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Flower deliveries on Mother's Day are hardly novel, but honoring Mother Nature while shipping bouquets is a relatively new idea. It was only about 10 years ago that consumers and companies began looking at the environmental impact that goes along with growing and shipping refrigerated flowers around the world.
The ecological offenses that can come with conventional floral delivery are many: Flower farms might use massive amounts of water (often in drought-ridden areas) and pesticides, workers can be paid poorly and the packaging can be excessive. Many flowers spend days in planes, trucks and coolers, then, adding insult to injury, arrive looking less than fresh.
But today's consumers want flowers that are not only beautiful, but that also have a provenance they can feel proud of. That's why these flower delivery services are rethinking the business model and working with sustainable farms who pay their workers a living wage. In many cases the farms are local. Organizations including Bloom Check, Veriflora, Rainforest Alliance, and Green America are providing guidelines and bestowing certifications upon companies that are respectful to the environment, compensate employees fairly, provide access to healthcare, and ensure good working conditions.
Below are eight brands that are transparent about their practices and constantly work to improve their commitment to preserving Mother Earth, which seems especially appropriate on Mother's Day.
This Arcata, California-based company is one of the few eco-friendly operations that both grows and ships flowers to retail customers (most farms sell wholesale). The farm, which has been growing stargazers among other blooms since 1974, is both Rainforest Alliance and Bloom Check certified. Choose from the farm's namesake lily, tulips, ranunculus and more. They also make small-batch wines which you can add on to your flower order (or choose coffee or chocolate), and they offer a monthly subscription service.
Farmgirl Flowers promises to source flowers ethically and honestly, supporting farms that pay living wages, avoid harmful chemicals, and pay their employees medical benefits. The company is also committed to supporting American flower farmers whenever possible, even if it costs more. And that burlap wrap you see everywhere these days? They did it first, using coffee bean sacks. Mother's Day options include "design it yourself" floral arrangements as well as handmade ceramic vases, succulents, plus add-ons including artisan chocolates and candles.
The Bouqs has built relationships with sustainable flower farms and florists in Ecuador, Columbia and the United States, helping farmers grow their businesses and eliminating overall waste while they're at it. While many floral services toss one out of every three stems, The Bouqs cuts only the stems it sells. Delivery is $12 nationwide, or free on orders of $100 or more. Check out its Mother's Day collections here.
Petal by Pedal
If you're lucky enough to live in New York, Petal by Pedal can send your mom the loveliest, seasonal, locally-grown in Upstate New York flowers. They'll even be delivered by a charming bicycle cart, and each bouquet is accompanied by a typewritten love letter. The company is Green America certified and a member of the American Sustainable Business Council. Check out its delivery zones for online ordering.
Roseshire's blooms are above and beyond, quality-wise, any you've likely experienced. But they don't sacrifice sustainability for the sake of perfect roses. The company works with sustainable Rainforest Alliance Certified farms, and boxes are made from recycled material and printed at a solar-powered manufacturer. Founder and CEO Nasim Pakmanesh tells me the 4 dozen box currently includes a small piece of foam that will be eliminated within the next month or so.
To keep each rose looking perfect, Roseshire attaches hydration tubes to each and every stem, which might raise the hackles of environmentalists. But the tubes are recyclable, and the company is working on a way to make the system even more earth-friendly. Check out the brand's Mother's Day preorder options.
This Washington-based company also works with Rainforest Alliance Certified farms and partners with as many Veriflora vendors as possible. Urban Stems' standout offerings for Mother's Day are the gorgeous ceramic vases included with some of its arrangements. You can also add on goodies including Jo Malone perfume, Sugarfina sweets and Skeem Design candles.
1800Flowers.com Fair Trade
This old-school flower outlet has a "fair trade" section that works with socially- and environmentally-responsible farms. The title is slightly misleading—every product here is not necessarily Fair Trade certified, but has achieved at least one industry certification which might include Fair Trade, Ascoflores, or Rainforest Alliance, among others. The Breezy Bouquet ($80, shown above) is a particularly gorgeous option.
If you still can't find a satisfactory eco-bouquet for mom, Slow Flowers is a directory that provides listings for local florists that may not ship across the country, but may be in your recipient's neighborhood. All of the companies in the Slow Flower directory are committed to using American- or Canadian- grown flowers. The site is curated by Debra Prinzing, a writer, speaker, outdoor living expert and advocate for American flower farming. Many of the florists here are wholesale sellers only, so be sure to check out the site's retail section.