Spain imported 185,2 million euros worth of cut flowers and plants in 2015, flowers sold mostly on occasions such as Valentine´s Day, Mother´s Day and Todos los Santos. The majority of these come through Holland and are shipped in, even if they were grown in Spain originally.
Since the 1990´s, cheap imported flowers from South America and Africa have had an enormous impact on domestic production, both in the US and Europe. Items imported from abroad are not required to meet the same labor and environmental standards as those grown domestically. The flowers in your typical supermarket bouquet, in other words, were likely tended by underpaid laborers exposed to harmful pesticides, preserved with chemicals, and cut days or even weeks earlier.
Needless to say, this is hardly beneficial to local economies or the environment. And, much like the local food movement, Debra Prenzing and the Slow Flower movement have been working to raise awareness in the States of the impact of domestically produced flowers. Their manifesto:
Slow Flowers commits to the following practices:So, should you be of a mind to send someone some lovely flowers for Valentine´s, please consider asking for locally grown, be they American, British or Spanish grown flowers. Grown not flown.
- To recognize and respect the seasons by celebrating and designing with flowers when they naturally bloom
- To reduce the transportation footprint of the flowers and foliage consumed in the marketplace by sourcing as locally as possible
- To support flower farmers small and large by crediting them when possible through proper labeling at the wholesale and consumer level
- To encourage sustainable and organic farming practices that respect people and the environment
- To eliminate waste and the use of chemical products in the floral industry
Flowers from the Farm - UK
American Gown Flowers - CAG United States
Floret Flower Directory - US/Canada/Worldwide
Floritismo - Barcelona area Florist/Farm
FlowrswelcomeHome - Madrid area Florist/Farm
Special mention to Georgie Newbery at Common Farm Flowers in Wincanton, Somerset (I really, really want to go to one of her workshops this year).
Meanwhile, this is what it looked like here this morning. Sigh.