It happened a year and a half ago, when my colleague from work graduated from her University. A secret admirer sent her an enormous bouquet of roses. I really wished her success, but I couldn’t help but stare at the roses, whose heads were bigger than my entire fist. She was very proud of them and said, “These are roses from Ecuador. I love them so much, they are the most beautiful kind of roses in the world.”
I couldn’t tell her the truth. I didn’t wanted to spoil her happiness with some eco-preaching; you know what I mean. But what is the truth? Have you ever thought about where our flowers come from? How can the price of a rose from Ecuador be under two dollars? Follow my logic: someone needs to raise them and take care of them, after that they are picked by hand, next they travel across the continents and into flower shops. And somehow, the flower shops still make a profit on them. That is some weird math, don’t you think?
Most of the flowers in flower shops in Czech Republic are imported.
One of the reasons is because after the Velvet Revolution it took too long to return all state-confiscated family flower shops to their original owners. The greenhouses aged in that time, and ultimately became non-functioning. So in came flowers from abroad to take over the local market. Logical. It wouldn’t seem so bad if we aren’t considering the carbon footprint. But once we think about it and come to care about how the flowers are grown and shipped around the world, there is no happy story.
Flowers sold around the world are often grown in Africa or South America.
To make the biggest profit, farmers have to use many chemicals to stop the weed and pests. Regulations of these chemicals are not controlled by any strict laws, especially compared to regulations in the food industry. Flowers are covered with pesticides. No limits. Unregulated amounts of chemicals have an impact on everything around. The air is polluted, the land is sterilized, and the water is a chemical cocktail. Another problem is in the employment, similar to the fashion industry. Lots of employees are even kids under 15 years old. If you want to know more about this, refer to the article from Passblue.com.
So, now that we are aware of the facts, the rest depends on us! Here are a few tips:
- Deny buying all imported flowers. By buying imported flowers we agree with treating the land, water, and people in certain way.
- When buying in traditional flower shops ask the employees where the flowers come from. It is possible you will find a great solution and leave the shop with a bouquet of beautiful local flowers instead. Speak aloud about your interest in local flowers! The more demand we create the bigger chance we have for change.
- When it’s your birthday or special occasion, explain your opinion to your friends in advance so they know how you feel and can make an informed decision.
- Pick in-season flowers from fields and pastures yourself.
- Grow your own flowers. Let someone give you advice on flowers that don’t need special care if you don’t have a green thumb. Peonies or swordfish are both good examples of flowers that are easy to care for.
- Ask your friends, neighbors, or any other person with garden in your neighborhood if they would be willing to sell you their flowers occasionally. Trading with neighbors for another service can also help you get to know someone in your neighborhood better and support your local community.
- Grow flowers in your community gardens.
- Buy flowers at a farmers market.
- Find a flower shop that grows their own flowers. You might be surprised how many you find.
- Feel proud of giving someone a bouquet of meadow flowers, locally grown flowers, or your home-grown flowers! Most people will feel flattered that you invested your time, money, and passion.
I honestly hope that these ten tips will help you start your local flower journey. Do you have other tips? I am listening.
Beautiful flowery days,
Translation with the help of Ellie Farrier