Do you realize 75% of flowers sold to consumers in the United States were imported from South America?
Why? Because farming is a labor based industry, and greater profits can be had for businesses that sell cheaper flowers sourced from countries with less stringent labor laws than the United States. But wait…those countries are far away, and the flowers you see at the grocery store are fresh. Correct. Even with the cost of quickly transporting fresh flowers before they die, the disparity in labor costs means businesses can still afford a hefty profit from importing cut flowers.
This is an ongoing problem with free trade. Many USA industries depend on the outsourcing of labor or materials. The problem is it has caused a huge chain reaction. Employment in the United States is down. Consumer spending is down. Consumers are choosing the least expensive items. We can’t afford to worry about politics or where products are coming from. I am at fault as much as anyone–I feel I have to find a bargain on the items I purchase, though I do shop at my local farmers markets as much as possible.
“If the consumer starts realizing where those flowers come from, they may take a different approach – and they may prefer a domestically grown flower, even though the price may be slightly higher,” said Lane DeVries, former chairman of the California Cut Flower Commission.
Kasey Cronquist, the commission’s executive director, said he wishes Americans were as passionate about U.S. products as they were while watching the Olympics.”We love our teams and we love our country. . . . Why then don’t we see more of that passion translate to other things, like the cars, the food and the flowers we buy?” he asked.
Please read more on this issue here: Mount Vernon grower says U.S. trade policy hurting domestic flower sales
As a member of the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers I am friends with a diverse group of flower farmers across the country. Mellano & Co which has 2 farm locations with 70 acres in Southern California distributing flowers across the country.
Another distributor of fresh cut flowers is Jello Mold Farm, 6 acres of farmland in Mount Vernon, WA that sell locally to a 100 mile radius of their farm. They helped start the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market a farmer-owned cooperative providing the very best the Pacific Northwest has to offer in cut flowers, greens and ornamentals from sixteen Washington, Oregon and Alaska flower farms.
Most people can locate small farms in their region like my own–a 2 acre farm seasonally selling regionally at farmers markets, local specialty stores, florists and wedding couples.
By going to The Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers website you can find the closest flower farm near you and contact them about seasonal availability.
Point being is we all need to realize we have the power to make change. By choosing to spend a few cents more hear and there it will have a trickle down effect on the USA economy. Stores will stock “USA Grown and Made” if we continue to only purchase those items.
My father always said ” Money talks and bullshit walks”. Even though he passed on 31 years ago. This quote is the strongest memory I have of my father, because he used it so often with such passion. In a capitalist nation it is true. You have the power to make change with how you spend you money and you don’t have to be wealthy to be powerful.
When you demand USA Grown Flowers you Vote with your Dollars!!! If stores don’t have USA Grown consider shopping somewhere else. Tell them your willing to pay a bit more knowing your supporting USA grown. Please share this post with others.. so we can inform each other to make change. Thank you.
Another way you can help: going to the link and send an email to your Representative in Congress asking them to join the caucus and help support and advocate for USA cut flowers and greens! – Vote for Flowers!!!
Diane Szukovathy says
Nice, thoughtful post, Nicole. Thank you for caring so much!