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The Orchid Association of Franca (AFO)
Av. Dr. Flávio Rocha, 4521 - Fernando Fernando Costa Exhibition Grounds
Phone: (+55 16) 3724-7688 Box Office: 430 - Postal Code: 14400-970 Franca, Sao Paulo
The Orchid Association of Franca (AFO) was founded on July 13, 1983 and is a cultural, scientific and ecological association not for profit and non-political. It’s basic purposes are:
In 1986, the AFO was declared a public utility by the Franca City Council.
In 1991, a campaign was launched for the selection of the Ecological symbol of Franca in the local media, resulting in the Orchid being selected as the symbol of Franca.
During its beginnings the AFO in agreement with the Municipality of Franca, in December 1992, created the Dona Iaiá Jacintho Municipal Orchid Gardens, by the Law 4,241, of 11/11/1992, which was located in the Fernando Costa Exhibition Gardens. It was named after Mrs. Geraldina Jacintho Conrado (1908-1992), who was one of the earliest orchidists in Franca, a contemporary of the region's great pioneering orchidists. For 40 years, she cultivated (and taught how to cultivate) orchids and spread orchidophilia in our city.
The beginnings of the orchid collection started with donations of 500 plants, in about 170 national and foreign species, grown by members of the Orchid Association of Franca, as well as other cities associated with the CAOB (Coordination of Orchidophile Associations of Brazil). These plants were installed in greenhouses of 15 square meters, covered with plastic tiles, and in another area of ??80 square meters, covered with screening offering 70% shade.
In 1994, the position of botanical technician was created, by law to assist the Municipal Orchid Garden.
In 1995, the laboratory for the multiplication of species by seeds was set up. It has equipment loaned from the AFO, where all chemicals used were supplied by the same entity. Then a nursery and an area for raising and forming collectives were added to the area.
In 1996, a new 45 square meter greenhouse was built to accommodate the seedlings generated in the laboratory, where the basic structure was provided by the Municipality of Franca, and the agricultural plastic cover and shading screen provided by the AFO.
Already in 1997, through Prof. DR. Master Roberto Juntakane, an agreement was signed at the Francisco Maeda College of Agronomy, in the city of Ituverava / SP, which aimed to research a new technique for multiplying orchids by seeds in the laboratory, in various culture media, and in pots with different substrates such as rice husk, pine bark, cork, etc. The main purpose of this agreement was the preservation of natural species and their repopulation in protected conservation areas of our region.
From the production of species in the Municipal Orchid in 1998, 500 orchid seedlings were planted on the trees located in Franca Forest Gardens (today called Zoobotanical Gardens). In November 1999, 600 were planted on the trees of Nossa Senhora da Conceição Square in the centre of the town.
In 2000, an agreement was signed between the AFO and the University of Franca to provide internship opportunities for students of that institution from the Biology course, compatible with the activities developed in the Orchid Gardens and various research projects.
In 2001, dozens of seedlings were planted in the forest surrounding the Franca Sewage Treatment Plant.
Currently, the Municipal Orchid has over 3000 pots of adult orchids of various genera, with more than 200 natural and hybrid species obtained by crossing different species, some considered very rare and of incalculable value, because beyond the financial value, there is also the sentimental value of the population. The Municipal Orchid Gardens has today for planting in formation 1200 collective and individual pots, with seedlings produced in our laboratory, to meet the objectives in the agreement with the City Hall of Franca.
The AFO receives annually, at the National Orchid Exhibition, usually in March, about 40 city institutions from all over the country. In return, we participate in exhibitions in cities that come here, leading, enhancing and spreading the name of the Franca City.
Today, the AFO keeps this nursery by tooth and nail, as it receives few resources from its members. The resources obtained for the maintenance of the Municipal Orchid Gardens (maintenance of greenhouses, purchase of pots, fertilizers and substrates, maintenance and laboratory products), maintenance of the Association's utility car, for the trips to visit other exhibitions of other entities (are more than 40 cities visited during the year) and for holding the annual events all come from the events themselves, such as the annual National Orchid Exhibition Fair, the annual Franca Shopping Fair and other small and occasional fairs held during the year, buying and selling substrates, pots, fertilizers and plants.
The restocking work in woods and public squares has been partially paralyzed in recent years, partly due to the overload of services to active members (with a register of more than 10 people), partly to the vandalism of some people, who extracted the plants from the trees. after planting.
There is a real need from the whole population and various business segments in France to get more money and cooperation for the Fairs and Exhibitions. Also more members are needed who are willing to work for the conservation of the orchids and consequently our forests, and for the dissemination of Orchidophilia. So that the dream of “Dona Iaia”, and of all who are in love with these flowers which are so beautiful, enigmatic, and appreciated, (and for this reason, as already has been mentioned, has become the Ecological Symbol of Franca), can remain alive.er vivo.
Translated by John Bolissian