Feb 11, 2009
Wouldn't it be nice to have a sustainably grown flower garden to enjoy year-round? It's just not possible in many parts of the country. So, is the next best thing a vase of gorgeous flowers? Not exactly. While receiving an unexpected bouquet can certainly brighten your day, fresh-cut flowers are a bit of an eco-nightmare. Most of the flowers sold in U.S. markets are grown overseas in developing countries where they're produced in huge, poorly vented greenhouses. To reach us, they're shipped thousands of miles, belching fossil fuels along the way.
Workers are exposed to terrible poisons because ungodly amounts of pesticides and herbicides are sprayed onto flowers, says Ronnie Cummins, national director of the Organic Consumers Association. Learning about the origins of conventional bouquets is more than enough to kill the romance surrounding them. Luckily, sustainable flower options are sprouting up nationwide.
- If you buy conventional flowers, wear gloves when arranging them to protect against pesticide residues, and place the flowers in a well-ventilated area.
- Buy organic flowers. Look for the USDA Certified Organic label; if you can't find them in your neighborhood order some from a national source, such as Organic Bouquet, .organicbouquet.com, or Diamond Organics, diamondorganics.com.
- Ask local shopkeepers where their flowers came from, and tell them that you'd be happier to buy if they could provide local and/or organic sources.
Reprinted from Green, Greener, Greenest by Lori Bongiorno by arrangement with Perigee, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., Copyright © 2008 by Lori Bongiorno. Buy the book on Amazon
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