We talk a lot about food miles, organics, and sustainable practices with food choices, our homes, and our gardens… what about the flowers we put on the table next to the meal? And the ones we send to loved ones in times of celebration, congratulations, or condolences? How were they grown, what were they sprayed with, and how far have they traveled?
Generally speaking, the floral industry is notoriously UN-eco-friendly, often grown with chemical insecticides, bloom-boosting chemical fertilizers, then shipped from other continents to arrive in your local floral case for your bouquet. Nowhere do you find long-stemmed roses budding in Ohio in January, yet there they are in the florist’s case. While this is an amazing example of worldwide trade, it’s not a great way to live greener or reduce our commerce miles.
The good news is, some florists are now working with local growers, which cuts down on travel miles right off the bat. Next, smaller local farms can carry a larger selection of truly interesting varieties, including heirlooms and regional cultivars quite different from the standards, bringing back the incredible fragrance which has been bred out of floral offerings in exchange for the ability to survive international travel. Finally, organic and sustainable practices can be utilized to fulfill a new demand for precisely that, and as you know this welcomes wildlife back into the floral farm.
Organic floral designers want you to know that you can still have elegant, sophisticated arrangements – a seasonal, organic bouquet doesn’t just mean a mason jar of prairie flowers. (Unless, of course, that’s what you want!) There is something lovely to us about anything encouraging seasonality to bouquets. Not just seasonally-themed, but actually made from the flowers, leaves, seedpods, and twigs that celebrate the best of what is happening outdoors, right here, right now!
We visit several florists and farmers making big strides in creating a beautiful, sustainable floral system together with their communities of customers, designers, and event planners.
Links for this episode:
- Jello Mold Farm, Seattle
- Lila B Floral Design, San Francisco (also featured in Ep 214: Small Space Gardening)
- The Secrets Behind Your Flowers – Smithsonian Magazine
- Joe’s blog post on this episode