I’m always excited when sourcing sustainably grown flowers for the shop. One of our suppliers has come up trumps this year for Valentine’s Day. I really like Frank and Shane at Clogg Wholesale in Manchester, they know their stuff and they know the farms where most of their flowers are grown. Traceability of imported flowers is important here at Wild & Wondrous. Even though we strive to use as many British grown flowers as possible in the shop, it is difficult at this time of the year, and when love is in the air, roses are a must.
Buying imported roses always troubles me; Dutch grown roses have basic green standards, but they are forced, uniform and quite expensive. Farms in Africa grow roses under less stringent regulations - they may be cheap but that comes at a huge environmental cost. The Guardian wrote an interesting piece back 2011 about this exact subject, in which they connected the demand from supermarkets for cheap roses, especially on Valentine’s Day, with the damage the industry is having on the environment. Around 70% of roses sold in European supermarkets are supplied from Naivasha Lake region of Kenya. I would have thought/hoped that things would have started to change but unfortunately not! Naivasha lake is shrinking dramatically and being poisoned by flower growing run off. It’s believed that if something isn’t done to control the flower farms and their current practices, the lake will dry up within 20 years. If you want to find out more I have included a few links below.
On a positive more note, there are some developing countries growing stunning flowers, ethically and sustainably. The South American farms of Ecuador are more considerate to the environment and their workers. Ecuador is a relatively new player on the global flower market, specialising in roses. The roses really are top quality and stunning new varieties are being developed all the time.
Wild & Wondrous will be stocking the new red rose ‘Explorer’, this year, grown by Ecoroses in Ecuador.
Ecoroses is certified by The Rainforest Alliance and FlorEcuador. The Rainforest Alliance is constantly searching for methods to preserve the biodiversity and foster sustainable living by transforming farming practices, business and consumer behaviour. FlorEcuador strives to improve the production system of producers, introducing cleaner production processes. On the social front, it aims to ensure a safe work environment for human resources, thus minimizing labour risks and creating social wellbeing through staff training and development. Check out their website:
We live in a global economy, that is difficult to ignore, but we can as retailers and consumers make informed choices about what we buy!
Links of interest:
Smithers, Rebecca. The Guardian, Growing Valentine’s Day roses harming Kenya’s ecological site
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/feb/14/valentines-day-roses-kenya Monday 14 February 2011
Maxey, Corbin. Dead Beauty: How flowers are killing Kenya’s Lake Naivasha, Web http://corbinmaxey.com/rose-the-tragic-rise-and-fall-of-kenyas-lake-naivasha/
Heimbuch, Jaymi. “Are Cut Flowers Killing the Wildlife in Kenya’s Lake Naivasha?”Treehugger. Mother Nature Network, 06/17/2010. Web. 23 Feb. 2014. http://www.treehugger.com/natural-sciences/are-cut-flowers-killing-the-wildlife-in-kenyas-lake-naivasha.html.
McQuaid, John. “The Secrets Behind Your Flowers.” Smithsonian Magazine. 02 2011: 1-4. Web. 23 Feb. 2014. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/the-secrets-behind-your-flowers-53128/?page=1
“Naivasha Flower Farm.” Conservation Media- Kenya. N.p., 05/24/2011. Web. 23 Feb. 2014. http://blogs.stlawu.edu/conservationmediakenya/tag/lake-naivasha/
Williams, Jeremy. “The price of Kenyan roses and the tragedy of Lake Naivasha.” Make Wealth History. N.p., 02 13 2009. Web. 20 Feb. 2014. http://makewealthhistory.org/2009/02/13/the-price-of-kenyan-roses-and-the-tragedy-of-lake-naivasha/