here that grew them, and also the color that these flowers add to an otherwise pretty grey and dreary life here in Colombia. Say a prayer of gratitude that we have the sight to see this beauty amidst such poverty and desperate work life situations.

(statistics and other scenarios on this post come from the Witness for Peace Fact Sheet on flowers. For more info, visit www.witnessforpeace.org)

Some of these pictures were taken by Lydia and Abby when they went to the Arboretum with their babysitter Paula.


  1. I just posted the tree flower on my desktop. Its beautiful!

  2. Emptiness is bound to bloom, like hundreds of grasses blossoming.

    Elhel Dogan

  3. Oh! I didn't know that Colombia is the second largest flower exporter in the world. Thank you for posting this. Pretty pictures! we have some of those flowers here in Indonesia, they are the same. In fact, i have the plants which has the leaf like banana leaf in front of my house :)

  4. There is a small movement here for flower CSAs and flower sellers at markets exactly for this reason. Cotton and flowers are some of the worst (irresponsible) uses of pesticides, AND pesticides on workers. So that's what we should be buying organic!
    This is so exotic. Strange, to be in a new bio-region, especially after just spending time in the UP.