Choose flowers lovingly — Why you need to slow down when selecting flowers for your darling

_______________ Valentine’s season

Fellas, handing your darling a beautiful bouquet sends her heart aflutter. Yet you might merely be handing her a sightly bunch of toxins.
You might be handing her a spectacle of blooms that had been imported thousands of miles to reach her grasp, at hardship to laborers who cultivated them.

     That’s not romantic!

bouquet of roses

do you know where your flowers came from?

     Worry not. Simply take care to bypass conventional flowers, and embrace alternatives that are at your fingertips. I’ll elaborate on what conventional flowers are, then present alternatives.

Firstly, understand the world of conventional flowers — not romantic!
     The conventional flower industry holds the majority of selections found in most grocery stores, big box stores, via 800-number florists, and super deal websites. They’re the flowers megaphoned via TV ads, designed to woo you to choose their bouquets.
     “Conventional” refers to the means flowers are cultivated and shipped via what is known in the industry as conventional methods.  They include one or more of these traits:
 They are imported from other countries, mostly from South America.
  Labor laws in many of these countries are lax. Laborers work long days at little pay.
  They are cultivated with liberal use of chemical pesticides.
— Laborers who tend the flowers are exposed.
— Chemical pesticides are absorbed into the flowers.
— Sprayed chemical pesticides leave residue on the flowers. If you hand your darling a bouquet of these, she may grasp chemicals while grasping the stems, and inhale chemicals while trying to inhale the scent.

photo courtesy of Fabulous Florals, a ‘Slow Flowers’ member

Secondly, embrace the alternatives — romantic!
     Attention to superior alternatives and where to access them will lead you to the bouquet your sweetheart deserves.
     Alternative flowers are converse to conventional flowers. For example :
  They are grown locally or at least in the U.S.
  They are cultivated via sustainable methods, and not hazardous to the folks who cultivate them.

Thirdly, find and select non-conventional flowers of choice — you’re a darling!
     When you peruse flower options, detour from conventional options, and find way to her exquisite bouquet.
Fabulous online resources to connect to American grown and local flowers:
American Grown is a certification for flowers grown in the United States by American farmers. The website includes a list of American Grown florists. Link here: American Grown.
Slow Flowers is an online directory designed to help find locally grown flowers. The directory includes local farmers, and florists who offer locally grown and/or American grown flowers. Link to site and Search for “florists”: Slow Flowers.
     On these sites, when you link to specific florists, they specify the growing practices used per the flowers they offer. You will enjoy the passions they share.

 Inside the shops, or on the phone.
Ask the florist or retailer
—Where do the flowers they offer originate? Local? United States?
—What regulations do the flower growers follow? Are they sustainable?
—If the flowers are said to be “organic,” are they certified organic?
 If you must — the exception
     Rare times the select sustainable florist is only able to fill your request by offering imported flowers. This exception might happen on peak seasons like Valentine’s Day when the demand for flowers taps them out of local options — especially for roses.
     You may still opt for certifications that deviate from conventional norms. For example

Florverde certification specifies flower growers in South America that reach specific regulations for sustainable agricultural practices.
Fair Trade certification specifies flower growers in East Africa, Sri Lanka, and Ecuador that support safe conditions for workers.



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