12 months ago
At Fresh-o-Fair, we source products from flower farms our values align with. One such partner is Agromonte, an eco-friendly farm from Gachancipá, Colombia, which is known for its emphasis on quality, social and environmental programs, and workers’ welfare. We recently caught up with Daniel Maldonado, the General Manager at Agromonte. Keep on reading to discover insights from our interview with him.
Agromonte: History and Production
Agromonte is a Colombian flower farm that’s been in the floral industry since 1984. With 38 years in the business, Agromonte is constantly growing and evolving, with the primary aim of providing its clients with high-quality blooms and excellent customer service. The flower farm is mainly known for producing carnations and spray carnations, but it has been diversifying and growing blooms like kales and eucalyptus. At only 14 acres, Agromonte isn’t the largest flower farm in Colombia. Yet, it remains competitive by focusing on high quality, constant improvement, and innovation.
Social and Environmental Programs and Certifications
Like many of our other partners, Agromonte embraces social and environmental programs. Its official certifications include Florverde and being part of Asocolflores. However, its social and environmental impact goes far beyond simply boasting certifications.
In addition to being the first floral farm in Colombia to adopt 100% hydroponic operations, Agromonte focuses on composting and recycling, with recycling efforts including everything from water to risk husks. It also has its own solar panels, which produce 40% of the energy Agromonte uses. In fact, Agromonte has made demonstrable changes that have resulted in a significant decrease in energy use, with the farm using only 35% of the energy it used three years ago. It has done so by improving everything from the water ponds to the cold rooms.
Furthermore, Agromonte has dealt with spider mites naturally instead of with harsh chemicals. The flower farm also focuses on the environmental impact by encouraging the use of bikes, going as far as incentivizing their employees to do so. As a result, 95% of Agromonte’s employees bike to work.
Social Programs and Employee Welfare
Agromonte puts employee welfare above all else. One of the ways it does so is by restricting working hours and ensuring its employees aren’t overworked. In addition to ensuring employee healthcare, Agromonte also focuses on education and has organized scholarships for those who want to go to university and finish technical degrees. Currently, Agromonte is working on starting a kindergarten program. It has also focused on employee well-being by hiring a psychologist so individuals can receive psychological treatment and has bonuses for employees to ensure they earn a living wage.
COVID-19 Pandemic and Impact
As with other floral farms and the floral industry as a whole, the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on Agromonte. Agromonte decided no employees would be fired and lose their income despite the uncertainty. Instead, it put health first, put protocols in place to maintain distance, and kept employees in the loop regarding investigations and updates. When vaccines were available, Agromonte ensured employees received them and even arranged for this to happen on-site. Today, approximately 95% of its employees have received two COVID-19 vaccine shots. Thus, while the pandemic was a tough time, Agromonte made the best of a bad situation and took time to make improvements.
Agromonte’s Future Projects and Partnership With Fresh-o-Fair
Fresh-o-Fair is delighted to work with innovative and sustainable flower farms like Agromonte. We were pleased to hear that Agromonte, too, enjoys the partnership. In fact, Maldonado spoke about the efficiency that Fresh-o-Fair has provided and the reduced environmental impact as a result of our partnership. Additionally, he spoke about how Fresh-o-Fair has cultivated a closer relationship between clients and growers and has immensely simplified the supply chain.
As for the future, Agromonte is working to further innovate and improve quality. It is developing a new farm, growing its own smaller plants, diversifying, and improving company culture by investing in training. We’re excited about this and can’t wait to see them grow and evolve.