It is estimated that over 70% of the cut flowers sold in North America are not grown in North American soil. Instead they are grown mostly in South America (Colombia in particular) after they flooded the American markets when the Andean Trade Preference Agreement was passed in 1991 - eliminating tariffs on numerous products from Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Suddenly cheap, duty-free cut flowers took over, devastating North American flower farms.
Small flower farms are experiencing a sort of renaissance. The local flower movement is gaining momentum and buyers are starting to take note. Since 2013, many chain stores have started carrying bouquets labeled American and Canadian Grown - allowing the buyer the knowledge that those flowers were grown, gathered and bunched together right here in North America. When you buy locally grown flowers you are not only funneling money back in to your own economy, but you are supporting local farmers, giving them the chance to continue to bring you fresh, unique flowers that would otherwise never be available at your supermarket (i.e. Dahlias!).
So how can you help support the local flower movement?
Interested in hearing more about Dawn's story as a Flower Farmer?
We interviewed her as part of our Support Your Local Farmer series. Check it out here.