Aloe vera on the rise

Aloe Vera Plantation
Aloe vera plantation

You’ve likely seen bottles of it on the grocery shelf between the $$$ pomegranate juice and coconut water. In fact, you probably have a specimen potted on the shelf above your kitchen sink. Aloe vera, both a staid home remedy and a flashy cure-all phenomenon, is now debuting in some South American beverages. And, of course, that means it is becoming an increasingly important crop in the region. Continue reading “Aloe vera on the rise”

Widespread labor shortage

When we got to the ‘careers’ unit in the English course that I taught in Colombia, I would ask the kids what they wanted to be when they grew up. We were studying workplace vocabulary like office, hospital, grocery store, mechanic shop, nurse, firefighter, farmer, doctor, lawyer…. When I would point to the picture of the farmer on his tractor and ask, “Do you want to be a farmer?” their face would say, Are you kidding me? and their lips would pronounce, “No! I do not want to be a farmer.” Continue reading…

Valentine’s Day roses: where did yours come from?

An Ecuadorian rose

For the past two years, Valentine’s Day (February 14) fell on a weekend. This year, floriculturists across Mexico, Ecuador, and Colombia, are glad it’s on a Tuesday, since a weekday—as opposed to a weekend—holiday tends to boost flower sales. Continue reading…

Colombian exports: avocados, pineapples, and beef

Of all the nations in South America, Colombia, at the top of the continent and bounded by both Pacific and Caribbean coastlines, is in the best geographic position to ship to the U.S.—that’s one of the many reasons why it’s a huge cocaine supplier for North America. Cocaine aside, recent changes in Colombian government spending and shifts in market demands have brightened expectations among some of Colombia’s more scrupulous farmers. Continue reading…