Flowers for your Valentine

This opened my eyes; thought I would share it with you.

I know that many of the several hundred readers of Learning from Dogs are not in the USA.  But many are.  Hence me deciding, after mulling it over, to publish in full the contents of an email that came in a short while ago from the organisation Change.

Here’s that email.

Dear Paul,

Valentine’s Day, which accounts for 40% of fresh flower sales annually, is fast approaching.

Not always a sweet smell.


If you’re planning to order a bouquet from 1-800-Flowers — the world’s largest florist — you should know where most of those flowers really come from.

At flower farms in Ecuador and Colombia — the countries that export the most to the U.S. — two-thirds of the workers are women. These women are routinely subjected to harassment and even rape from their male supervisors. They suffer eye infections and miscarriages from consistent contact with dangerous pesticides.

In the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, they’re routinely forced to work 80-hour weeks with no overtime pay. Attempts to form a union are met with opposition by police and armed forces.

Many retailers — such as Whole Foods and Stop & Shop — have taken the important first step of offering Fair Trade flowers to consumers who want no part of these abuses. Fair Trade certified farms must adhere to strict standards for workers’ rights, which prevents the abuses described above.

1-800-Flowers is the largest florist in the world. Yet they offer no Fair Trade flowers at all.

Tell 1-800-Flowers to join other major retailers in offering Fair Trade flowers.

1-800-Flowers uses a certifying agency called Florverde, which ensures that its flower farms measure up to certain environmental standards — this is a good thing. But Florverde has almost no labor standards: A farm can be certified even if it uses forced labor.Indeed, Florverde is owned by the Association of Colombian Flower Exporters, so it has a financial incentive to keep wages low and suppress workers’ rights.

This is the week before Valentine’s Day — more people will purchase flowers during the next seven days than any other week this year. This is our best opportunity to demand a promise from 1-800-Flowers to join its competitors in offering Fair Trade flowers. So after you sign the petition, please share this email widely and post on Facebook — do everything you can to pressure 1-800-Flowers to show a little respect for the women who toil in unbearable circumstances. The women without whom they’d have no flowers to sell.

Click the link below to tell 1-800-Flowers to make a promise this Valentine’s Day to sell Fair Trade flowers:

Since this campaign began, the company has emailed to tell us that it will post more information on its website about the farms that supply their flowers. But this is a far cry from selling fair trade products — and we have much more to do to make sure workers are protected. This is the week to do it.

Thanks for taking action,

Patrick and the team

If you feel so minded to sign the petition, which can be done by people outside the USA, then that may be done here.


4 thoughts on “Flowers for your Valentine

  1. I followed the link yesterday and signed the petition. But got side tracked to come back lol. Very Good post to bring awareness to those who do not understand how much abuse goes on in our so called Modern Day World. Just so we can enjoy the things we buy in life, I support FairTrade goods where ever I can.. Thank you Paul for this timely post as we all buy flowers… I wonder if many bring a thought to the flower, who gives its life so that we may take it into our home to have the pleasure of its beauty.
    I have some roses in my home now which my daughter inlaw bought me.. I always save their dried heads and keep for Potpourri..
    If truth be known flowers come to to bring us upliftment on all occasions from, birth, anniversaries, weddings, birthdays, and at our final farewell.. And the moment we pluck them we kill them.. They give us their ultimate sacrifice, their living energy is their for all to embrace and enjoy…

    I hope more people are aware of these huge profit making enterprises where profit comes before people .. And so thank you for makeing us all more aware with this post Paul.. Dreamwalker


    1. Lovely words from you, Sue, as I have come to expect. But, in addition, your words shine a ray of sunlight over this humble writer and more than recompense me for my efforts.


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