Beyond Eco-Palms– One Rainforest Helping Another

written by Victoria Southworth, Inside Sales Representative, Continental Floral Greens, Importer of Eco-Palms

2019 is off to a fast start!

With the rush of the holiday season behind us, Continental Floral Greens is looking forward to what the New Year has in store.

This past June, CFG had the opportunity to connect with some of you at the Presbyterian General Assembly as well as the Presbyterian Women’s Gathering. Your feedback and meeting face to face set a high level of excitement leading into the 2018 Christmas season. We are incredibly thankful to all the congregations that participated in the Rainforest to Rainforest program.

So, what is the Rainforest to Rainforest?

During the Christmas holiday season, Continental Floral Greens (CFG) offers a fundraising program to churches across the United States. With each purchase of holiday greenery (wreaths, garlands and swags) we contribute a portion of all sales directly to the Maya Biosphere Reserve. The Maya Biosphere Reserve, in Petén, Guatemala,  covers 5 million acres of beautiful, lush and productive tropical rainforest. This fragile rainforest faces the constant threats of deforestation from cattle ranchers, illegal farming, forest fires, and poaching.

CFG was introduced to the communities within this region many years ago, connecting through the University of Minnesota, when we began sourcing all the palms used in the Eco-Palms program. More than 1000 churches use these palms during Palm Sunday year after year. Not only are these palms used during the Easter season, but we continue to import product from these communities throughout the year.

Jenni Heimach, from Irvington Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, IN, proudly displays the Rainforest to Rainforest greenery their church ordered this past year. Irvington has been an Eco-Palm Church for several years and were thrilled with the quality and ease of ordering the greenery. 

Through Rainforest to Rainforest, churches can take the next steps to build on the connection that their congregations have developed through their use of Eco-Palms.

As a company that depends on the products sustainably harvested from our own temperate rainforests in  Washington, we recognized our ability to do more in contributing to this fragile ecosystem. It was from this kinship that Rainforest to Rainforest was created in 2017.

The Maya Biosphere Reserve Community Development Fund offers children of Eco-Palm harvesters the opportunity to attend school. They will one day bring their knowledge back to their communities. Photo credit: Magnetico

Over the last 2 years we have watched it grow and show promise for larger contributions. One of the major applications of the community development fund directly impacts the education of children in these communities. Because of their remote location, the nearest schools are miles away and require sponsorship for travel, lodging, and tuition. As Rainforest to Rainforest continues to grow, we will have the capability to sponsor those who seek a higher education, to bring knowledge back to their communities.

All of the community development funds are dispersed directly into the Maya Biosphere Reserve communities with the goal of sustainability in mind. And this is just the beginning of how we can help and create a level of community thousands of miles apart.

Eco-Palms can be ordered now through March 22, 2019 for Palm Sunday. Online orders for Christmas greenery are accepted between August 1 – October 31. Shipping of greens begins in mid-November.

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