Organic Flower Power
By: Delia Montgomery
Early 2007 Organic Bouquet CEO Gerald Prolman predicted that by Valentine's Day 2012, the U.S. market for environmentally-friendly flowers will exceed $100 million, as Americans spent $230 billion each year on environmentally responsible purchases. In 2005 the U.S. organic market was estimated to be worth $14.6 billion in annual sales, growing at approximately 17% per year. Clearly, this is not a passing fad as organic flowers are now the fastest growing sector of the non-food organic market.
Organic Bouquet, based in San Rafael, California, was successfully launched nationwide in August 2002. The business originated with the goal to establish the national market for organic flowers. But cofounder Prolman said it was hard convincing growers to convert. However thankfully, the pursuits of combined commitments, charitable fund-raising partnerships, and determination resulted in a reliable certified organic distribution system.
By encouragement to initiate organic production through both small and large flower growers around the globe, Organic Bouquet quickly became the market leader in organic flowers. They eventually received welcome praise for establishing the natural products industry's newest category, — Organic Floral. Their flowers became available online and nationwide in Whole Foods Market stores.
The Organic Bouquet business models widespread trade and consumer awareness. Cut flowers, wreaths and plants are sourced from growers that are committed to the highest social and environmental standards. The quality of farm working conditions is improved, damages to ecosystems are minimized, biodiversity is conserved, and environmental quality for future generations is enhanced. Each sales order is hand selected and shipped fresh from the farm, ensuring optimal quality upon delivery.
So how is organic certification achieved? Well the VeriFlora™ green label certification is conducted by Scientific Certification Systems (SCS), a leader in independent third party verification and sustainable agriculture, fisheries and forestry standards development. Know that SCS has no vested interest in the companies or products it evaluates or certifies.
The VeriFlora standard encourages biodynamic, wild-crafted farming and harvesting methods. Also, they provide a comprehensive framework and common set of environmental, social and quality requirements which demonstrate that an agricultural product has been produced and handled in a sustainable manner, — from soil preparation and seed planting through production, harvest, post-harvest handling, and distribution for sale.
Organic farming helps keep rural communities healthy, which is undeniably worthy. The USDA reported that in 1997, half of U.S. farm production came from only 2% of farms. Organic agriculture can be a lifeline for small farms because it offers an alternative market where sellers can command fair prices for crops.