My family lives on the opposite coast and so I am generally scrambling for flower delivery around Mother’s Day. I used to go through those big aggregators like 1-800-Flowers or ProFlowers, until my grandmother subtly hinted that the flower quality was not up to snuff for her tastes (thank you!). So then I started searching yelp for local florists in various locales and have ordered local for a couple of years now. My grandmother is pleased.
Well, this year, I intended to go a step further and find local florists who use sustainable practices in sourcing flowers. For me, this means local, pesticide-free, and in season. Life happened and I ran out of time, so I resorted to my go-to florists. Never too late to start planning for next year!
A quick google search leads to this L.A. Times article from 2014, which has conveniently listed a number of eco-friendly florists in California. Below is a rundown of the ones that caught my eye.
California Blooms: All roses from eco-friendly farms in California’s central coast. They ship anywhere in the USA.
Dandelion Ranch: These are pricey (minimum $125 for delivery) and it’s not clear to me what they actually do. Their philosophy is to arrange flowers to allow them to maintain their integrity and move naturally. They use an earth friendly alternative to non-biodegradable floral foam. It sounds intriguing. Based in Los Angeles.
Farm Girl Flowers: Based in the Bay Area, this company promises flowers from farms that pay living wages, avoid harmful chemicals, and have medical benefits for their teams. Flowers are wrapped in burlap and they appear to have made every effort to use only American grown flowers, but are only at 80% of their supply. (Though, I do appreciate the founder’s 10,000 word diatribe on all of the issues they have faced sourcing American flowers.)
Lily Lodge: Not all flowers are local, but this company has a commitment to using pesticide-free blooms whenever possible. Based in Los Angeles.
Marigold and Mint: Organic farm in Washington state using seasonal blooms only.
A new(er) kid on the block is The Bouqs Co. This company, founded in 2012 by a UCLA MBA alum/former Bain consultant and partner from the floral industry, is based in Marina del Rey and has a “farm-to-table” model. You order directly from a farm, flowers are cut and shipped once you order. All farms practice “sustainable, ecofriendly” farming. Farms are international and they ship throughout the U.S.
Another avenue for sustainable blooms is connecting with local community gardens. A friend recently referred me to one of the coolest organizations I have seen – Muir Ranch Flowers. This is on a biodynamic urban teaching farm at John Muir High School in Pasadena. Initiated in 2012, floral bouquet sales pay for student internships. All bouquets are from the farm and in season. As if that wasn’t good enough – purchases are 50% tax deductible!
After reviewing this list, it’s clear that “eco-friendly” is broad here – probably broader than is helpful. Some source flowers from organic farms in the U.S. or abroad; others are American flowers only, but potentially not pesticide-free; others use earth friendly packaging, but do little else. Many companies qualify their practices by indicating that they do something “as much as possible.” It’s all rather vague. My criteria of local, pesticide-free, and in season is hard to come by.
I’m still searching for local, ecofriendly florists for my family in Virginia and Pittsburgh, respectively, but some of the above florists with national delivery seem like good options in the meantime. I plan to keep searching and will give some of these a try, out of curiosity if nothing else. I’ll keep you “posted.”