Palm Sunday offered the Wichita Center Community an opportunity to live out principles found in Laudato Si’. Instead of ordering the standard palms, this year we ordered from EcoPalms, a project to promote environment and social justice.
The University of Minnesota Center for Integrated Natural Resources and Agricultural Management (CINRAM) is working together with the Rainforest Alliance TREES program and Smartwood to certify palms harvested from the forests of Mexico and Guatemala for sale to Christian congregations in the United States and Europe.
The North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (NACEC) provided the initial financial support enabling CINRAM to start the project. Today, partnerships with wholesaler Continental Floral Greens and distributor Greenwing have enabled Eco-Palms to be distributed throughout the United States for Palm Sunday. In addition, partnerships with faith-based organizations such as Lutheran World Relief (LWR), United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) the Presbyterian Church of the United States (PCUSA) and others have helped expand awareness of the Eco-Palms program.
Gathers are given a fair price which helps increase their income and improve the living conditions in their communities. The palms are “sustainably” harvested and managed which protects the palms and the forests that they need for shade.
Although it might have been a little frustrating for those who like to braid the traditional palms, it gave the feeling of what those who were present at the first Palm Sunday might have felt.