Saturday, 23 January 2016

British Flowers-the 2016 edition begins!!

It's been a while since my last British flowers post and I am very aware that most folk were left hanging after RHS Chelsea last year, when I promised to report back from conversations with Interflora about their stand. It wasn't that I didn't want to but was simply because on Press Day there was no one to be seen on their stand to talk to, which was a shame. The cynic in me says they were hiding under one of the flower covered cupcakes.....I'll leave that thought there!

So this week I was kicked into action by a tweet, as often happens in my world. An organisation in Bristol is fund raising to create an online project supporting Fairtrade over Valentines. Although I completely back the ideals behind Fairtrade when looking at products that can't be grown in the UK, in order to support local economies we must look to supporting our own growers first surely? Particularly in an area where we have lots of people growing flowers all year around and who depend on Valentines Day in many cases, to kick start their business year.
Stunning buttonholes made by Fox and Cat flowers here in Bristol from entirely British grown blooms.

It seems to me a real shame that still we are having to have this conversation. Surely we all understand the need to support local business? Local businesses ensure that our high streets remain vibrant and exciting, and that our local growers, be they of food or flowers, remain working our local land. Local business also ensure our local economies grow, keeping money and skills in the local area. Instead of our hard earned pounds going into the coffers of multi-national organisations, concentrating on local and independent business means you know where your money is going and who it will be supporting.

But with our flower growers, as with our small food producers, it is so much more than that. They are looking after the land on which they grow. I could write a whole oiece on that alone but georgie Newbery of Common Farm Flowers has blogged about how they are stewards of their land here, in a wonderfully emotional piece that describes her and Fabrizio's amazing emotional link to their land.

I set about trying to have a discussion with this organisation, and I hope that discussion will move on from where it is today as I have thus far only spoken to the Fairtrade organisation they are working with. They suggested that in the flowers section they mention local growers, to me at least and that they would never normally "actively promote" anything that has to be flown, but seem to think that the fit for flowers in the campaign was so great they would overlook it. However something they said really hit me as being patronising and not understanding our British growers at all. The quote is this.....
"However tough it is for for local flower growers it's still not an issue of whether they can feed their families......."
As if the belief is that growing flowers is a nice little thing that people do but that isn't something that is full time or that pays enough to be a primary income. This really shocked me as I know there are flower growers up and down the country who rely on their flowers as their income, and will be horrified to read this!!

So the conversation, I hope, will continue and with luck, (or a little bit of persuasion),  they will mention the many flower growers in the South West as well as across the country, and at best they will remove the idea of Fairtrade and mention that second to our amazing UK flower industry.
after all if we truly "love the future", we must look after the here and now.........

Stunning rose at Common Farm Flowers


  1. Wow! We grow vegetables and are this year hoping to expand into flowers - with a local, pesticide free usp as per our veg. We *need* that add on to survive.
    And maybe, just maybe, growers in far off countries would be better off feeding their families growing food, and if we weren't importing their precious water in the form of flowers!

  2. Replies
    1. Actually the name is in the last paragraph-I wonder if you can work it out Mr!!

  3. Just fabulous Sarah. I am indeed shocked and horrified about the feeding families comment - my business feeds mine and is as precarious as any other farmer. Rachel x