“Nothing good is ever easy”, and if it is… then it usually is not worth anything.
When I began this ‘eco-green American thing” with my business, as is offhanded remarked to me; I had no idea how I would do it, I just knew I had to do something or change careers. As a serious environmentalist and avid user of everything natural; I one day began to wonder about my flower business. I am an inquisitive person and I asked to myself; when did those fragrant, American Beauty roses stop being available and what about those big, fluffy CA carnations? I thought about all the wedding cakes I had decorated with flowers- was that a good thing to do? And what exactly is floral foam anyway? I really could not answer myself and I am a florist!
So I researched; which led me deep into EPA reports, US trade agreements, product manufacturers, and organic chemistry. You know, sometimes you just overlook that which is everyday in front of you. We all do it. I was not really prepared for the answers and astonished at what I found out, for many reasons, but two mainly. The massive, toxic, chemical use; and that almost zero of all the everyday florist products were made in America any longer. Even worse, there was no import duty on fresh flowers. I had a lapful with more than one issue to deal with; operating a green business, offering eco friendly products, and patronizing my own country. It was a major epiphany for me.
This weekend we celebrate with all sort of fanfare, the independence of our America. We celebrate our freedom from controlling people and countries; we celebrate our beautiful land with its magnificent National Parks. Our Native Americans knew, and still know. They fought to protect it long before anyone else, and today I believe are more astute than we are. I wonder this weekend if we deserve to celebrate and how proud those who fought years ago would be of us; or instead would they be just a little ashamed for what we have allowed to happen-for ease and money. In my industry, nearly 80% of the flowers sold anywhere in the US are imported; along with chemicals and everything from petroleum based plastics and card holders to foams, are filling our beautiful American lands- landfills that is. What a travesty for a Nature thought of business and I was a contributor.
So, I chose not to participate as such any longer and did what I had the American freedom and power to do with my business-change it. I was a little idealistic at the difficulty and the extra labor it would entail, but I have a passion and I just knew I could do it. Now 10 years later, I have an eco- florist and I have fought and won my own independence from the imported flowers and all the rest. I searched out American farms from NY to CA and my coolers are filled with over 30 varieties every week. From May to November it escalates upwards to 60+ with our Eastern season in full swing. The US has much stricter chemical regulations, and the life of these true, freshly cut flowers is triple; and….the money stays here supporting our country.
Worth the Cost?
Many think a higher cost; and yes they are a little more expensive. However, the quality is like night and day to the imports. I would bet on one of my CA Eufloria roses against a Columbian rose any day of the week for beauty, scent, and longevity. So, is 50 cents more for a rose really that hard to swallow? Not according to anyone through my doors; the quality is obvious and I am so happy to hear it. There has not been one informed person in 10 years that has not praised the flowers and gladly paid their worth.
Along the way, I have and still do learn a lot; nothing good is ever easy. American flowers are alive and well for this 4th of July; and the next time you want a bouquet I hope you will declare your own independence and ask for eco friendly, American grown flowers.
Then celebrate your freedom of choice, because you can.
Curious Fun American Bouquet map Happy 4th! Lynn