When you buy flowers this Valentine's Day, do you know where they traveled from?
About 80% of cut flowers in the US have been imported from other countries such as Colombia and Ecuador. However, there are some drawbacks to buying flowers that have been flown in from other countries. These include chemical pesticides and fungicides, lack of vase life, and uniformity of flowers bred to travel for days. (1)
Here are a few reasons to consider buying local flowers:
1) Distance. Local flowers have a shorter distance to travel to get to you. Instead of being imported from another country over a week, your flowers traveled from field to your hands in hours rather than days. They have been picked fresh at the coolest time of day, placed into water immediately, and usually processed into bouquets or arrangements the same day. All of this means that your flowers will last much longer.
2) Know the farmer and the farm. By buying flowers locally, you have the opportunity to get to know the farmer who grew the flowers. This comes with the benefit of being able to find out how the flowers are grown. Most local flowers are organically and/or naturally-grown. Many local flower farms choose to use no-till methods and are trying to support soil health in order to get the healthiest plants possible. The farmers are invested in the stewardship of their land and want to pass those benefits on to you in the beautiful flower crop they grow.
3) Variety of flowers. Because the flowers are grown locally you will have access to a wide variety of different flowers that are too delicate to travel long distances. There will be more variety in your arrangements and bouquets, different colors, and even delicate smells. Buying locally also means that the types of flowers available will change as the seasons change, which brings greater variety to your arrangements and bouquets. You can look forward to tulips, daffodils, ranunculus, sweet peas, and anemones in the spring; roses, zinnia, cosmos, and iris in the summer; and dahlias, sunflowers, and chrysanthemums in the fall.
4) Supporting your community. By buying local flowers, you are making an investment in your community, in the lives of the farmers around you who work hard to grow the beauty that you enjoy. You are also supporting pollinators in your area as flowers provide a food source for many insects that help to pollinate other crops growing in the region.