|It's the Organic-Flower Delivery Man!|
|Thursday, 20 June 2013 00:00 | Written by Tonya Kay | Blog Entry|
I think I chose the wrong profession. I mean, acting can be fun and high-profile and all that, but compared to the amount of tail the flower delivery guy must get, well, even touring rock stars must look on with envy. There is not a single door without a squeal, a smile or hug for the flower delivery person. Everyone loves receiving flowers—especially organic ones. Certainly, I do.
I learned the significance of flowers when I was on homecoming court as a teenager—all of the other girls got bouquet after bouquet handed out to them before the high school pep rally, and I got not one. This was when I knew: Receiving a flower must mean love. Of course, it is not love itself, but it is a symbol. And ever since that fated, empty-handed homecoming pep-rally walk, I made sure to let my family and lovers know how much I appreciate the symbol a flower holds. Today, I am in a constant trade with my parents: their sending me carnations, my sending them lilies. I bring flowers for no reason to my manager. I buy flowers for my own damn apartment if I want to. There is never a bad time for more flowers!
Unfortunately, with all my best intentions of gifting and receiving this symbol of love, I learned—through common sense and a little intellectual research—that the United States regulates the types and amounts of pesticide residue allowed on foods, but not at all on flowers. In California, a state that regulates pesticide use more than any other, 800,000 pounds of pesticides are sprayed on commercial flower fields every year. Suddenly this well-intentioned symbol of love isn't quite as pure as we had intended it to be.
Since most of us aren't actually eating our iris arrangements, we may notice only disturbances to our preexisting "allergies" or an unexplained headache as a result of breathing these bouquets. But there are people who work the flower fields, there is wildlife living in flower-growing areas, there are people drinking water downstream and there are hot young delivery men—all of whom might encounter the more severe symptoms of pesticide poisoning, such as headaches, nausea, rashes and asthma. Are we poisoning people and animals in order to send our sentiments?
Now consider that 77% of cut flowers we receive and send are grown outside the country; one out of every two cut flowers sold in the US is grown in Colombia. That's a lot of jet fuel to get these pretty petunias out of paradise and onto our desktops. Extra pesticides are sprayed before transport to keep these long-distance flowers looking fresh, lasting longer and (hopefully) completely insect-free by the time they hit United States customs (which was not the case a decade ago, when a flower shipment wiped out Florida's population of semaphore cactus).
In Costa Rica, pesticides that have long been banned for food use, like DDT, are discharged directly into waterways and tainted equipment is washed in streams and rivers. According to Supak.com, "In Ecuador, nearly 60% of (flower-industry) workers surveyed showed poisoning symptoms, including headaches, dizziness, hand-trembling and blurred vision. Reproductive problems are also a concern; studies of the largely female workforce in Colombia found moderate increases in miscarriages and birth defects among children."
Today, I still receive flowers with a squeal of delight, but I'm beginning to seek out higher-karma symbols for my intended love. Gifting a living plant provides years of joy, rather than only five days of blossom. Often, organic farmers at my local farmers market bring flowers from their farms along with fruit and vegetables. For long-distance deliveries to film premieres, graduations and funerals, there are now organic-flower delivery services, like Organic Bouquet and California Organic Flowers.
Or check this out: You can locate an organic-flower grower for the locale you are interested in delivering to through Local Harvest.org. (For Los Angelenos, that American-grown, organically farmed and locally harvested/delivered bouquet might come from Bride and Bloom Flowers). Or better yet, you could cut from your own garden and take the time to arrange and deliver your next floral bouquet in person—I hear flower delivery has some great career perks!
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