Saturday, April 18, 2015

Boycott Unethical Flowers

Israel’s siege on Gaza has destroyed the Palestinian flower industry


Meanwhile Israel’s profits from flowers soar


When buying flowers from the florist or your local market, 
you have no way to know where they came from or who profits.   
Please scroll down for Ethical Alternatives.

First some documentation:

“Ten years ago farmers across Gaza were exporting 80 million flowers a year to Europe, including roses,” he says. “But the last few years have been extremely difficult, and this one has been the worst yet. I exported exactly [only] 20,000 flowers this year due to the closure. I have lost more than one million shekels, but so has every flower farmer in Gaza. We are all just losing money now.”

“The rise and fall of this industry points to the deliberate Israeli policy of keeping the Palestinian economy subservient to Israel.”

“Israel produces vast quantities of flowers for export. Flower exports in 2000 exceeded $50 million.”


More reasons to seek out ethical flowers:

“The labor rights facts of this industry are truly depressing. In 2005, the International Labor Rights Forum found that 55 percent of women working in the Ecuadorian flower production trade (they constitute half the flower workforce) had been victim to sexual harassment in the workplace.”

“In Columbia, child laborers tasks include digging flower beds, weeding, pruning, and cutting stems. The children work in the cultivation areas, cold rooms, and the packaging areas. Children also plant, place guiding wires, cut and rubber band stems, classify and package the flowers, and load the trucks.”

“The flower boom has generated huge environmental costs. The water table on the Savanna has been shrinking almost as quickly as export earnings have been rising. Around the town of Madrid the aquifer has fallen from 20 metres to 200 metres, and water is now imported from Bogota. Highly toxic residues of pesticides banned in Europe, such as lindano, have been found in dangerously high levels in groundwater.”

For more on the many ethical and environmental issues surrounding the flower industry please see the book, Flower Confidential, by Amy Stewart:


Ethical Alternatives are available!

Order Fair Trade Certified Flowers on-line:

Find local ethical flowers:

The flowers found in most florist shops and at the supermarket are not generally not ‘single sourced.’  Retailers purchase flowers from wholesaler flower markets, who in turn buy flowers from all over the globe.  The clerks and florists who sell flowers to us, generally have no idea where those flowers were grown.  One exception to this trend are Fair Trade Certified flowers; however, they are not widely available in shops.

Your best bet is to start checking around soon, if you want to source ethical flowers near you.  If your local florist shop does not carry Fair Trade Certified flowers, check with your local natural food store or co-op.  They often carry organic bouquets that are grown locally, so you won’t have to worry about their country of origin. 

Another possibility, that might actually make a fun outing, is to visit your local certified farmers market.  At these markets the vendors can only sell items that they have grown themselves. This provides a very good assurance that you are not supporting unethical flower production.  If you live in the U.S., to find a certified farmers market near you, start your search at the link below by clicking on your state:

If fresh flowers aren’t available this earlier in the season in your area, you might be able to buy a handmade basket, bowl, or vase, and arrange some beautiful greens and other local goodies to make a perfect and original gift.  Have fun.  And let your mom know you supported local farmers, crafters, and cooks when shopping for her special gift. 



Be the Change!
See our complete boycott list here:

We boycott Israel for many reasons, you can read about some of them here:


Images from Wikimedia Commons:


Boycott for Peace!

1 comment:

  1. For the third year in a row, the farmers in the Gaza Strip will not be able to export flowers to European markets, due to Israeli restrictions.