Now that the music ringing in my ears has calmed down and the first cups of coffee taking effect I am able to say that Proflora was a fabulous show. I have heard nothing but good comments from exhibitors and visitors and that is not something we hear from all shows.
Bogota is a lovely city in the heart of a beautiful country, the people are warm and inviting and the weather for this show was as well. I have been traveling to Bogota since the late 80´s and there are many visible changes. First of all the weather is warmer and the humidity lower so global warming is evident and no doubt has forced growers to change some of their growing practices. The other obvious change over the last 10 years was the absence of police and military personnel on nearly every corner. Their presence was comforting and alarming at the same time. A positive result was the reduction in petty crime,fast forward to today and the situation is quite different. The petty crime has increased and in a paradoxical way it shows that this country is safer than the past and perhaps no worse than Miami or any major city.
Of course this show is a big deal so there was a grand opening with speeches and awards. It seems that the organizers have learned from past experience not to have every politician in Bogota give a lengthy speech. This time the Vice President of Colombia Germán Vargas Lleras,told us in great detail about the infrastructure improvements that are planned in Colombia. The most interesting to me was a new airport called Eldorado II. It was not clear to me if this was a totally new airport or an expansion of the existing one. (which is what I expect). The other news about new roads, more bridges and more lanes was no doubt good news to those living in Bogota because the traffic is simply awful but somehow it all works.
The show floor was filled with more exhibitors than the past and the quality of the booths has set the bar high for future shows. What´s new everyone ask? I am not a florist so my view was perhaps influenced by the beautiful lady’s decorating the booths that pretend to be part of the business. I am not sure they really result in any additional business but I admit they are a pleasant distraction.
Danzinger was showing a new very very white gyp called Cosmic that made their other gyp offering look dull in comparison. The Ball booth was a delight to the eye and packed with new varieties. Galleria Farms from Miami won best overall booth and it was beautiful in its simplicity. This convention hall is well suited for this style of show and this year they took full advantage of the large center area to host not stop designing, a place to sit and rest as well as a bar! Let´s face it our floral roots seem to demand some alcohol to stimulate growth.
Before I go on I must share my Florverde sustainable flowers experience. Florverde is the social and enviormental arm of Asocoflores. My fellow journalist and I were treated to a fascinating visit to a school where selected children from the most poor and troubled families were enjoying an after school program. My pictures will hopefully give some sense of the feelings and emotions that were blatantly obvious to all of us. This program is sponsored and supported by the local municipalities and in this case a nearby flower farm. This program is not exclusively for the children of farm workers but aims to break the cycle of violence and poverty that persist in these small villages. There are many flower farms that have similar programs that are run exclusively for the children of the workers. Day care, meals and education are all part of the programs and it goes to show the level of commitment that many progressive farms are willing to go to do more than just offering employees a job. If you are reading this I invite you to visit their website to learn more but you can help by buying flowers from Florverde certified farms. www.florverde.org
Finally the show ended with an over the top party for 2200 people at Andres Carne de Res. If you have never been to this place all I can say is that organized chaos was never more fun and on Holloween no less.
I will have a video once I return from Amsterdam and the ITIF show. Finally I am overjoyed that flowersandcents.com is currently sold out of ad space and more importantly that people actually enjoy what I write. Thank you for reading and stay tuned to flowersandcents.com for more.
I believe the best way for me to describe this event further is to let the pictures in the gallery below speak for themselves.