CINCINNATI, Sept. 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- In celebration of The Kroger Co.'s (NYSE: KR) 29-year history of providing the Kentucky Derby's annual Garland of Roses, the company released a new video that showcases the 'Journey of the Roses' – from a Rainforest Alliance-certified grower in Bogota, Columbia to the Winner's Circle at Churchill Downs– and highlights the humanity and passion embedded in every step along the way.
"We are committed to conscientiously driving sustainability and innovation into our supply chain," said Suzanne Lindsay-Walker, Kroger's director of sustainability. "We are honored to support the Kentucky Derby, and our partnerships with the Rainforest Alliance and Passion Growers ensure that the flowers used to create the iconic Garland of Roses are produced responsibly."
Kroger supplier Passion Growers produces the "Freedom" roses featured in the garland on their farm in Bogota, Columbia. The roses – which are Rainforest Alliance certified based on Passion Growers' ongoing commitment to their employees and a sustainable environment – are transported directly to Louisville, where a team of master florists stands ready at a local Kroger store to hand-sew more than 400 roses onto the garland. This annual process, which takes place on the eve of the Kentucky Derby, can last up to 12 hours and is open for the public to watch.
The Rainforest Alliance's widely-regarded, third-party certification process helps ensure millions of acres of working forests and farms are managed according to rigorous sustainability standards. Many items in the Kroger family of stores feature the green frog seal, such as Private Selection Coffees, Private Selection Roses, and Home Sense tissues and other rolled tissue products. Earlier this year, Kroger was honored to receive the Rainforest Alliance's first-ever Supply Chain Partnership Award for developing a responsible sourcing program for its Home Sense tissue products.
Kroger has been the official florist of the famous garland since 1987. The Kentucky Derby, also referred to as the "Run for the Roses", is the most famous horse race in America. Filled with history and tradition, the race attracts over 150,000 spectators annually. The Garland of Roses, which is presented to the derby winner, is one of the world's most-recognized floral arrangements.
Read more about Kroger's efforts to ensure a responsible and sustainable supply chain in the company's sustainability report at sustainability.kroger.com.
About Passion Growers
Passion Growers, founded in 2001, is a family-oriented company dedicated to growing and providing the most beautiful and highest-quality roses. Passion Growers' 200 varieties of roses can be found in more than 5,000 retail and grocery stores around the country, and online under the brand name PassionRoses. Passion Growers support the communities where they live and work through education, donations, community outreach, and provide continuing educational efforts for its employees. Passion Growers farms were voted a Great Place to Work® in Colombia, and it shows in every rose. For more information on PassionRoses visit www.PassionRoses.com.
About Rainforest Alliance
The Rainforest Alliance works with people whose livelihoods depend on the land, helping them transform the way they grow food, harvest wood and host travellers. From large multinational corporations to small, community-based cooperatives, businesses and consumers worldwide are involved in the Rainforest Alliance's efforts to bring responsibly produced goods and services to a global marketplace where the demand for sustainability is growing steadily. For more information, visit www.rainforest-alliance.org.
Every day, the Kroger Family of Companies makes a difference in the lives of eight and a half million customers and 431,000 associates who shop or serve in 2,778 retail food stores under a variety of local banner names in 35 states and the District of Columbia. Kroger and its subsidiaries operate an expanding ClickList offering – a personalized, order online, pick up at the store service – in addition to our 2,231 pharmacies, 784 convenience stores, 323 fine jewelry stores, 1,387 supermarket fuel centers and 38 food production plants in the United States. Kroger is recognized as one of America's most generous companies for its support of more than 100 Feeding America food bank partners, breast cancer research and awareness, the military and their families, and more than 145,000 community organizations including schools. A leader in supplier diversity, Kroger is a proud member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable.
SOURCE The Kroger Co.