As a sustainable florist in Westchester, NY, I am passionate about sourcing my flowers as locally as possible, all year around. I believe that it is important to support our local farmers and to reduce the environmental impact of the flower industry with everything from sourcing to daily practices. This blog post will focus on Sourcing as the single most-impactful part of my practice.
What is the environmental impact of the global flower industry?
The global flower industry is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental problems. Did you know that up to 78% of flowers and foliage sold in the United States are grown in other countries?1 This drastically increases the environmental cost. While there is not yet a study on US flowers, one study on local British flowers found a UK-grown bouquet produces 10 times less carbon emissions than an imported bouquet.2
How does sourcing flowers locally reduce environmental impact?
Sourcing flowers locally reduces environmental impact in several ways:
- Reduced transportation emissions: When I buy flowers locally, I'm driving to Westchester and New Jersey farms - as opposed to imported and shipped flowers traveling by plane in the cargo. The vast majority of imported flowers come as cargo on planes from Columbia, as well as supplemental flowers from Holland, South Africa, and Japan. Driving to local farms vastly reduces the amount of fossil fuels that are used and the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that are produced.
- Reduced pesticide use: Local flower farmers are more likely to use sustainable farming practices, such as avoiding harmful pesticides and herbicides.
- In fact, each farmer that I work with is committed to non-harmful pest management like use of predator insects. They each also have large areas that are cultivated specifically for pollinators. This helps to protect the environment and the health of me and my florists as well as consumers.
- Furthermore, it means that all of my stems can be composted at the end of the day, whereas imported stems should not.
- Support for local economies: Sourcing flowers locally supports the local economy and creates jobs in the community.
- In a report by Michigan State University, it was found that 73% of money spent at local farms remains local, meaning it's spent by their employees at other local businesses, while only 43% of money spent at non-locally-owned businesses stays local.3
How to find a sustainable florist
Lemon Terrace Florals is the only retail florist in Westchester County that primarily sources our flowers from local farms during the growing season. So you can be sure when you buy from us that you are receiving these sustainability benefits. If you are sending flowers somewhere else, I recommend a few ways to find a sustainable florist:
- Search for the town or county you are sending to, and "farmer florist"
- You will usually come up with several options of farmers who make bouquets, and who would be more than happy to deliver from their farm
- Search the Slow Flowers Society Network for a participating farm or retailer
- Find the local florist in that area and call to ask whether they carry any American-Grown flower varieties, and be prepared to use what they recommend
There are many benefits to buying flowers from a sustainable florist. Sustainable florists reduce their environmental impact by sourcing their flowers as locally as possible, as well as other sustainability initiatives I will cover in later blog posts. They also support the local economy and create jobs in the community.
If you are looking for a way to reduce your environmental impact and support sustainable businesses, I encourage you to buy your next bouquet from a sustainable florist.