On Valentine’s Day And Every Day, Say It With Organic Flowers
Well, here we are. February. And we all know what that means.
Of course there are the standard issue things: dinner reservations, chocolates, jewelry, seduction and sexy things to wear. And then we have the one thing that goes without saying, what I love to receive no matter what the calendar says: flowers. My husband can come in with a bouquet, be it for our anniversary or when an apology is in order, and I can quickly turn to mush. It can range from a few picked from our garden to a dozen red roses: deep crimson, beautifully shaped and the absolute picture of floral perfection.
The timeless tradition of giving flowers speaks to our passions. We are drawn to them. They are sensuous. They evoke happiness. They comfort us and lift our spirits. It doesn’t matter who you are. Young or old, male or female. Flowers mean many things and touch us in many ways.
I know I am not alone in my affinity for this display of affection. Many of us on that big day next week will give or receive. But this time of year, over one hundred million of these coveted blooms will arrive from the far reaches of the world (South America, Europe, even China), and getting them to us is quite the production. And as it turns out, some cultivation practices are not on the up and up. Toxic pesticides are used in excess. Unhealthy for the consumer, and particularly dangerous for florists and farm laborers. Displaying your flowers on your desk at work, or on your end table at home? Dangerous toxins are now in your office or house. Some farms do not adhere to ethical hiring or employment practices. Laws are not followed, and workers, even children, are endangered. By supporting this industry we are often unknowingly supporting unspeakable abuse. And this isn’t isolated to the developing world, either.
So what can we do?
Say I love you to your sweetie, your fellow citizens, and the planet: give organic, ethically grown flowers a try.
Organic farming reduces pesticide use. Better for us, and healthier for florists and farm workers. It supports local farms, which means product has to travel less. Ground water, soil, and our animal friends are safer and it reduces the prevalence of acid rain around the world. Eco-friendly farming champions Fair Trade policies and moral employment and hiring standards, limiting abuse and ensuring farmers get a fair price for the fruits of their labor. And what’s really cool? Organic flowers are known to be more fragrant, have more vibrant color, and they typically last longer than flowers grown with standard commercial practices.
Want to know more?
www.veriflora.org. This website details the Veriflora agricultural sustainability certification and eco-labeling program, the gold standard in the industry.
www.organicbouquet.com. Hands down the largest online source for beautiful organic flowers. And just in time for Valentine’s Day: Two dozen long stem red roses with vase can be yours for about $75. On par or even less than the cost of roses grown conventionally.
www.californiaorganicflowers.com. Most flowers are grown on the company’s Northern California farm. For flowers not grown on site their origin is listed and guaranteed grown using organic methods. Sells flowers in season, and online they have a special calendar showing what blooms are available when.
www.flowerbud.com. Offers Veriflora certified flowers to all states, the United Kingdom and some European countries. Not all flowers sold are certified organic, but there is a handy Veriflora Certified tab on the website showing which flowers for sale do meet sustainability standards.
www.greenamerica.org/livinggreen/flowers.cfm. A very informative article extolling the virtues of buying organic flowers and supporting this growing industry.
We can relish the beauty of our Valentine flowers and at the same time do right by the planet and her people. But it isn’t all about one day of the year. It can be wildflowers on Earth Day or tulips for my birthday. Bringing hydrangeas home from the local nursery on a Saturday and making my yard beautiful. Calla lilies for my anniversary or peonies just because. Flowers are simply too wonderful to only be enjoyed at one time each year. From now on I will seek out eco friendly beauties to cherish and enjoy, and let my honey know he should do the same.
Responsible stewardship of the planet can only lead to good things for everyone and everything. Just like Mamma Earth wants it to be.
Happy Valentine’s Day to you and those you hold in your heart.