The flowers you find in the grocery store have traveled long and far to reach you. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 80% of all flowers sold in the U.S. are imported, primarily coming from Columbia, and other Central American Countries. It’s really a miracle that they look the way they do by the time you buy them.
These flowers are grown inside of greenhouses, acres and acres of buildings, where conditions are meticulously controlled. They are not visited by bees and butterflies or sway in the breeze, sometimes they are robbing surrounding local lands and communities of much needed rain water by diverting irrigation to feed their heavy needs.
The transit chain takes incredible amounts of jet and fossil fuels all along the way. Fuels and chemicals to control growth in the greenhouses, jet and fossil fuels for flights, the constant refrigeration and gasoline to truck it to it’s retail space. Along this path over 45% of the flowers will be trashed, not keeping the American standard of perfection that people expect when they are ready to be sold.
When flowers don’t need to make the arduous journey an incredible array of floral diversity is possible. Flowers that most people have never seen can show up in the mix. The delicate, airy, bouncy garden flowers show up in arrangements and in this farmer’s humble opinion those are the flowers that make the most magical arrangements. The flowers grown on the farm are outside, sun kissed and full of life. They are visited by bees and butterflies. Local flowers are also full of fragrance. Harvested within hours of you putting them on your table and never going without water. Local flowers have the ability to last seven days sometimes longer in a vase. You will be able to bury your face in them with no thought of chemicals.
Also, we want small scale growers all over the United States because small scale growers allow for better stewardship and intensive care of land. Local farms help to build resilience in communities (did anyone else feel the importance of local resilience during the worldwide pandemic?) Local farms strengthen the fabric of the place where you live by encouraging people to take part in local agriculture and form relationships between people and the land. When there are local growers in your area you are also able to learn things from one another. Spreading the wisdom of growing in very specific climates and soil types and all the tips and tricks that come along with experience.
There has never been a better time to find local flower farmers in your area. We are in the middle of a local flower renaissance that is taking place throughout the country. A movement to revive the American cut flower industry started in California and has been spreading throughout the United States like wildfire due to influential names and advocated like Erin Benzakein of Floret flowers, Debra Prinzing of the Slow Flowers Movement, and in Minnesota, Christine Hoffman who manages the Twin Cities a flower exchange, an all-local, chemical-free wholesale cut flower market where designers and florists can shop once a week for local blooms. There are other flower farming collaboratives and local cut flower markets popping up in many other states.
There are links and resources below to find local flower farms near you!
Floret Farmer-Florist Collective: https://www.floretflowers.com/
Slow Flowers: https://slowflowers.com
Twin Cities Flower Exchange (TCFE): https://www.tcflowerexchange.