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Gerald Prolman

GeraldProlman2Gerald Prolman is an eco-entrepreneur the founder and CEO of Organic Bouquet. Organic Bouquet is the world's first online organic florist started by Prolman in 2001. The flowers they sell are grown in a manner that is gentle on the earth and safe for the farm-workers, wildlife, and the environment.

“I was always very curious why organic flowers were not as available as organic fruits and vegetables,” says Prolman “Horticulture had been completely overlooked by the natural products industry. ... More chemicals are used to grow flowers than food. Organic floral production is safe for farm-workers and good for the environment. It encourages healthy stewardship of the earth.”

Gerald Prolman has been working in the natural-products business for around 30 years. For a long time now, Prolman has been trying to spur demand for an organic product at the same time trying to create supply, convincing growers that they should stop using unhealthy pesticides and fertilizers on products that people buy simply for their beautiful looks. To some degree, the challenges are being met.

Whether he has been truly successful is a debatable point, given his ambition to alter the $20 billion–a–year cut–flower industry in a fundamental way. But none of that really fazes Prolman, a born maverick who has been down similar paths before. “I believe in the basic goodness of people,” Prolman says “If presented with the facts, people will make the right decisions.”

He dropped out of high school and bounced around the country, working restaurant jobs and earning his equivalency diploma, before he wound up in San Francisco in the 1970s selling wild meat to fancy French restaurants. He started a mass market organic produce business, Made in Nature, in 1989, finally selling it to Dole Food Co. in 1994 in a deal that helped signify the maturation of the organic market.

Some of Prolman’s Achievements

  • OrganicBouquet.com is the undisputed eco-flower market leader. In 2003, the market was valued at more than $8 million, up 52% from 2002, with estimated annual growth of 13% through 2008.
  • The company developed international supply of sustainable and organically grown flowers in six countries: United States, Ecuador, Colombia, Mexico, Costa Rica and Holland — a supply valued at $100 million.
  • Organic Bouquet was named "official florist" for the United Nations World Environment Day, a historic event that took place in San Francisco in June 2005.
  • Veriflora, the organic certification standard Organic Bouquet initiated, is now in the process of becoming a national standard for the fresh-cut flower trade.
  • The organic farming campaign he initiated, he claims, had a hand in converting almost 20,000 acres of farmland in five countries to organic production which in turn has helped eliminate millions of pounds of chemicals from use.

His other ventures

  • Organic Style Ltd. is the newest venture of Gerald Prolman which recently acquired Coyuchi, an organic lifestyle company.
  • In November 2007, Prolman launched the eco-luxury shopping internet boutique, www.OrganicStyle.com
  • In January 2008 resurrected Organic Style magazine, originally published by Rodale Inc. from 2001-2005.

Through sheer determination and a stubborn refusal to give in, Prolman has created a market for organic fresh cut flowers making a huge difference in thousands of lives. The floral industry, especially the organic flower industry owes Gerald a real debt of gratitude.

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