In the Press: Sustainable Flower News

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Lots to learn about, read about, and think about here. As you can see, we are not alone in our interest in seasonal, local and sustainable flowers — and with how the “green flower movement” is changing the floral design industry.

We are thrilled that, like us, major media outlets are tracking this compelling topic. Here is a sampling:

2010 stories

Sunset magazine (February 2010): “Flowers Without Fuss,” by Sharon Cohoon

“The most common myth about growing flowers is that you need to use herbicides or pesticides to get the best blooms. But Tara Kolla, a former public relations executive turned backyard farmer, has learned how to produce beautiful bouquets organically on her half-acre of land in L.A.’s Silver Lake district. “If I can grow cutting flowers successfully, anyone can,” says Kolla.

Los Angeles Times (February 11, 2010): “Organic flowers for Valentine’s Day? Why some shoppers are buying green instead of red this year,” by Debra Prinzing

“According to the Society of American Florists, 187 million roses are produced for Valentine’s Day alone, but only a fraction are sustainably or organically grown. As the base of eco-conscious consumers grows, flowers are joining paints, cabinets, floors and cleaning products in the realm of green shopping.”

2009 stories

Flower Magazine (Fall 2009): “Good Growing,” by Julie Keith

“As consumers look for more environmentally friendly products, growers and designers are responding with organic flowers that are just as lovely as their counterparts.”

Los Angeles Times (November 26, 2009): “Flower growers try waving the flag,” by Alana Semuels

“California (flower) farmers also need to capitalize on consumers’ growing consciousness about the environmental and social effects of the products they’re buying,” said Dan Vordale, a commissioner of the California Cut Flower Commission and vice president of sales and marketing at Ocean View Flowers in Lompoc. Multinationals that operate flower plantations in Latin America have been criticized for paying workers poorly and exposing them to harmful chemicals. Shipping flowers thousands of miles by air contributes to global warming.

“We want consumers to know they have a choice, and we hope they will want the freshness of California,” said Vordale, whose farm specializes in larkspur and delphinium.”

New York Times (November 25, 2009): “Old Standards with Modern Flourishes as Obamas Host First State Dinner,” by Rachel L. Swarns

” . . . at their first state dinner on Tuesday night, President Obama and his wife, Michelle, made sure to infuse the glittering gala with distinctive touches.

“The hired a new florist, Laura Dowling, who bedecked the tented outdoor dining room with locally grown, sustainably harvested magnolias and ivy.”

The Washington Post (September 24, 2009): “Where Bouquets are Born,” by Adrian Higgins

“To those who think all flowers these days come from Colombia or through the Dutch flower markets, (Bob) Wollam has news. ‘It’s certainly a terrific time for local flower growers. Our time has come. We have finally been able to break the noose of the importers.’”

Garden Design magazine (July 30, 2009): “How to identify sustainable or organic cut flowers,” by Damaris Colhoun

“Finding a well-designed bouquet of eco-friendly flowers is easier than you think. And no, you don’t have to hit up your own garden, or your neighbor’s, to make it happen. Whether it’s a dozen roses you’re after or a full-scale event (green wedding, anyone?), there are a number of florists, markets and websites that are committed to working with sustainable buds.”

Sunset magazine (April 2009):“Budding Ambition: Erin Benzakein has turned her two Washington acres into a sustainable flower farm,”by Debra Prinzing

“Why are sustainable flowers important? Eighty percent of the cut flowers we buy in the U.S. are imported from countries that do not have worker safety or pesticide regulations. I don’t think we should sacrifice the health of our earth, or that of the farmers, their children and animals, just to have a bunch of pretty blooms on our kitchen tables.

“If you buy your flowers locally – at a farmer’s market, from a roadside stand, or a grocery store that sources bouquets from local growers – they’re probably sustainably grown. You’ll help eliminate the use of jet fuel that flies flowers to America, keep money in your local economy and enjoy healthier and fresher blooms.”

2008 stories

Northwest Garden News (May 2008): “Flower Power – Purchase Posies Responsibly,” by Lorene Edwards Forkner

“In response to mounting awareness of the degradation of the environment in the name of beauty, a growing movement is underway to produce sustainable stems. . . . Closer to home, we can encourage and support small family farms with the bouquets we purchase at local farmers markets. It’s the one way we consumers can keep resources within the community while helping to alleviate these economically hard times.”

The Northender (March 22, 2008): “OB Florist Creates for Green Building Council Gala,” by Mary Donna Kappel

“Organic flowers . . . natural, non-toxic materials . . . chemical free fertilizers . . . safe pesticides . . . sustainable botanicals, where to start? Sustainable, or green design is a multifaceted concept embracing comfort, health, well-being, resource efficiency and environmental protection.”

Plenty (February-March 2008): “Budding Movement,” by Amy Stewart

“As the flower industry continues to grapple with what a sustainable future might look like, florists and grocery stores are wondering how their customers will respond. VeriFlora-certified bouquets have started showing up at supermarket chains, where about half of cut flowers are purchased. Karen Christensen, global produce coordinator for Whole Foods Market, reports that the company buys VeriFlora-certified tulips and lilies from Sun Valley Floral Farms, a large California grower, and organic roses from a farm in Ecuador.”

New York Times (February 3, 2008): “To Pull a Thorn From the Side of the Planet,” by Mireya Navarro

“We want the consumers to be happy at the end of the day,” says Michael Skaff, FTD’s director of design and product development. “People buy sustainable flowers because they know they’re grown in environments that are good for everybody.”

Audubon magazine (January-February 2008): “A Rose is [Not] a Rose,” by Charles Bergman

“The market has grown fast: $19 million of organic flowers were sold in the United States last year, according to the Organic Trade Association. Six years ago there were practically no eco-flowers available. [OrganicBouquet.com's Gerald] Prolman hopes to sell about $100 million worth of flowers during the next five years.”

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