Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Rose is a Rose?

About $200 million worth of roses sold in the U.S. are grown out of the country, mostly in Central and Latin America, where toxic pesticides are common and protective equipment for workers is scarce. But you can be just as conscientious about your flower purchases as you are about your food and wine.

Just like food, local flowers are your best alternative, provided you live in a warm climate where flowers grow year-round. If not, keep your eyes out for these independent certifications:

VeriFlora Certified
Administered by the independent and reliable Scientific Certification Systems, Veriflora requires farmers to use as little chemicals and as many organic farming practices as possible and to farm the land in ways that enhance biodiversity (for instance, implementing buffer zones near waterways and using native cover plants). The certification also protects against illegal child labor and requires meeting local minimum wage laws.

GG Product Pick: is the most comprehensive resource for VeriFlora-certified bouquets. Combine Valentine's Day and Black History Month with the "One Dozen Freedom: A Rose in Honor of Rosa Parks" bouquet, and 10 percent of the proceeds go to the Rosa and Raymond Parks Foundation for Self Development ($59.95).

Fair Trade Certified
Fair Trade certification puts more stress on worker rights, ensuring that growers are not only paid a fair wage but that ten percent of their profits are re-invested back into the community. Growers are also trained to handle agrochemicals safely and to reduce the need for hazardous chemicals with organic farming practices.

GG Product Pick: sells a variety of Fair Trade Certified bouquets from $39.99 and up, but also check your local Sam's Club (and They added flowers to their Fair Trade offerings last year.

Certified Organic
As with organic food, certified-organic flowers are grown without synthetic, petroleum-based pesticides or fertilizers. Although the certification doesn't have any fair-wage protections, you're more likely to find certified organic flowers grown in the U.S., which cuts down on their carbon footprint (most VeriFlora and Fair Trade Certified flowers are grown in South America).

GG Product Pick: California Organic Flowers' Cupid's Delight bouquet with red anemone, red and white dianthus and rosemary is a nice departure from the standard bunch of roses ($54.95; Also check out Diamond Organics organic seasonal-flower bouquet ($69;

(Article courtesy of

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