Darling, please send roses but not ‘blood roses’!

organic red roses

 Roses make an elegant gift. Yet most conventional roses, if you look behind the scenes, are anti-romantic, as they promote a greedy and unregulated industry that harms people and the environment.
          These roses are known as “blood roses.”
          So, all the darlings out there, to fulfill the gift of roses romantically, choose roses responsibly. It’s simply a matter of being aware.
          First, understand what “blood roses” are. Then, explore and choose among the alternatives.

Darling, please no ‘blood roses!’
     Over 200 million roses are sold in the United States over Valentine’s season alone. The majority of them are from South America, where regulations to protect workers are scarce. There, most flower farm and greenhouse employees work up to 18 hours per day, for pay as low as 50-cents per hour.
     And their work environment is unprotected. Roses and other flora are flushed with heavy chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The laborers are exposed to all this; they touch it and inhale it. Studies have proven that this is detrimental to their health.
     This practice of using strong chemicals also harms the environment. The chemicals seep into the soil, and into the water system. They’re absorbed into the roses.
     So these “blood roses,” upon arrival, look gorgeous. Yet they’re a facade, a veil over anti-romantic practices and realities. And, they’re likely full of chemicals.
Darling, please give me roses
     Sustainable roses are ver-ly accessible, and only they make a truly romantic gift. Please choose among “Fair Trade,” “FlorVerde” or Organic roses, to offer a fulfilling bouquet.
     These roses maintain the integrity of the love and romance they represent.
     Ask the florist if they offer them, or find them online, before sending the bouquet.
 Fair Trade
     Fair Trade certification requires that laborers are offered fair wages and benefits. It also requires the roses and other flowers are grown without harsh pesticides.  Fore more information, visit here.
     Florverde® certification is similar to Fair Trade. It focuses on flora from South America, and requires fair wage conditions and limited use of fertilizers and chemicals.  For more information, visit here.
     Organic roses growers abide by organic certifications, using a system to enrich the soils and produce crops in a system that is responsible to the laborers and to the environment. For more info visit here.

*initially published in Romantic’s February, 2011.

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