Jardines de Los Andes
Jardines de Los Andes is in Colombia, South America. The farm is located on the Bogotá plateau, 8,500 ft above sea level, where the flowers are grown “closer to the stars.” Founded in 1969 by the Herrera brothers, the farm continues to operate as a family business. Jardines de Los Andes is committed to community and environmental sustainability in all of their daily operations.
Jardines de Los Andes is located in Colombia, South America on the Bogotá plateau 2,600 mt (8,500 ft) above sea level, where flowers are grown “closer to the stars”. They are a fresh cut flower grower and mixed bouquet manufacturer that export mainly to the USA. “We are committed to premium quality fresh cut flowers and innovation in the designs of our mixed flower bouquets. Loyal to our values and customers, we offer a unique way of expressing feelings, celebrating special occasions and brightening spaces with exceptional flowers; we grow over 300 different flowers, of which many are exclusive to us,” explains Juan C. Herrera, Sales and Marketing Director.
Pioneer of the industry, Jardines de Los Andes was founded in 1969 by the Herrera brothers. It continues to be a family business with both first and second generations involved and committed to their success. It started small with five greenhouses. Chrysanthemums were planted, grown, harvested and shipped personally by the owners with the help of 21 employees. The first flowers arrived in the USA in October 1969 and a year later in the UK. “It was exciting to innovate and embark on a new endeavor. We had experience in growing vegetables in open air for the local market. However, building greenhouses, growing flowers, and shipping abroad was a completely new business for us and for Colombia (…) Flowers took twice the time to reach the wholesalers and were not refrigerated during the trip, that was a big challenge,” tells Camilo Herrera founder and CEO of the company. Today, Jardines de Los Andes’ flowers can be purchased in all major supermarket chains in the USA (identified by the flower shaped sticker on the sleeve), as premium quality mixed flower bouquets and Alstroemeria bunches.
From day one, Jardines de Los Andes has been aware of their responsibility with the environment and the community. "We were the first company to pay women and men equal salaries. . . something uncommon back in the 1960´s. At a very early stage, we created an Employee’s Fund, so all employees could have easy access to credit to be able to improve their quality of life. Today more than 4,500 employees have improved or bought their homes with the credit and advice provided by the company," explains Bernardo Herrera, founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Jardines de Los Andes provides free medical and dental services; counseling for couples and for families with teenagers; and training for developing skills useful for any household. Cooking, repairing motorcycles, sewing, crafts, flower arrangements, computers and playing musical instruments are just some of the activities that both employees and their families can access through the Huaylas learning program. In 2012, more than three thousand people, including employees and their families, benefited from these social programs.
Jardines de Los Andes is an environmentally sustainable farm, certified by the Rain Forest Alliance; and recognized by the Unites States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who in 2007 presented Jardines de Los Andes with The Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award. “Jardines de los Andes. . . deserves special mention for their constant support to UNIDO projects, their generosity in sharing pest management strategies, and the outstanding level of sustainability achieved at their flower farms. They have made time unconditionally for growers from Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Kenya, Turkey, Mexico, Argentina, and other countries. They have provided ample information on costs and results of alternatives, how to solve problems that could arise and how to adapt these technologies to specific circumstances,” (EPA, 2007).
Some of their eco-friendly practices include: 100% of the organic waste is transformed into compost, which is used jointly with other organic products as fertilizers; irrigation is done mainly with rain harvested water, and water used in other processes is re-used; and for pest control biological products and physical techniques are used.
“Innovation and attention to detail are part of our core values. These drive the way we grow and handle our flowers, and also our constant research in order to offer novelty flowers, with exceptional colors and textures, which follow the global fashion and design trends. . . We connect to flower lovers and accompany them in making their special places prettier, and their celebrations colorful. We are grateful for being able to celebrate life with flowers!” says Jeronimo Herrera, Technical Manager.
Here is a look at some of the farmers involved with running and maintaining operations at Jardines de Los Andes