Friday, 17 May 2013

Organic Tip # 6: What's So Great About Organic Flowers?

What could be more organic than a pretty pink tulip, glistening with dew and growing out of the rich soil and into the sunlight, right?

Wrong!  Unless that delicate tulip came from your own garden, how do you really know how it's been treated?  Luckily there are now organic certifiers for plants.  Look for their logo and rest assured about the origin and treatment of your flowers.

5 GREAT things about organic flowers:
  1. Organic flowers are eco-friendly and has the least negative impact on the environment (when compared to conventionally grown flowers)
  2. Toxic chemical usage is minimized or eliminated.  That means no harsh and artificial pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers or other funky chemicals. 
  3. Organic flowers are good for the soil.  When you add harsh chemicals to soil, some of the nutrients are lost and the natural pH is thrown off balance.  Dry, lifeless sand does not grow nice looking flowers, so conventional farmers need to add more chemicals back into the soil to regain the nutrients that are lost.  This creates a cycle of growing that does not and cannot work long term. 
  4. Growing organic plants are safer for farmers and farm workers.  You know when you're looking at your garden (or lawn) and wondering how you can easily remove the weeds, without using chemicals that might be dangerous for your children and pets.  Well think about the people who do this for a living.  Do you want others to handle potentially harmful chemicals, exposing themselves to numerous health risks daily?
  5. Research consistently shows that organic farming is far better for the environment and more sustainable than conventional farming (food or flowers).  Organic growing methods honor the natural cycles of plants, harnesses the helpful assistance of insects, birds, water and the sun.     
And now for the age ol' question ... how will I know which flowers are organic?

Veriflora  is a third party sustainability certification program for fresh cut flowers and potted plants.  Their website outlines their main objective as: 
"Encouraging farming practices that build soil, conserve water and support healthy ecosystems.  Promoting a healthy, equitable workplace that supports farmers, workers, their families and the community.  Supporting handling practices from seed to store that allow you to enjoy flowers and plants that look beautiful and last longer."
On closer inspection I couldn't find the word organic anywhere, but instead a healthy plethora of sustainability instead (me thinks the lawyers are responsible for that one).  However Veriflora seems to be the front runner on organic cut flower certification, and it seems that they are doing a good job so far.  

Did you know that the trusty Fairtrade logo is popping up on flowers too?  And Fairtrade is not just about paying a fair wage, it's also about the health and safety of workers.  According to the Fairtrade Canada website, "a detailed set of safety regulations specific to flower production limit the use of agrochemicals and prohibit the use of banned pesticides."  Again no mention of our favourite word organic ... but we'll get there one day.  Baby steps.

Where do you get your cut flowers?

1 comment:

Mary Mo said...

OH thank you for this. I always wondered about how flowers could be fair trade. Nice blog.

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