Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest days of the year for buying fresh flowers. And being in the middle of February, at least up here in Canada, not many of us are plucking flowers from our own gardens or greenhouses.
This means our flowers are shipped from warmer climates, generally South America (in the UK, it seems to be Africa). Our batches of roses are produced by large flower farms, unfortunately with bad reputations when it comes to environmental responsibility and employee welfare. However, like coffee and chocolate, you can make the decision to buy flowers with certified by the Fairtrade Federation or Rainforest Alliance. Read more about Fairtrade and flowers at the Tyee.
Here in Vancouver, we are lucky to have the large distributor, Florimex, that has made a commitment to carry only Fairtrade flowers. I was still surprised how few florists in the city I could find that offered Fairtrade blooms. Both Whole Foods and Choices carry them, and the incredible Olla Flowers in Gastown also offers delivery. None of the big floral delivery companies had Fairtrade options.
In the UK, things are a little better on that front. Interflora has Fairtrade options, as well as Waitrose, Marks & Spencer, Tesco and Sainsbury’s.
Or you can choose a different kind of bouquet for Valentine’s, local evergreen foliage in a beautiful vase, or as I suggested last year on VancouverMom.ca, local orchids grown in greenhouses in Abbotsford. There are also beautiful paper flowers available from West Elm, or Crate & Barrel.
So, let’s vote with our purchases this Valentine’s and choose Fair Trade.