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Choosing a flowery footprint

This is a thought provoking article.  If you care about provenance, sustainable produce and the environment please take a wee minute and read on.

We know U.K. growers like ourselves couldn’t supply a high street florist year round (we couldn’t at the moment).  And that’s ok.  We are also not anti-Valentines Day.  So what’s this about?

As farmers we maybe have an advantage in our understanding of provenance (where our food comes from) and seasonality … that which is in season now.  There is a lot more understanding from consumers of how to put an informed choice on our plates, especially now it’s so easy to “check the label” for the likes of the Red Tractor or the Scotch PGI which assure minimum standards on welfare, food safety and traceability. 

So, what of the other produce on your shopping list?

More of us now question what changes could we make to our daily routine, weekly shop or social habits especially in relation to the footprint we leave behind.

However most will never have considered that of the flowers they buy.  Around 12% of flowers “consumed” in the U.K. are grown here.  The remaining are imported.  That’s a whole lot of energy requirement to just ship them here … let alone the single use packaging. 

A recent study of CO2 emissions shows that buying the equivalent U.K. grown stems can contain 95% less than the import.

Many of the roses available for Valentine’s Day are grown in greenhouses in Kenya or the Netherlands – neither an ideal scenario.  Dutch houses require an incredible energy input to heat alone, while the Kenyan ones not needing a heated input (because they have so much sun) do put pressure on water resources.  A rose stem requires around 10 litres of water to reach full size.  Like everything though it’s balance, these farms are however providing an income stream to those who work on them (I’ve not even begun to delve into working conditions though).

It’s all a matter of making informed decisions and shopping consciously isn’t it?

It’s just a small thing but imagine you could shop consciously for flowers knowing where that stem came from and whether it’s taken tonnes of diesel and plastic to get it here.  Maybe that matters to you? 

Many supermarkets do now label U.K. grown flowers when they are in store.  Finding a local grower such as ourselves is easier now you can use the like of Flowers From The Farm.

There’s a huge opportunity now for growers to bridge that gap with the consumer.  These things can only happen by understanding, education and knowledge transfer and we are always looking forwards.

Kelly x

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