With all the open houses and cocktail parties to attend at this time of year, think twice before you buy flowers for your host or hostess.
An increasing number of the roses and other cut flowers we buy have been imported from large flower plantations in Latin America and Asia, where workers, primarily women and children, are often exposed daily to chemicals long banned in North America.
According to Sierra Eco, an organization that certifies farms in Equator and Colombia that have adopted environmentally-sound production methods and adhere to high safety standards and working conditions, many workers often have no protective gear; they are bare-armed, with no gloves or face masks. Because many can’t read the labels on the containers of the chemicals they use, they are not even aware of the hazards.
It’s our responsibility as consumers – and conscientious gardeners and earth-lovers! – to avoid flowers produced under these conditions. Buy flowers via Sierra Eco, or from Gaiam Flowers, which certifies their flowers as organic, biodynamic, veriflora and/or green label.