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Tonya Kay

Tonya Kay photo courtesy Tonya KayTonya Kay is an actress, TV personality, professional dancer and danger artist living in Los Angeles. A vegetarian of 28 years, vegan for 18 of those and raw vegan for the last 11, Tonya Kay pioneers the green health movement with appearances, publications and green media (available at KayosMarket). Watch Tonya Kay's self-produced web series The Eco Tourist on EcoHearth's Eco Tube. You may have also seen her recently on TV's My Ride Rules, The Tonight Show, Criminal Minds, Glee, House MD, Secret Girlfriend and American Idol with Rhianna. She has performed live in STOMP, De La Guarda, with Panic At The Disco, Kenny Rogers and in countless music videos and commercials. Look for Tonya Kay in the new Muppets Movie, starring in MTV Network's Video Game Reunion, playing a lead in the scripted animal-activist feature film, Bold Native, performing the voice of Green Girl in the raw vegan superhero animated film Rawman and Green Girl and performing burlesque live in Hollywood, California, almost any weekend. In 2012, Tonya Kay will star in the films Off World and Within The Darkness. For more on Tonya Kay, visit her website.

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It's the Organic-Flower Delivery Man!
Thursday, 20 June 2013 00:00  |  Written by Tonya Kay | Blog Entry

Organic Flowers photo by OpticalReflexI 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!

[Sign up to be notified each time Tonya publishes a new Clean and Green Everyday blog entry on EcoHearth. See a complete list of writing by Tonya Kay on EcoHearth.com or visit her Clean and Green Everyday blog. – Ed.]

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Comments (5)add
Written by AddySmith , June 21, 2014
Really i appreciate the effort you made to share the knowledge.The topic here i found was really effective to the topic which i was researching for a long time
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Written by Desiree , October 29, 2012
They have organic flowers now?? They must be the best looking flowers on the market. Thanks for sharing!
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Written by IzzyLight , August 12, 2010
Flowers are blooming
Bursts of colors come alive
Fragrant smells around us!
~Himani
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Written by Tonya Kay , June 30, 2010
I've been kissed by a rose.
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Written by Steve the Kaleidoscope Guy , June 29, 2010
That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet as "our" Tonya Kay......

I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers. ~Claude Monet

Have you ever seen a flower down
Sometimes angels skip around
And in their blissful state of glee
Bump into a daisy or sweet pea.
~Jessi Lane Adams

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Eco Tip

Buy or Make Green Gifts. No need for an orgy of conspicuous consumption at each holiday or anniversary. Show your love for the planet by making your own gift from recycled materials or giving the most valuable gifts of all—your time and caring. More tips...

Eco Quote

He who knows what sweets and virtues are in the ground, the waters, the plants, the heavens, and how to come at these enchantments, is the rich and royal man. — Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), Essays, Second Series, 1844   More quotes...