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Where Does Your Valentine’s Day Bouquet Really Come From?

January 31, 2009

photo by --Sam--

photo by --Sam--

There’s no doubt that flowers have an immediate impact on the happiness of your gift recipient, but where do those dozen of red roses really come from?  You might be surprised to know that 90% of the cut-flowers imported into the United States come from Latin America, where the government lacks regulations to limit the use of pesticides.  The economic gains of the flower industry in Latin America come at the hidden cost of worker health and local ecosystems.  Chemicals are the primary cause of ground water contamination.  This is a problem when you consider that 50% of our drinking water in the United States comes from ground water sources. Organizations like Florverde in Colombia have greatly reduced the amount of pesticides used, however 36% of chemicals used are labeled “extremely” or “highly” toxic by the World Health Organization.

Are Cut-flowers Really that Bad?

No.  Amy Stewart, author of Flower Confidential, wrote a really nice article about the benefits of shopping at local flower shops instead of your local big-boxer.  I seriously doubt Wally-Mart is buying from local, organic farmers to provide you with “fresh” cut-flowers.  The best arrangements come from the flowers you’ve grown yourself, but unless you live in warmer climates, your out of luck this Valentine’s Day.  If a flower arrangement is what you desire for your sweetheart, your best bet is to dial up your local flower shop.  Many retailers are opting to work with local farmers that strive for a true sustainable production that’s more beneficial to workers and the environment.

Looking to stretch your dollar even more?  Coming up, Potted Plants: The Gift that Keeps on Giving.

Share your comments on the sustainability of the cut-flower industry


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