Local or bust

My heart aches for flowers right now. Actually it aches for anything green and alive, that's why I'm forcing about 200 bulbs in my basement right now! Even though I miss my flowers, I recently declined a February wedding flower request. It made my hands all sweaty and my stomach sore to write the couple and tell them no. "But it would be work for your portfolio and a Paycheck!" my brain says. "It would mean ordering chemical-drenched flowers from another continent!" my heart says. Is there a middle-ground? Can't I just go outside and find something pretty to make into wedding flowers for a lovely couple? Not in February. Not in Central IL.

If you're familiar with the Slow Food movement, the Slow Flower movement is sorta similar, except it's not just for yuppies (IMO). Slow flowers are for everyone: the pollinators, community, local economy and customers. Oh and the EARTH.

One of the core missions of my business is to educate people about the cut flower industry. Most (80%) of the US's flowers come from S. America. Most are grown with the use of chemicals banned in the US by women and children who get paid next to nothing. These flowers are shipped THOUSANDS of miles only to be inspected at US customs and sometimes drenched with chemicals again or THROWN AWAY because they have pests or diseases. The amount of waste associated with these flowers is astronomical! This includes *most* flowers you see at the grocery store.

Growing cut flowers in the Midwest might not be easy but there are a lot harder things in life. Watching a customer's face light up at my flowers is one of *best* things about this job and I can't wait for that moment to happen again!

Joan Jach