Thursday, June 4, 2009

Fair Trade Wedding Flowers are Prettier

Flowers are my very favourite decor item. They set any mood from casual garden to elegant ballroom and I love incorporating living things into design.

Unfortunately, though, flowers have a dark side. They are often shipped here from thousands of miles away where workers (adults and children) are paid less than a living wage for their labour. I'm going to skip the statistics and facts on the floral industry, and direct you to this article for more information. For this post, I'd rather write about why I think organic and fair trade flowers not only make sense, but are really the only option for a globally minded event.

I'm always pro fair-trade. I think people deserve to get paid a living wage. So in my search of fair-trade flowers, I've been really disappointed. There's really not of availability. The floral industry seems to be poorly regulated and there are a lot of loopholes in the system.

That said, there are several things we in our lives and in our weddings can do to go a little easier on flower growers:

1. Organic flowers seem to be slightly easier to find. Although they don't come with fair trade certification, simply getting rid of the chemicals sprayed on flower fields eliminates a significant part of the problem. One of the biggest complaints at these sorts of farms is the dizziness and illness that accompanies the work, from being exposed to strong chemicals all day every day.

2. Check around Manitoba for cut flowers. There are several growers at the Farmer's Market, and some Winnipeg florists even have relationships with growers and carry Manitoba grown flowers in their stores when they're available.

3. If you're up for a challenge, grow your own flowers! Unless you're a florist or really love floral design like my new sister in law Adrienne who designed all her own arrangements and even created all the bouquets, hire a professional to take care of the arranging to eliminate the stress on you the day before the wedding. Or, give myself and Adrienne a call! We'd love another go at wedding flowers.

4. When I shop, I always have a hierarchy in mind: First, I try to find something locally made, then I try to find organic & fair trade, and if neither of those work out, I buy something that is not locally made but sold at a local store (as in, not a chain grocery-type store). The way this applies to flowers is: If you can't find locally grown flowers or grow your own, and you can't find fair trade or organic, please at least purchase from a local florist. They will have the expertise to design something fantastic, and your well-spent money will stay closer to home.

Consumers are requesting better regulations and healthier flowers, and suppliers are starting to meet that demand. I think that in the next couple of years, the fair trade and organic flower market will really take off because really, flowers are a lot more beautiful when they come to us organically grown and fairly traded, don't you think?

Stay tuned tomorrow for a post about what the heck a globally minded event is, and why this little business of mine exists!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are such a good example of how to be eco friendly in your everyday life. I admire your heirarchy for purchasing. I continue to aim for that in my shopping.