"Well, we’re all concerned with where our food comes from – but how many of us worry about our flower miles? That cheap and cheerful bouquet we treat ourselves with from the supermarket on a Friday: take it apart and you might find that its six or seven constituent parts have travelled up to 15,000 miles. We spend £2.2 billion a year on cut flowers in the UK. 17% of the world’s cut flowers are imported into the UK. How many cut flowers do we grow ourselves? 25 years ago we were 80% self-sufficient in cut flowers here – now we’re down to about 5%.
Shocking. But don’t lose heart. There is a growing resurgence in cut flower growing in the UK. From people will small patches selling sweet peas at the gate, through companies like mine with a few acres under cultivation, to big growers in Lincolnshire and Cornwall, the British cut flower business is on the up again. The internet has made it easy for even the smallest producer to find a market. Artisan florists and flower farmers like us at Common Farm Flowers in Somerset are popping up all over the place. It’s getting easier to buy British cut flowers.
There are lots of ways you can help make our industry blossom again from the earth up. Whenever you’re in the supermarket ask where the British grown flowers are. When buying on-line look for British cut flowers. Specify that you want your cut flowers to be home grown, not flown and you’ll find they’re fresher by days than anything that’s come from Venezuela via a Dutch auction.
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