The Issue with Valentine’s Day Flowers

The Issue with Valentine’s Day Flowers

By Luke Dale-Harris

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and what could be lovelier than a red rose to show our love and appreciation?   It might be a romantic gesture to our fellow human beings, but all these cut flowers signal a much more abuse relationship with our often overlooked significant other: our planet, our Mother Earth.

It’s perverse that this tradition compels us to buy so many cut flowers in February, in the depths of winter.  June or July would make sense, when flowers are blooming everywhere, but February?  Out in our gardens and fields right now there’s barely a petal in sight.  Of course, roses are blooming in February, but only in heated greenhouses (typically in Holland and heated by energy from fossil fuels) and in the fields of Kenya, where they are grown, then air freighted to us, at massive environmental cost.  Every year Britain buys 570 tonnes of roses in February.  A dozen red roses may cost you £20 or so, but their carbon cost is 32kgs of CO2 for that one bunch.  For comparison, a typical intensively produced British 8oz steak has a footprint equivalent to about 4kgs CO2 (although good beef from regenerative farms like ours should always be carbon negative, with more carbon added to the soil, hedges and trees than is emitted).

Surely it’s time we found better ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with cut flowers?  How about giving flower seeds, or a box of organic veg (cauliflowers are in season in February), or a Farm Wilder box of wildlife friendly regeneratively reared meat?  Something that gives pleasure, but also gives to the planet rather than taking away.  Something that shows not just our loved ones that we care, but that we care about nature too.