Thursday, February 21, 2013

Local Flowers, just as Important as Local Food!

small bridesmaid bouquet
With the recent uproar over Whole Foods selling Valentine's Day flowers and promoting foreign grown flowers, the 'Local Movement' is finally taking a bit of notice of us 'Local Flower Growers'.  I'll note all these blog posts are from local growers. We need some PR.

Book Description

February 1, 2013
The slow food movement (with its hundreds of thousands of members and supporters) has changed our relationship with the foods in our lives. Now the slow flower movement is changing the way we think about cut flowers: Yes, we'd all prefer fresh, fragrant flowers in our bouquets, not the chemical-laden lifeless blooms flown in from afar - but what to do in those seasons when not much is growing locally? Acclaimed garden writer Debra Prinzing challenged herself to create a beautiful, locally-grown bouquet for each of 52 weeks of one year (going beyond flowers to include ornamental twigs, foliage, greenhouse plants, dried pods, and more), to demonstrate that all four seasons have their own botanical character to be celebrated. She provides extensive design tips, bouquet “recipes” and region-by-region floral ingredient lists that can be found in all climate zones through the year. Slow Flowers is written from a DIY floral designer's point of view, to inspire anyone to go green and make a beautiful bouquet with what's at hand, no matter the season.


People who buy vegetables and meat at farmers' markets do not always see flowers as part of the same equation and those who only shop at supermarkets remain unmoved. Although it is usual now for florists and supermarkets (and gas stations) to sell plants from overseas, the landscape was completely different not so long ago. 1969 was the year of the first air-freighted flowers. Before that there were trains and bulbs sent by ship, but the traditional model for wholesale flower growing was local and small. This is explored in Floriculture at the Garden Museum in London, opening this week. An important aspect of the show is "a celebration of domestic growers, an industry that has all but vanished."

When you pick up a bouquet of flowers at a local grocery store, flower shop, natural foods market or a community-owned food  co-op, try to find out where the flowers are  from. Why? If you live in the U.S., and have the choice to purchase domestically-grown flowers, you’re helping U.S.A. flower farms stay alive.  Demand U.S.-grown from your  local flower provider. You might now know that imported flowers from South America are causing U.S. flower farms to struggle and many are going out of business.  Due to the  less expensive labor, lack of pesticide and fungicide regulation in South America in particular, our local flower farms are in peril. You as the consumer are the person who can request or require this from your flower seller.  You have the power to make  change with your dollars.


WHO are they?
Smaller growers are not that unlike designers in that they are, with few exceptions, flower addicts who are motivated to create, raise, and nurture beauty in this increasingly visually stimulating world.  They also have LAND and generally a desire to responsibly use and/or preserve it.  Flower farming is high-density farming, a single acre can grow a lot of flowers thus smaller growers often “grow where they live.”

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