Local flowers coast to coast

by Debra Prinzing on March 12, 2012

in The Book Project,The Sustainable Marketplace

Sustainability Terms and Local Flower Resources

Hello listeners of Martha Stewart Living Radio. Today’s conversation with Martha’s gardening editorial director Stephen Orr included a mention of sustainability terms used in our forthcoming book, The 50 Mile Bouquet. I promised to share them (below). But first, here are some tips for finding a local flower farmer in your community:

  • Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Click on “Growers” and search by variety to find growers in your region.
  • California Cut Flower Commission. Select “Flower Lovers” and then “Meet a Farmer” to find a directory of flower farmers in California. Some sell directly to the consumer, while others may refer you to a retail source.
  • Local Harvest. Search an online directory of farmers’ markets, CSA farms, and organic farms all around the country. You can search by product or region to find local growers.
  • California Organic Flowers. If you can’t find a flower farmer nearby, you can order bouquets year-round from this organic farm in Northern California.

A Sustainability Primer

The terminology and definitions used in our book – and in the flower industry – are used by state and federal certification agencies, as well as by numerous third-party certification organizations.

Here is a list of those terms:

Biodynamics: Considered a holistic method of agriculture, the term is based on a philosophy that all aspects of the farm should be treated as an interrelated whole. ✜

California Certified Organic: California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) has been certifying products as organic since 1973 and is accredited by the USDA. Only products containing at least 95% organic ingredients may display the USDA Organic seal in addition to the certifier’s logo. ▲

Certified Organic: Used to describe an item grown according to strict uniform standards verified by independent state or private organizations. ✿

CSA: An abbreviation for Community Supported Agriculture, CSA is a system in which consumers support a local farm by paying in advance for agricultural products. This reduces the financial risks for the farmer because the costs of seeds and planting crops are covered in advance by consumers. ✜

Fair Trade Certified: To bear this label, products must be grown by small-scale producers democratically organized in either cooperatives or unions. In order to use the Fair Trade Certified label, the buyer must also be willing to pay up to 60% of the purchase in advance for some products, with added premiums for social development projects, including health care, educational and capacity-building projects that can improve quality of life for farming communities. ✿

IPM: Integrated Pest Management (IPM) refers to various methods of natural pest control, such as habitat manipulation, biological control, and pest-resistant plants. Pesticides are used in the smallest possible amounts only when other techniques prove inadequate. ✜

Local: As is the case with the term “sustainable,” there are numerous definitions of “local.” In 2008 Congress passed H.R. 2419, which amended the “Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act.” In the amendment, “locally” and “regionally” are grouped together and are defined as:

(I) the locality or region in which the final product is marketed, so that the total distance that the product is transported is less than 400 miles from the origin of the product; or (II) the State in which the product is produced. – Bill Text – 110th Congress (2007-2008) – THOMAS (Library of Congress) In May 2010 the USDA acknowledged this definition in an informational leaflet. Those who prefer to eat locally grown/produced food sometimes call themselves locavores.

Organic: According to a definition adopted by the National Organic Standards Board in 1997, “organic agriculture” is an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. ✿

Salmon Safe: A program that recognizes farm and other land use operations that contribute to restoring stream eco-system health in important native salmon fisheries of the Pacific Northwest. ❖

Sustainable: A product can be considered sustainable if its production enables the resources from which it was made to continue to be available for future generations. The drawback of the term ‘sustainable’ is that it lacks a clear-cut, universally-accepted, enforceable definition – thus it can be interpreted in different ways. It is more of a philosophy or way of life than a label. ✜

Veriflora: An agricultural sustainability certification and eco-labeling program recognized in the floriculture and horticulture industries. ★

Quoted and referenced sources:

✿ The Organic Trade Association (www.ota.com)

✜ Sustainable Table (www.sustainabletable.org/intro/dictionary/)

▲ Green Choices/Consumer Reports (www.greenerchoices.org)

❖ Salmon Safe (www.salmonsafe.org)

◆ USDA: (www.ers.usda.gov/Publications/ERR97/ERR97_ReportSummary.pdf)

★ Veriflora (www.veriflora.com)

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