Eco-Palms Frequently Asked Questions & Answers:

What is a “frond”?
The term “frond” refers to an individual palm; one palm stem with many leaves.  When ordering palms, the terms “frond” and “palm” are interchangeable.  For the rest of this document they will be referred to as palm fronds. 

What is a “bunch”?
The term “bunch” refers to a group of 18-20 palm fronds sold together. The customer should expect between 18-20 palm fronds due to human error when counting.

  • Customers can purchase up to 9 individual bunches.

What is a “case”?
A “case” is a box of palms/fronds. 

  • Small cases contain approximately:         170-200 palm fronds (9-10 bunches)
  • Medium cases contain approximately:     260-300 palm fronds (14-15 bunches)
  • Large cases contain approximately:         530-600 palm fronds (27-30 bunches)

How many palms should I order?
In general, you will want to order one palm/frond for each parishioner in your church.  e.g. 300 parishioners would require 300 palms, or 1 medium case. Please make sure when accessing how many palms to order, to order enough palms under the assumption that every bunch/case will have the minimum.

When will the palms arrive?
Palms will arrive sometime during the week before Palm Sunday and are shipped via Fed Ex.  FedEx Tracking numbers will be sent out to the e-mail provided when shipment occurs, providing a more detailed arrival date and time.   Tracking numbers can be entered at www.fedex.com to track your order.

How do I care for the palms once they arrive?
When you get the palms you will want to open the box, the receipt will be inside, make sure the palms are in good condition. Then either put them in a cool location like a refrigerator or trim the stems by a couple inches and put them in water until Palm Sunday. It is imperative that the box be opened immediately and the palms opened up to prevent mold in a warm, moist environment.

The palms are completely natural – a small insect bite or brown/white spot is not unusual, they are grown in the rainforest without any chemicals or other barrier from the environment. However, if any mold appears on the palms – if it is one stem and the rest appear healthy, discard the bad stem.  If several have issues call the office immediately for a reshipment.

If no one is at the church when the palms arrive it will be important for the palms to be cared for immediately the next day.  Fed Ex does not require a signature for these packages (unless they feel it is necessary for your area) and they generally leave them at the door if no one is there.


What do the palms look like?
They look exactly like the palms on the website and on the order form - websites:
http://fairtrade.crs-blog.org – type in palms

Trade names are “Jade”, “Elegans” or “Emerald”.  THESE ARE NOT THE STRIP
TYPE PALMS – they cannot be folded into crosses.  These palms are a brilliant green and should not be broken apart.  Each parishioner receives one whole frond.

Can I specify which type of palm I would like to order?
Unfortunately we cannot guarantee which type of palms you will receive.  These palms are native to the forests of Guatemala and Mexico; therefore, harvested quantities depend highly upon availability in the forest.

Where do the palms come from?
They are sustainably grown and harvested in Guatemala and Mexico.  All of the harvesting communities either have or are in the process of obtaining an outside sustainable certification from SmartWood, a division of Rainforest Alliance. Please remember that the lack of certification of these palms makes them in no way less sustainable. The forests in which these palms reside are being protected from agriculture and logging because of the palms residence.

Three of the Guatemalan communities have received their certification – Carmelita, Uaxactun and San Andres.  Mexican communities are beginning the process of certification and the other harvesting communities in Guatemala are well on their way.

Who is supporting the project?
Lutheran World Relief, Presbyterian Church USA Enough for Everyone Program, and United Methodist Committee on Relief are supporting the Eco-palms project.

Where and who started this project?
The original research was funded by CEC (Center for Environmental Cooperation) out of Canada.  Dean Current (the Program Director) had worked in Costa Rica and Latin America for years and the work with Xate (the name used in Latin America for the palm) always intrigued him.
Are these Fair Trade Certified Palms?
No, they are fairly traded, but are not yet Fair Trade Certified.  .05/frond goes back down to the communities as a social premium.  This is in addition to the .02/frond they make at harvest time from the direct buy relationship set up with Continental Floral Greens (CFG), the traditional importer.  That is over 25% of the cost going directly back to the communities, more than Fair Trade coffee or any other project we are aware of.

At this point we cannot ask the communities to pursue fair trade certification because we would be asking them to use their entire premium to cover the cost of the certification.

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