Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and with it comes the giving and receiving of cut flower arrangements. And while beautiful bouquets are romantic and seem to be a natural and environmentally conscious choice, they actually have a very large environmental and water footprint. Fortunately, there are plenty of Valentine’s Day flower options that are both romantic and environmentally friendly.
Environmental Impact of Traditional Cut Flowers
The United States imports about 80% of all its cut flowers, with 90% of those imports coming from Latin America, where pesticide use is rampant and unregulated. In Colombia, flower plantation workers are routinely exposed to over 125 types of pesticides – pesticides that are outlawed in the U.S. because of their toxicity. In fact, over 65% of flower workers in Colombia suffer from work-related illnesses, including rashes, headaches, miscarriages and birth defects, respiratory issues, and premature death. In addition, transporting cut flowers from Latin America to U.S. retailers utilizing airplanes, refrigerated trucks, and cold storage comes at a price of six pounds of greenhouse gases per bouquet. And the water footprint is just as dreary: growing a single rose uses up to 13 liters of water, and Latin American streams and groundwater have been polluted and radically depleted by flower farms. Admittedly, flowers are as integral a part of Valentine’s Day as organic, fair-trade chocolate and recycled greeting cards printed with soy-based ink. So we’ve come up with some options to satisfy any green romantic.
For a listing of locally grown flowers, head over to Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers where you can search for sources by location and flower type. If you need delivery, look for online retailers who sell only organic flowers. California Organic Growers provides organically grown flowers from California farms. They even ship them overnight!
Organic, Live Plants
Living plants are a beautiful and eco-conscious option for Valentine’s Day. Organic Bouquet offers a nice range of whimsical and organically grown living plant arrangements, and they also ship overnight.
Seeds of Love
For those of you who want something even more environmentally conscious, plant organic flower seeds in a pretty pot with organic potting soil. Then just attach a card with a photo of the flowers-to-be that says “Water these flowers and watch them grow like our love.” Bonus: this is high on the romance scale!
These paper flowers are both lovely and eco-friendly, but they do require a bit of time and crafting ability. Think of it as a labor of love! For full instructions on these pretty paper pansies, click here.
Be a Greenie to your Sweetie
Valentine’s Day is about showing our love, and what better way than to show love towards our sweetheart as well as our environment? This year, help protect the world’s water supply, our fellow humans, and our environment by choosing eco-conscious Valentine’s Day flowers. Your sweetheart – and your great-grandchildren – will thank you.