Choose Flowers Grown With Respect and Care

| 3/4/2011 4:36:43 PM

good flower farmHello and welcome to the Rainforest Alliance blog! My name is Anna Clark and I am delighted to be writing this blog on behalf of the Rainforest Alliance. I will be reporting on all green news, especially that which relates to our four divisions: agriculture, forestry, tourism and climate change. I invite everyone to engage with me on all topics discussed! I will do my best to respond to all comments and queries you may have regarding my articles.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Rainforest Alliance, our organization works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior. The Rainforest Alliance uses the power of markets to arrest the major drivers of deforestation and environmental destruction: timber extraction, agricultural expansion, cattle ranching and tourism. We work to ensure millions of acres of working forests, farms, ranchlands and hotel properties are managed according to rigorous sustainability standards. And by linking those businesses to conscientious consumers, who identify their goods and services through the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal and verification mark, we demonstrate that sustainable practices can help businesses thrive in the modern economy.

To kick-start the Rainforest Alliance blog, I thought I would spring into the spirit of spring, and talk about one of my favorite things: flowers!

With the end of winter in sight, there is no better way to get over your winter blues than by brightening up your life with a beautiful bunch of flowers. But when selecting a bouquet, who gives a thought as to how those flowers were grown, and at what cost to the environment and farming communities?

Chances are that those flowers originated in a Latin American nation. Since the mid 1980s, growers in that region have been increasing their production of roses, carnations and other blooming species to meet the growing demand in the United States and Europe. Ninety percent of the cut flowers and ferns imported to the United States come from Latin America — those roses you bought for your Valentine were probably raised in a hothouse in Colombia, Ecuador or another rainforest country.

The rapid growth of the floriculture industry has contributed to job creation in Latin America. But this cultivation has often come at the expense of healthy ecosystems — and the well–being of workers and surrounding communities.

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