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Do you know where your flowers come from??

When I started growing flowers two years ago, it was to help increase the pollinators in my garden so I would have a better vegetable yield and to encourage beneficial bugs to help with pest management. Little did I know that those first zinnias and cosmos would lead me down the path to full blown flower farming! It wasn’t until I jumped in full force that I started to learn more about the true status of the floral industry in the United States.  I think many people would be as surprised as I was to learn about where our flowers come from. So, I wanted to take some time today to share a little bit about the history of the US floral industry and why this has made me even more passionate about providing local flowers to our community.

First flower garden planted in 2021 to increase pollinators and benefical bugs

A days vegetable haul in Summer 2021 and some of the first flowers harvested from the flower garden addition in 2021

The history of the US floral industry as with any industry has changed over time. Initially, flowers were cultivated by people for personal use in their home gardens. Flowers later gained commercial traction with the development of transportation networks throughout the US during the 19th century. By the 20th century, commercial flower production soared, spurred on by technological advancements and favorable climates in various states like California and Florida. This all changed when trade laws made the importation of flowers from other countries cheaper than locally grown flowers.

Floral Statistics: Imported vs. US Grown Flowers

Did you know that about 80% of flowers sold in the US are imported (leaving only 20% being locally grown)? Yep, that is a lot of flowers grown in other countries! This was a big shock to me when I learned this. Most imported flowers come from Columbia, Ecuador, and the Netherlands.

The Dark Side of Imported Blooms: Cheap Labor & Environmental Concerns

No doubt imported flowers are cheaper. But there is always a downside to everything. These imported flowers often support cheap labor practices (including child labor), where workers might not get fair wages or have good working conditions. The cheaper labor enables cheaper flower production and therefore cheaper pricing.

Not only is the labor cheaper but often, imported flowers are treated with pesticides and herbicides, posing risks to both consumers (health) and the environment (affecting local ecosystems and water sources).

Moreover, imported flowers embark on long journeys before reaching our shores, resulting in blooms that are already aged, losing freshness and vitality by the time they arrive. This leads to poor vase life.

Why Choose & Embrace Locally Grown Blooms?

Choosing locally grown flowers transcends mere beauty; it is a conscious decision to stand up for ethical practices, supporting our local communities and investing in a greener, more sustainable future. Buying locally grown blooms leads to:

1.    Fresher, Safer Blooms:  Let us talk about quality! Locally grown flowers are different from your average grocery store flowers! They are fresher and safer (less chemicals!). They also have a longer vase life than imported blooms!

2.    Supporting Communities:  Purchasing locally grown flowers supports local farmers and businesses who then put their money back into their communities.

3.    Reduced Environmental Impact:  By opting for locally grown flowers, you help to minimize carbon footprints associated with transportation of imported flowers.

4.    An appreciation for the seasonality of flowers: One learns to appreciate flowers even more when we embrace them for the season or time they represent and the uniqueness that each flower has. There is something to be said about connecting with nature's rhythms and celebrating the fleeting moments each season offers. These blooms teach us to appreciate change, cherish the present, and find joy in the ebbs and flow of life. This is something our world needs especially now when we are on to the next thing before we truly appreciate another.

The Healing Power of Flowers: History, Culture, and Health Benefits

Flowers aren’t just pretty! Flowers have played pivotal roles in history and culture, symbolizing emotions, rituals, and traditions across civilizations. From ancient herbal remedies to modern wellness practices, flowers offer health benefits, reducing stress, and enhancing mood—a true testament to their therapeutic prowess. They are nature’s healers-reducing stress and boosting our mood! I feel this whenever I look at or hold the flowers I grow. It is why I cannot live without them now!

Cultivating Change: Supporting Locally Grown Blooms

The United States floral industry isn't merely about blooms—it's a story of conscious choices, sustainability, and cultural heritage. As we adorn our spaces and celebrations with flowers, I hope you will consider the stories they tell, the communities they support, and the healing and wellness they bring.

So, choosing locally grown flowers isn't just a purchase—it's a statement. It's about quality, community, and taking care of ourselves and the planet.  As a local flower farmer, I want my customers to know that I am committed to growing flowers that help the earth and not hinder it. Not only is it my goal to provide you with high quality, beautiful flowers but most importantly, I want to share the joy and beauty that only flowers can bring. My other hope is that you would learn to embrace the seasonality of flowers that only locally grown flowers can provide and choose to support locally grown flowers when you have the chance.

"Where Flowers does Hope." Lady Bird Johnson


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