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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Wave eco-friendly palms

Project helps congregations support sustainable harvesting

It’s a typical Palm Sunday scene: Parishioners march into the sanctuary waving palm branches to reenact Jesus’ ride into Jerusalem. Annually churches use an estimated 30 million palm fronds shipped from the rainforests of Mexico and Guatemala.

Until recently these palms were overharvested and profits didn’t feed directly back into the communities, according to the Commission for Environmental Cooperation. The Palm Project of the Americas was created to urge congregations to buy palm fronds from dealers who obtain them from communities that harvest in a sustainable manner.

“The worst thing to do would be to quit buying palms. They’re the No. 1 income for some of these communities,” said Dean Current, a researcher with the University of Minnesota Center for Integrated Natural Resources and Agricultural Management, Minneapolis, which works with the commission.


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