3 min read

We are honored this week to have Canadian flower farmer, Dawn Cosgrove, as our guest blogger!  Dawn shares with us the importance of buying local flowers and how it can impact these local farming families in a big way. 

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"I grew up in an era of convenience. An era where I never once questioned how it was possible that we were eating tomatoes in February or giving red roses out on Valentine's Day, even though our world was frozen and covered in a blanket of snow. I never questioned why there wasn't any scent in those flower coolers at the grocery store or even how they came to exist. But the days of not raising an eyebrow to all of this are finally coming to an end.

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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. 
  
So what exactly does this mean for you and for those flowers you regularly purchase? It means many of those flowers were grown thousands of miles away by poorly paid laborers. It means they were harvested anywhere from 1 - 4 weeks before you even laid eyes on them, ensuring you get one very short vase life. It also means they were overloaded with pesticides and covered in chemicals that would allow them to travel all those miles to get to your supermarket. In fact, I once read a study that showed roses can contain as much as 50 times the amount of pesticides legally allowed on the food we eat. But times they are a changing..

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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!).

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So how can you help support the local flower movement?

Buy only flowers that were grown in your country or even better -  if they were grown in your own community. Attend farmers markets and meet the farmers behind those beautiful blooms; build a relationship with them. Take pride in knowing those flowers on your dining room table were cut within the last 24 hours. Support your local farms by buying flower shares in their Flower CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture) - and breathe in their heavy scent and crooked stems knowing this is exactly how they were meant to be. And last but not least, grow your own! Buy a packet or two of seeds, find a space with lots of sunlight and enjoy those beautiful blooms for months to come. They say nothing ever tastes as good as homegrown but trust me, no flower is ever as beautiful either."

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.

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You can support your local flower farmer in our new tee; modeled here by the lovely Dawn herself!  Available in blush and cream!

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Share the Love!  Pin us on Pinterest!

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