Wednesday, December 17, 2008

a thorn in my side...

I love flowers. Who doesn't? In fact, my extraordinary love of Peonies, desperate attempts to grow them in my "urban garden" (aka pot on my city balcony a few years ago) and the incredible image of one on the cover of Charles Elliott's: The Potting Shed Papers, actually led me to pick up that particular book therefore furthering my horticultural hobbies. My interest in the origins and historical role of various flowers and plants, however, came about years earlier from (you guessed it) Pollan's: Botany of Desire. I digress...

For years, I have managed to suppress the reality that the perfect-petaled, fresh-cut roses I bring home to brighten the house in the middle of winter are about as sustainable as asparagus on a supermarket shelf that same snowy season. But when I came across the headline: Blooming Biohazards on VegNews this morning, my heart actually sank. Some of my closest friends are florists. So it is with bittersweet emotion that I share the following term and facts with you:

"McFlowers" - quickly and cheaply grown, factory-farmed flowers from countries with little to no regulation on the use of carcinogenic pesticides and herbicides.

The majority of flowers found in the U.S. are coming from South America. Industry workers there, predominantly women, are poorly paid and often suffer from pesticide-related illnesses.

The cost of transportation. Fresh cut flowers "are kept at very cool temperatures and packed in buckets of water or with individual plastic water tubes on every stem to ensure they keep their 'just picked' appearance. The energy burned to cool and ship these luxury items is, without question, taxing to the environment."

Read Andrea Rose's full article here.

Well, ignorance was bliss.

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