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“Therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.” Rom. 13:10

Eco-Palms and your church

Your role in supporting social and environmental justice

a woman bundling palm fronds

Cooperatives provide opportunities for women and men to work, learn leadership skills and take part in decision-making that affects not only the success of their business but the community as a whole. Photo courtesy of Lutheran World Relief.

More than 300 million palm fronds are harvested each year for U.S. consumption alone — most of them for Palm Sunday, but also for floral displays for church-related events. Your congregation&rsqo;s commitment to purchase eco-palms plays an important role in protecting forests, local jobs and sustainable livelihoods in the harvesting communities.

Eco-palms are purchased directly from the communities at five to six times the normal payment per frond. Families are able to depend on a more stable source of income and benefit from additional value-added processing that takes place within the community.

Purchasing eco-palms for your congregation helps ensure a market for the palms, which in turn means communities can depend on fair and stable wages and the forests can be protected.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is partnering with Lutheran World Relief, Catholic Relief Services and the University of Minnesota to help build support in the United States for eco-palms by introducing congregations to this social and environmental justice project. The University of Minnesota Center for Integrated Natural Resources and Agricultural Management has teamed up with the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation to develop a certification program for palms that will ensure the palm harvesters are earning a fair income for their labor and the palms are being harvested in an environmentally sustainable way.

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