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The next time you buy flowers should you choose organic flowers?
Until fairly recently I did not know I could buy organic flowers. I eat organic food and buy organic products when I can but I gave no thought to the flowers that I bought for myself or others. When I thought about it, it made sense.
Growing flowers like growing any other crop usually involves the use of fumigants and pesticides. For many growers looking to produce the most beautiful blooms this is the easiest, cheapest and most effective way to go. Some of the chemicals being used have been banned in this country but find their way to other countries. The effects they have on the environment are a major problem when groundwater, soil and local wildlife are affected by heavy chemical use. A new breed of growers are finding better alternatives to growing that are safer for us and the planet.
But this is only one part of picture.
Most of the flowers we see at florists or in the grocery stores are grown in other countries like Columbia or Africa. For many growers, concerns for the workers and the environment take a back seat when it comes to getting their flowers to market so choosing to grow flowers organically is rare.
Workers many of them women and even children are often inadequately protected from the chemicals and can be forced to work for hours in fumigated greenhouses or out in the fields spraying plants. Workers have been found to have symptoms of pesticide poisoning such as nausea, headaches, dizziness and trembling. I would guess some of them do not know the dangers and those that do may have no other choice in countries with few work options.
We Are All Affected
I suppose some might think this is a problem of another country. But hundreds of million of these flowers come right here to us. They are freshly cut in the field or greenhouse and handled as little as possible to preserve the blooms. There is no removal of pesticides. They are then dipped in chemical preservatives to ensure fresh arrival.
These flowers are shipped to florists, who will handle them and manipulate them into beautiful displays for us to enjoy. There is a concern about the everyday exposure of florists to residual pesticides. And I don't know about you but when I receive flowers I smell and handle them too.
My exposure is probably minor in comparison but the Organic Trade Association says that for those of us concerned about exposure to pesticides we should consider what we might be breathing in. So for someone who works at eliminating exposure to chemicals for yourself and your family removing one more source is a good thing.
Where To Shop
There are a few growers that have connected the dots. They realize the possible risks to growers, workers, consumers and the environment and have decided to find better alternatives to traditional growing.
Unfortunately, at the present there are only a few organic growers which means limited flower varieties are available but buying organic flowers is just one option. Consider looking for flowers grown in a more eco friendly way. Depending on where you live you may be lucky enough to find local growers or greenhouses who are growing in a more eco friendly way, a great choice saving on shipping costs and energy. Also check out Local Harvest for growers near you.
The best place to shop is online and here are a few places to check out:
Organic Style carries flowers from Organic Bouquet. One of the first online retailers to offer organic flowers. Their commitment to organic flowers and safe working conditions for growers and the environment is evident.
Beautiful red, orange and white roses, lilies, daisies and more can be found here. Purchases here are backed by Amazon making it much easier to feel comfortable with making an online purchase. (Flowers at the top of the page are from Organic Style.)
USDA Organic certified flowers grown at a family farm in California and shipped anywhere in the U.S.. Varieties include Anemones, Lilies and Narcissus.
Now you can feel good about saying it with flowers, organic flowers that is.
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