Whole Living Daily

Ask Mindy: How Can I Find Eco-Friendly Flowers?

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Got a green dilemma? Ask me! I'll be answering a new question each week.

Q: I always send my mother flowers on her birthday. Which bouquets are best for the planet? —Erika Johnson

A: Conventional bouquets can come with some thorny issues. Eighty percent of cut flowers purchased in the United States are imported from countries where workers are often not receiving fair wages and governments do not restrict the use
of dangerous pesticides. (For example, a 2006 Harvard study showed that children born to women working in the Ecuadorian flower industry had impaired
brain development due to prenatal pesticide exposure.) Happily, the marketplace for healthy, eco-conscious flowers is continuing to blossom. You can even find responsibly grown bouquets from mass retailers like FTD.com and Costco. So show how big your heart truly is by purchasing one of the bouquets in the slideshow below or checking the website or packaging for the green labels after the jump.

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1 of 4

1 Provence Bouquet

2 Moon Over Paris

3 Irises

4 Classic Red Roses

1. $80, Organic Style
2. $50, One World Flowers
3. $49, Flowerbud.com
4. $50, Organic Bouquet

Fair Trade Certified
This label means the flowers come from sustainable farms that provide fair wages and safe, clean conditions for workers and also help fund community development projects.

USDA Organic Certified
No synthetic pesticides or fertilizers are used at any time during the growing process.

Veriflora
A third party (Scientific Certification Systems) has determined that both the workers and the natural resources are protected during production.

Rainforest Alliance Certified
The green frog seal means that the farm follows Sustainable Agriculture Network standards for limiting pesticides and providing access to health care and education to workers and their families.

Mindy Pennybacker regularly answers readers' green-living questions. She is also editor of GreenerPenny.com and author of Do One Green Thing: Saving the Earth Through Simple, Everyday Choices.

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Comments (5)

  • We love the largest cut flower farm in Texas - Texas Specialty Cut Flowers, otherwise known as Arnosky's Flower Farm. They supply Central Market, Whole Foods and HEB (Texas' own grocery chain) with beautiful cut flowers grown with environmentally sensitive practices.
    Just thought you might like to add them to your list!

  • I think your article did a big disservice to the small local florist and wholesaler. What was inferred in the article was only big box or mass marketers are the only ones responsible enough to make the eco friendly choice. I have to strongly disagree. Smaller/local florists and wholesalers have many of the same concerns regarding the eco friendliness of the production and sourcing of the flowers they receive and have the same availablity of those eco-friendly products the mass retailer has. All the consumer has to do is ask. Any reputiable florist/wholersaler would gladly tell you the origin of the product and whether or not it has one of the seals mentioned. I have been in the floral business for 8 years+ and can tell you most of the products I have received and used have had at least one of the seals you mention to look for.
    So, please don't discount your local florist when looking for an eco-friendly bouquet, plus in most cases, it will be cheaper and more beautiful than that of the mass retailer.
    Thanks you.

  • I wholeheartedly agree that we should buy local first, whenever we can. The following is from my original article, which had to be cut for space.

    If you’d like to avoid the carbon footprint of long-distance shipping, search for flowers near your Valentine’s zip code–or in the nearest year-round growing clime, such as California, Florida or Hawaii--at localharvest.org. Or, visit your neighborhood flower shop and ask them to have a florist in your recipient’s area fill and deliver the order. That way, you’re benefitting both locales!

    Thank you for your very good and green advice.

  • And thanks to Pam for the tip re Arnosky's Flower Farm! Texas has long been a leader in organic agriculture, and I'm proud to add this company to my list.

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