Flowers often mark some of life’s most noteworthy moments - both large and small. A new baby, weddings, holidays, or an expression of love and care. What you may not realize when you pick up a bouquet at the grocery store or order flowers to be delivered to a friend is the larger impact of your purchase. Here are just a few of our favorite reasons for supporting the local flowers movement.
Local blooms are specialty blooms: heirloom, sentimental, and unique with endless colors, forms, and varieties that you simply can’t find in your grocery store. There is a certain intangible magical beauty local flowers provide. Moreover, these blooms are fragrant!
Imported flowers are cultivated for durability to ensure they transport well and as a result, often the fragrance is bred out (and sometimes replaced with perfume – yuck!). Enjoy sweet-smelling peonies, neon zinnias, or Instagram favorite Café au Lait dahlias.
Flowers bought locally can last up to two weeks! You can also readily find specialty varieties unavailable from import channels.
Most locally grown flowers are picked from the field within 24-36 hours of landing on your table, and are handled with care by your local farmers and designers. Their imported counterparts, on the other hand, are shipped dehydrated in a cardboard box, arriving to you at the tail end of their bloom life.
Small farms are proud to be growing for you. As Love ‘n Fresh Flowers, farmer-florist, Jennie Love aptly notes, “Since it’s not easy work, being a farmer, these people typically have unusually large hearts and spirited ideals. They wouldn’t endure a perpetual backache and sore hands, nor the freezing cold and blistering heat, if they didn’t love the land they are stewarding or the flowers they are growing.” You’re helping these local, small-scale flower farmers (most of whom are predominately women) stay in business.
Small farms are working to build healthy biomes for their crops, and they do so through sustainable practices that keep the ecosystem healthy, encourage biodiversity, and the pollination of nearby crops. Happy flowers = happy pollinators!
Those pretty flowers at the grocery store sadly have a storied journey. It’s a staggering statistic: approximately 80% of flowers sold in the U.S. are imported from outside the country. Take a closer look at the label on the sleeve of flowers at the grocery store and you’ll often see ‘Grown in Columbia or Ecuador.’
According to a 2018 Washington Post article, Columbia alone shipped more than 4 billion flowers to the US. In the 3 weeks leading up to Valentine’s Daily 30 cargo jets make the trip daily from Columbia to Miami. The International Council on Clean Transportation estimates that those 3 weeks alone equates to 114 million liters of fuel burned and 360,000 metric tons of CO2 emitted. “To put this number into context, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a forest larger than the area of Houston (1,624 km2) would be needed to sequester that amount of carbon.”
This doesn’t even factor in the next leg of the trip when the flowers have to be transported on a truck from Miami or Los Angeles to their next destination. So next time you go to purchase that bouquet in February, think about purchasing a CSA from your local farm instead.
Want to dig in more? We highly suggest reading Jennie Love’s ‘Manifesto for a Better Bouquet.'