With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, there are probably many of us who are starting to think about flowers. Which is why a New York Times article about organic flowers caught my eye. It made me wonder, how important is buying organic flowers?
It’s hard enough to find someone who is willing to buy fruit with some imperfections, but even more difficult to find someone who will tolerate blemishes on their table centerpiece. After all, flowers are a symbol of beauty, praised for their color and scent above anything else. But does that really mean we should care less where they come from or how they were grown?
Fortunately, there are many merchants and growers that feel it does matter, and they can be found online and at farmer’s market. And for California natives, we actually have the opportunity to make a difference because while 79% of flowers in the US are imported, most flower farming that does happen on US land takes place in California. Unfortunately, organic flower farming has the same limitations as food farming—it simply can’t be done at the same scale as non-organic farming. Which is why organizations like Fair Trade and VeriFlora impose strict environmental and labor standards, without necessarily requiring full organic flowers.
So this Valentine’s Day, perhaps we can all think about loving the earth as much as our loved ones. And really, if you can appreciate the beauty of a rose, is it really that far of a leap to respect the land that it comes from?