Whole Story

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Share Your Love with Whole Trade Flowers

By Elizabeth Leader Smith, January 28, 2013  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Elizabeth Leader Smith

RosesThis Valentine’s Day I suggest having more than one valentine. I know I will. Before your partner – or my husband – gets upset, hear me out. If sharing is indeed caring, then why not give Valentine’s gifts that use your buying power to improve the lives of others?

Care for Others

Roses are the tried and true favorite when Valentine’s Day rolls around – just look at our floral department! It's blooming with roses grown in the US and beyond, so why not put a new twist on this traditional favorite? This Valentine's Day choose Whole Trade® roses to show your loved one that you care about them and workers in the developing world. The Whole Trade® Guarantee seal means these flowers meet specific criteria including:

. The Whole Trade® Guarantee seal means these flowers meet specific criteria including:

  • Meets our product Quality Standards
  • Provides more money to producers
  • Ensures better wages and working conditions for workers
  • Cares for the environment
  • Donates 1% of sales to Whole Planet Foundation®

They also give back more to the communities they come from. Thanks to the Whole Trade® Guarantee, a “social premium” amount is paid for every case of flowers Whole Foods Market® purchases directly from Whole Trade growers in Ecuador, Colombia and Costa Rica. The social premium funds support community projects, many of which involve schools and education opportunities such as these in Colombia:

  • A school for the younger children with a schedule matched to that of their farm-worker parents
  • A special inclusive education program for hearing-impaired students at public schools
  • A unique project to enhance academic skills, achievements and competencies for adolescent girls in a local high school

See the positive impact for yourself in this short film by our friends at Dark Rye.

Spectrum of Sentiments

While the type of flower says a lot (Whole Trade = a whole lotta love), so does its color. There is a long-standing language of flowers said to have been finely tuned in the Victorian era when flowers were used to express feelings which otherwise could not be spoken. Today flower colors continue to be coupled with specific emotions and wishes.

RosesI suggest brushing up on the meaning of a rose so you can send the right message.

RED—true love, passion and respect
DARK RED—beauty, perfection and adoration

PINK—romance and admiration

DEEP PINK—appreciation, gratitude and sincerity

LIGHT PINK—sweetness and gentleness

ORANGE—desire, passion and excitement

WHITE—spiritual love, purity and new beginnings

YELLOW—warmth, joy and friendship

LAVENDER—love at first sight

Care for Your Roses

While I can’t answer questions on how to make love last, I can help you prolong the life of your roses. Here are my four go-to strategies for stretching the life of flowers:

  • Cut 1 to 1 1/2 inches from stems
  • Remove any leaves that will be under water line in vase
  • Fill a clean vase of fresh, room temperature water mixed with floral food
  • Recut stems and change the water every 2-3 days

  • Keep them away from sunlight and extreme temperatures

How do you take care of your roses to make them last longer?

Post Updated 2/6/13: This post was updated to reflect the fact that our stores do offer flowers grown in the US, as well as Whole Trade flowers grown in other countries. Whether you choose to support Whole Trade or your local flower farmers -- or both! -- our floral department team members can help you pick the best bunch for your Valentine's Day or every day.

Category: Floral, Whole Trade




Terri Martin says ...
Love this info re Rose! When might we see a store in the Kitchener, Ontario area!!!? thx
01/28/2013 8:34:33 PM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@TERRI - Our Real Estate team would love for you to submit a new store request at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/company-info/real-estate.
01/30/2013 2:17:01 PM CST
Mike says ...
How can I purchase the 2 dozen special online?
02/01/2013 10:42:12 AM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@MIKE - We do not offer online ordering for flower arrangements at every store but some stores will offer ordering at http://wholefoodsmarket.com/online-ordering/. If your store does not offer online ordering, give your local store a call (or the store in the closest area to the recipient). You can find a list of store contact info at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/list.
02/01/2013 11:59:21 AM CST
Debra Prinzing says ...
As the author of The 50 Mile Bouquet (St. Lynn's Press, 2012), in which I feature an American cut flower farmer from Boulder, Colorado and pro-locally-grown comments from a Whole Foods district floral manager who buys those Colorado-grown flowers, I am surprised that you are promoting imported flowers rather than domestic ones. The manager I interviewed said this: "We really want to see seasonal, local, organic and good value." If Whole Foods really cares about sustainability, then Whole Foods would put its energy into cultivating and supporting domestic rose farms. What about the communities and families of American flower farmers?
02/04/2013 11:28:26 PM CST
Leslie says ...
I would love to get flowers for Valentine's Day...but I would be upset if my husband purchased imported flowers. Locally sourced American grown flowers support American growers and eliminate the need for transporting them thousands of miles. That is real quality and a sign of truly caring for the environment.
02/04/2013 11:31:42 PM CST
Jennie says ...
While I appreciate that Whole Foods has worked with floral producers in other countries to improve the dire worker conditions there, these roses are still being shipped thousands of miles in heaps of packaging that piles up in our landfills. Why not consider a truly sustainable choice and seek out locally grown flowers for Valentine's Day or give a gift certificate to a local flower farm to get flowers when they are in season? Does Whole Foods offer any locally-grown (within a 100 mile radius) program for flowers for Valentine's Day? I'd love to hear more about that! Thanks for the hard work to find more and more good-for-the-earth choices.
02/05/2013 7:00:56 AM CST
Dave Dowling says ...
While Whole Trade products may be nice for the community in South America, and the people buying them might get a warm fuzzy feeling for being a "good consumer", what about American grown flowers and the community of local, American cut flower farms? Sometimes chearper, or even Whole Trade isn't better. (I doubt this will make it past Whole Foods "moderated" giudlines to be posted. But I will post it on Facebook and Twitter for others too see)
02/05/2013 8:37:12 AM CST
Lisa Krueger says ...
I am a big fan of Whole Foods, however, I cannot support the purchase or promotion of flowers grown outside of the US. I urge Whole Foods to give some promo love to flowers grown in California, Arizona and the US.
02/05/2013 9:54:38 AM CST
Susan says ...
I shop at Whole Foods, and am very glad one is near where I live, but I cannot support imported flowers. The growing methods used may be slightly 'better' than regular commercial imported roses, but it still isn't sustainable. Please use US growers.
02/05/2013 10:46:04 AM CST
Meg Lucas says ...
So you are moving away from "locally grown" aka US grown to what? Whole trade flowers from Colombia and Ecuador? You are a US company not supporting locally grown flowers...flower producers are farmers too, job creaters, community supporters. I like American jobs and I like buying products that support American jobs and that includes flowers - I won't be buying any flowers from foriegn growers. I don't care how much "casue marketing" you produce about helping other countries - your putting US flower growers out of a job...that would be US Jobs and my US earned money won't be spent buying your out-sourced flowers. So call it what it is...out-sourcing.
02/05/2013 10:56:29 AM CST
Danielle Howard says ...
As a former florist, I cannot support a company that does not buy from local growers. A socially conscious company like Whole Foods should also recognize how dangerous the imported flowers can be. The South American countries do not regulate pesticides like the US does. American consumers who touch the flowers can absorb the pesticides through the skin. "Cayambe, Ecuador -- Although the symbol of romance for Valentine's Day is the rose, Ecuadorans say it is their source of misery and illness. Behind the beauty of the estimated 110 million roses that Americans will give their loved ones Friday are flower workers who suffer serious health problems from pesticide poisoning, according to local doctors and the United Nations. Cayambe, Ecuador -- Although the symbol of romance for Valentine's Day is the rose, Ecuadorans say it is their source of misery and illness. Behind the beauty of the estimated 110 million roses that Americans will give their loved ones Friday are flower workers who suffer serious health problems from pesticide poisoning, according to local doctors and the United Nations." "According to a recent test of Ecuadoran roses bought at a San Francisco supermarket, the flowers contained traces of Aldicarb, a highly toxic insecticide that is banned in 13 nations. (See accompanying box.) "First, there are skin rashes and a whole range of allergies and respiratory problems," said Dr. Toribio Valladares, who has spent 15 years treating victims of pesticide poisoning in Cayambe, one of the nation's two rose centers. "Many of these diseases have become chronic and untreatable with antibiotics." Valladares, who is the town's former mayor, says pesticide poisoning has also caused children to be born mentally retarded or with deformed limbs." http://www.organicconsumers.org/Toxic/021403_ecuador_workers.cfm
02/05/2013 11:19:25 AM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@JENNIE, @DAVE & @LISA - Keep in mind that we do not only sell Whole Trade Guarantee flowers. Check with your store to see what local varieties they have in stock!
02/05/2013 11:34:45 AM CST
Suzanne Montie says ...
Support sustainability -- support locally grown flowers. Appreciate the freshness, beauty and unique quality of blooms that are raised right in your own region. U.S. farmers and farm families need our support too!
02/05/2013 12:44:18 PM CST
Kelly says ...
I love roses, and who doesn't love receiving flowers on Valentine's Day (especially those with a story behind them that feels good- "cares for the environment," etc.) Unfortunately, I just don't understand how the roses you are promoting meet that criteria. On your website you state that Whole Foods has "an unshakable commitment to sustainable agriculture," but how does a flower that has traveled thousands of miles to get to it's final consumer, and has had to be pumped with preservatives to ensure a long life so that it can survive such a journey demonstrate this care for the environment and sustainable agriculture? That sounds like a lot of jet fuel, a lot of packaging, and a lot of preservatives to me. As a total flower LOVER, I would be thrilled to see Whole Foods promote US grown flowers for Valentine's Day, flowers that I could truly feel good about buying. I know you do carry some US grown flowers, so why not promote those for big holidays like Valentine's Day? That would make a real statement about sustainability, and with a reach and influence as large as your company has, you could truly make a positive change.
02/05/2013 12:55:34 PM CST
Mary says ...
Ecuador? Columbia? Costa Rica? What about our local growers here in the bay area? Let's take care of our own here before we save the rest of the world Whole Foods. I'd like to see our local farmers be able to send their children to school and participate in special programs. I'm not knocking the need for taking care of the less fortunate, but we have less fortunate right here in our own front yard. Big disappointment Whole Foods!! Huge!
02/05/2013 1:29:19 PM CST
Diane Szukovathy says ...
As a domestic flower farmer, it heartens me to see so many passionate supporters of US grown flowers commenting here. Many of our flower farms have gone out of business in the past decade as more and more flowers are imported (currently at 80% and rising). This trend will continue unless companies such as Whole Foods step up to the plate and help to educate consumers on what is really going on. Our cost of production is much higher than in South America because we follow US labor and environmental laws. All US grown flowers are "fair trade" because it's the law here. It's time big companies such as Whole Foods took a leadership role in considering "real cost", not just best price points and profit margins. I appreciate that Whole Foods does offer some local flowers and encourage them to take the next step in leadership and work to support and promote US grown flowers first before offering "feel good" sales campaigns for imported ones. Thank you.
02/05/2013 3:06:48 PM CST
Laura Fott says ...
I agree with the above comments. I do not see how shipping flowers thousands of miles from South and Central America qualifies as sustainable agriculture. Are you trying to pull one over on us like the frozen food debacle from China??? Really, come on now. Every state has local -- and year-round -- providers of sustainably grown flowers. And if you're going to ship them, how 'bout shipping in some truly organic roses from the West Coast. This whole campaign is a cynical marketing ploy that should be beneath a company like Whole Foods. Do the right thing, guys. This is ridiculous.
02/05/2013 3:40:43 PM CST
Debbie says ...
i think what you are doing is good. But, just wonder, why aren't USA grown flowers not being considered or mentioned? www.nycfarmchicflowers.com We specialize in garden aesthetic design, of domestic only grown flowers (local when possible) displayed in NYC/USA made and artisan vases.
02/05/2013 3:43:41 PM CST
Melissa says ...
There are plenty of flower farmers all over the country who would happily sell their flowers to Whole Foods. No matter what Whole Foods says, the flowers they are importing are cheaper than buying local and that's what they're doing it. Buy American, buy local and read your labels! (don't count on Whole foods to sell you the "best" thing for you, for our country or for our country's famers. they do what's best for them)
02/05/2013 4:17:38 PM CST
Nicole says ...
Why are you not doing a Valentines blog post about locally grown U.S. flowers in ur stores? I think given these comments you should. Especially in Southern and West Cost stores. As grower this is very disappointing.You might be causing a reason to boycott purchasing through you.. by not promoting U.S. grown. Social media is an effective informational tool.
02/05/2013 4:24:34 PM CST
Joe Schmitt says ...
I am as steadfastly opposed to your promotion of imported flowers as all of the previous posts, and then some. On the other hand, I think that the suggestion of selling gift certificates to be redeemed for local flowers in season is brilliant. Not only does it offer florists a way to accommodate those whose concerns for the planet outweigh any need for instant gratification while maintaining the importance of this holiday to their bottom line, but it also allows locally produced flowers to be highlighted, promoted and appreciated in their appointed season.
02/05/2013 4:26:15 PM CST
jack mackenzie says ...
Promotion of flowers from the southern hemisphere over local production does not sound to me like the principles that Whole Foods would have you believe it stands for. Most of the money that is spent for flowers from South America goes to pay for the distribution and not the growing of the product. The flower industry in South America is not a "mom and pop" operation. Much of it is controlled by international giants compared to the local farmers in America that you see on Saturday morning at the Farmers Markets across our land.
02/05/2013 4:26:18 PM CST
Lynn Byczynski says ...
As the editor of Growing for Market magazine, I know many small, organic growers in the U.S. who grow cut flowers in addition to vegetables and fruits. Flowers are generally more profitable than food so they are an important revenue source for growers. When you buy local flowers, you are supporting local food, small farms, land preservation, American livelihoods, and all those values Whole Foods espouses. Buy local in everything!
02/05/2013 4:42:59 PM CST
Trin says ...
I find it very sad that you feel the need to look beyond the borders of the US to help people in need when there are so many people locally and nationally here who need much help. How about assistance or programs for caring for workers in the agricultural sectors (including the beaten down US cut flower growers) that actually still exist in the US? Or high school programs here that would help young people stay in school and not drop out at the horribly high level that they are dropping out now? Everyone loved the commercial about farmers during the Superbowl, but when it comes down to it we constantly let down those who are tied to agriculture in this country. Have always really liked Whole Foods but I think the need to show that you are so very 'socially conscious' has really backfired on this one as you are not being socially conscious close to home.
02/05/2013 4:53:25 PM CST