More modern brides are seeking a florist who has an organic and sustainable approach.
Why are brides buying locally grown seasonal slow flowers you may ask?
A bit of History of ATPA before we proceed…
When the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA) was signed in the early 90’s it opened up our border with neighboring countries allowing for lower tariffs and fewer trade barriers. Consequently, countries armed with a cheaper workforce began growing and importing flowers into the U.S. and so the demand for flowers skyrocketed. Despite the abundance of flowers being imported, as a nation, we slowly lost a real sense of the cost to produce things and subsequently, our spending habits changed and our economy suffered.
Big business argued it was a good deal. But if you were to look at the flower industry in New York before the signing, farming was a sustainable industry for the Empire State. Now, there are just a few farmers growing flowers, by comparison.
The point is that even the small local farmers who are restructuring their farms to try to make a living are finding it difficult to compete with cheaply imported flowers from other countries. Small local farms are being squeezed out of the floral industry because labor costs in this country can’t compete with lower wages in competing countries.
The flower industry is an agricultural industry. Agriculture is a risky business affecting laborers and the environment everywhere in the world. To make a profit, many companies often underpay their labor force (this is especially true in the underdeveloped countries) which is now where the bulk of imported flowers to the USA come from.
Why is buying locally grown seasonal flowers important?
Each time we see flowers conveniently available year-round, chances are they’ve been grown in another country at ridiculously low prices. It’s also worth noting the cost to the laborers is high. Often they are forced to work long hours, using hazardous chemicals, and, for the most part, inadequate medical treatment. You might be familiar with terms such as fast fashion, or fast food, well, these are fast flowers. In my opinion, anything manufactured for a quick profit affects all aspects of humanity.
Not to be a Debbie Downer but- I totally see how brides can be easily and conveniently seduced into thinking all flowers are beautiful. It’s worth noting that those beautiful flowers come at a price that cuts deeper than the bride’s floral budget. What’s more, even when the wedding is over, often those flowers end up in the landfill. Causing yet another layer of cheap waste.
Brides taking action!
When clients entrust me with the floral design of their event they are sending a message that they too are conscious of how their lifestyle choices impact their community and are working to support not only local businesses but sustainability wherever possible.
If you are not familiar with my work, allow me to share with you my 100% locally grown slow flower style. The types of flowers I like to use are known as Slow Flowers, which means these flowers are grown sustainably here in The United States.
Brides who value a more sustainable approach to creating a beautiful wedding DO have options!
- Ask your florist to use locally grown seasonal flowers (Find your local flower farmers/florists here)
- Be flexible with your dream wedding and look for ways to support local when purchasing flowers
- Make a list of sustainable ways you want to decorate for your wedding (Your Eco-Friendly Wedding Guide)
- Consider decorating your event with plants grown in local greenhouses
- Make handmade items, such as boutonnieres, paper flowers or cranes (7 DIY Ideas for a Meaningful Wedding)
- Garlands, made using local seasonal greenery, are a delightful way to decorate year-round
- Look for a local wedding venue with a stunning natural environment. (5 romantic wedding venues in the Hudson Valley)
- Brainstorm with your florist to come up with elegant alternative ways to decorate for your event
- Create extraordinary floral arrangements with what’s available seasonally (Which Flowers Are In Season?)
#SlowFlowers, we support and contribute to the growth of the American economy. Buying local offers American workers a chance at a living wage with benefits and builds a strong sense of community while offering better working conditions.
Sure, the temptation to buy cheap flowers is everywhere! But please think about this before you buy- CHEAP is sold to us everywhere- cheap food, cheap clothing, cheap furniture, and cheap amusements. We think we’re getting a deal when we fill up with this cheap stuff but time is showing that buying cheap comes at a high price to us all.
My advice? Become more mindful about the source of the flowers being purchased.
It can be difficult to resist a cheap alternative floral selection, especially when planning an expensive wedding, but each of us can make small conscious choices that have a positive impact on our own local economies. Choices that, in the end, can add up. Think for a moment about how your wedding or event can have a positive impact on your local economy and how you can create a beautiful experience using seasonal flowers grown here in the USA.
As a small business owner and slow flower grower, I encourage you to keep your floral business here in The United States!
Contact me if you’d like to chat about your upcoming nuptials. I proudly grow my own slow flowers and source additional flowers from local and regional flower farmers. I look forward to working with you!
p.s. If you haven’t already, please sign up for my monthly email newsletter where I share a behind the scenes look at how I’m working things out in life and in my garden. You can also follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.