Why local flowers?
In addition to helping to preserve local agriculture, and bee and pollinator populations, there are important things to understand about the cut flower trade in the US. Today, less than 20% of flowers sold in the US are grown here. This is not only a missed opportunity for the GDP (the floral industry accounts for almost $16 Billion a year) but cheap flowers have hidden costs.
The labor force in countries like Columbia and Ecuador (ranked 2nd and 3rd exporters to the US) are often paid poorly for long and grueling hours. Often children are employed. In Kenya (ranked 4th) women make up the majority of the processing work while men oversee the operation. The flower farms there, and elsewhere, are lead contributors to run-off waste as thousands upon thousands of gallons of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and holding agents find their way to rivers and lakes. The rivers and lakes are being depleted by the same corporate run flower farms, costing villages and animal life safe, clean, accessible drinking water.
When the flowers leave their countries of origin, they are refrigerated to nearly freezing temperatures and flown across the world where they are held in refridgerated storage until they are sold . All flowers, every one of them, are necessarily fumigated at or before the US border to prevent pests and disease from entering the country. While the average meal served in the US has traveled nearly 1200 miles to get to the plate, flowers travel nearly 2500 miles before ending up as a wedding centerpiece, or wasted completely and thrown in the landfill, too toxic to compost. Meanwhile American farmland is swallowed up by developers, and will never be productive again.
The dependency on floral foam is another blight on environment. The green stuff you see in the bottom of many flower arrangements is a petroleum driven product, made of formaldehyde, barium sulfates, and carbon black, carcinogenic elements that can cause cancer for florists who repeatedly work with it (particularly cutting it and breathing in the green dust). It does not biodegrade, and yet the practice is ubiquitous with most conventional florists buying cases and cases every year. At two of our local flower wholesalers Oasis (the brand name, like Kleenex) boxes are stacked floor to warehouse ceiling, occupying more real estate than the flowers do by far. Cellophane floral sleeves are another popular, yet wasteful industry standard, same as any single use plastic bag. The most recent trend is dying and bleaching flowers and foliage. What kind of relationship do you want to have with flowers?
Goode Farm flowers are grown in the Earth, lovingly tended with compost teas and high quality organic amendments. The fields are literally buzzing with bees, and the blooms are picked by hand in the early morning when they’re most hydrated and put into clean, cool water. Our cooler is powered by a solar array. We use paper flower sleeves for our bunches and wire armatures for structure in our arrangements. Fresh flowers, gently treated and minimally traveled are far superior in quality and vase life. You may always contact us to find out more about our practices, or for sources regarding any of the above information.