Klerifying fact: The Rose species is 35 million years old and is believed to have been domesticated by the Chinese 5,000 years ago!
Valentine’s Day is just a few days away. Are you ready with the requisite flowers, dinner reservations, and other ways of doting? Flowers are a leading sign of love this time of year for that special person for whom we’d do anything. 80% of the flowers Americans purchase are imported. These flowers are mostly from Colombia and Ecuador. Sadly, flower companies in both countries don't demonstrate the same lovie dovie behavior towards the workers who grow the flowers we snap up by the dozen!
Every Rose Has Its Thorn-y Labor Issues
That sweet smell masks some pretty awful labor practices too often occurring on flower farms. Here are just some of the hidden problems masked by the floral beauty:
Farms in Ecuador often rely on child labor – as many as 1 in a dozen flowers are picked by a kid in Ecuador
Farms in Colombia and Ecuador typically don’t allow farm laborers to unionize and stand up for their rights
Working days can last up to 20 hours in peak season,
Workers are consistently exposed to carcinogenic pesticides that cause severe health issues.
Most workers on the farms are women. Far too often, these women are sexually harassed or abused by their employers and management.
You wouldn’t treat your loved one like this, so why would you buy flowers for them with such a sad treatment of the people who grew them?
So, should you stop buying flowers?
Stop, Smell the Flowers, and Look for the Right Label!
The flowers you buy this coming week can be produced ethically! If you can’t find local flowers, look for the Veriflora, Fairtrade, Florverde, and Rainforest Alliance labels on flowers. These labels mean the bouquet you buy was grown in a way that protects labor rights and the environment. Auditors check to make sure things are done well.
Flowers are important to the economies of Colombia and Ecuador, providing alternative employment and money to illegal drug activity. So, there are definitely still good reasons to buy imported flowers, make sure you buy them ethically!
Let Your Love Help Sustainability Bloom! Buy from these stores:
😃 Green Brands stores and sites to buy ethical flowers:
A Veriflora store near you: https://www.scsglobalservices.com/veriflora-preferred-retailers
A local flower store: slowflowers.com/listing/guide/local-delivery
😐 Yellow (only some bouquets sold at these stores are ethical): 1800flowers.com, Kroger, HEB, Walmart
😡 Red (tell these brands to be ethical): FTD.com, Teleflora.com, fromyouflowers.com/
We DID NOT MAKE THIS UP!!!