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Share Your Love with Whole Trade Flowers

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.

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103 comments

Comments

Terri Martin says …

Love this info re Rose! When might we see a store in the Kitchener, Ontario area!!!? thx

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.

Mike says …

How can I purchase the 2 dozen special online?

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.

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?

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.

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.

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)

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.

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.

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.

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

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!

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!

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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)

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

Bethany says …

I can not believe what I am reading!!! I am person who owns a local cut flower business ( The Flower Peddler, Bridgeton, NJ), a small business owner and appreciate everything that my community gives back to me. That is why I can't believe that you would support importing flowers from other countries when you have such gifted & talented cut flower growers right in your own communities. Listen up , America, the Mom & Pops need you. This is what our country was based on and to see our business owners overlooked is disheartening. It is such an economically & environmentally sound practice to support your local cut flower growers. The quality, prices, & integrity can't be beat! I am probably never going to purchase from this chain ever again, or at least until your buying practices have improved. Look around: our citizens will be here to serve you, but other countries just want our money and would never come to our aid if we were in need.

Carol W Larsen says …

Although I know that it is hard to find a surfeit of local flowers in northern states for the Valentine holiday, I also know that domestic cut flower production is happening and needs support. I am disappointed that Whole Foods does not see that important support as part of it's primary mission. I also agree completely with the comments regarding transportation, chemical misuse off shore, packaging, and the excellent suggestion of gift certificates.

Jennifer says …

I'm so glad to read that others felt the same dismay that I did as I read this blog post. It is disappointing that Whole Foods would have an ad campaign pushing flowers grown outside the US. I would like to see Whole Foods supporting American growers, and particularly those that are local to each store. As part of that, it is important for Whole Foods to help educate it's customers that local, responsibly grown flowers take care of our personal, economic, and environmental health. Please, Whole Foods - help your customers support American growers!

Trin says …

Well, you certainly don't want to 'share the love' locally that is for sure... Very disappointing post from Whole Foods as it shows no interest in locally grown products and local communities. How about looking around the United States and seeing all of the areas and people who need help? How about programs or assistance for the workers (and their children) who are in the agricultural sector in the US (including the ever-dwindling cut flower growing sector)? How about new programs that could help keep young people in school instead of the hideously high drop out rates in US high schools that we currently see? In your quest to be so super socially conscious you have actually become blind to the needs of those people who live the closest to you.

Leon Carrier says …

US flowers would be ideal.Tired of imports......

Evelyn says …

I agree with all of the pro-USA, pro-locally grown comments already stated. This past year I started up a flower farm and learned what hard work, long hours, and 7-days-of-the-week commitment it took, along with a significant financial input. Indeed, point very well raised by a prior responder, I struggle mightily to be fair trade, but I am by virtue of the fact that I follow labor and taxation laws. . It nearly killed me to see some vendors at farmers markets I attended selling less expensive flowers, clearly out of season, and clearly shipped in from beyond our borders, in competition with my locally grown blooms. It gave me great satisfaction to see educated consumers select my locally grown blossoms over the alternative (and to hear time and time again from repeat customers that they last longer). Whole Foods, you clearly have a responsibility to your financial bottom line and financiers, but when you take on an important task of education and you become a proponent for the triple bottom line, it seems you could absolutely do better by promoting locally grown, USA-grown flowers. The social and environmental benefits of purchasing domestic are well worth tauting. Please redirect your educational campaign for the benefit of our country's economy, environment, and social well-being. Perhaps, as an add-on to your existing sales and marketing campaign, you could ask consumers if they would like for the donated proceeds go to local flower growers or to the research foundation of the Association of Specialty Flower Growers, located in the heart of the United States of America. I thank you in advance for listening.

Sue Kent says …

The U.S. cut-flower market is dominated by South American imports. If anyone needs more support, it's the American flower farmers. Your web site should change its wording to: "Choose U.S. grown flowers to show your loved one that you care about them and flower farmers in the U.S. 'Grown in the U.S.' means these flowers meet specific criteria including: Meets our product Quality Standards, Provides more money to producers, Ensures better wages for workers, Cares for the environment"

Marlene Epley says …

There is not a Whole Foods Market located anywhere near where I live and I have always envied people who had convenient access to Whole Foods because of its reputation for supporting locally grown and U.S.A. grown/produced. This information about sourcing flowers from other countries has cured my envy and convinced me that I am not missing out on anything by not having a Whole Foods Market at which to shop. First it will be flowers and then other products grown in other countries will creep into the mix. Fair Trades sourcing is a wonderful option for many things but not flowers and produce that are available in the U.S.A. It is not an environmentally friendly choice for flowers because of the shipping and packaging requirements and it is not supportive of the farming community in our country.

David E. Perry says …

Strange juxtaposition, really, that just a few days after the Super Bowl, where Chrysler's Paul Harvey/American Farmer ad (http://bit.ly/VHpIKu), was considered almost unanimously to be one of the top three most powerful ads of the entire showing, we are reading here about what a feel-good thing it is to buy imported flowers. I've been photographing the grit and grace of the American Farmer for nearly three decades, and over the past six years I've spent untold hours documenting the worlds and lives of American flower farmers and floral designers for a book, The 50 Mile Bouquet, (St. Lynn's Press, 2012), that is all about sourcing and celebrating local, seasonal and sustainably grown flowers. In one of the stories for the book, author Debra Prinzing and I enlisted the help of a Seattle floral designer, Melissa Feveyear to create an elaborate, locally sourced Sunday Brunch bouquet, in January, just to see what was really possible. We were delighted and amazed at what was available and what was possible. A few weeks later I spent another day with Melissa at the market and then in her design studio as she prepared locally sourced bouquets for her Valentines clients. Again, stunning. Up to this point I had thought of Whole Foods as a real, working proponent of the 'buy local' sensibility. This forces me to rethink what I had thought I knew. Perhaps not everything is better when sourced locally, but in the case of flowers, ephemeral and short-lived as they are, buying sustainably grown bouquets that adhere to American health, wage and labor standards and in support of American farmers, well I can scarcely believe it is even a question in this day and age. I for one will continue to buy local, and I will continue to give my business to those who source locally whenever possible.

Judy Laushman, Executive Director, ASCFG says …

Whole Foods customers – and most American consumers – are likely unaware that as they have the ability to choose locally-produced food, they may also buy locally-grown cut flowers. The Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers has united and informed cut flower growers for 25 years. Its 500+ members strive to produce the highest quality flowers, often organically, always as sustainably as possible. To find flower growers near you, see www.ascfg.org

Anissa Starnes says …

Wow, this is hardly what I expected from Whole Foods. I am disappointed in the decision to import flowers when we have so many USA flower farms. While I somewhat appreciate the effort to hide this under "cause marketing" let's call it what it is, turning our backs on buying LOCAL from the good ol' USA. Come on Whole Foods...you can do better. You must do better.

BG warden says …

I'm also surprised Whole Foods of all places would be advocating imported flowers rather than locally grown ones -- not sustainable and not at all in keeping with your mission, not to mention the unregulated pesticide issues!

James Cameron says …

In regards to your decision to favor imported flowers versus locally grown. Why wouldn't you want to do business with people who do business with you?

Nancy Cameron says …

America The Beautiful! Our country has beautiful flowers! Please slow down Whole Foods carbon footprint and stop flying in roses and flowers.

Suzanne DeSaix says …

What about local, sustainable sources of flowers? What about our local communities? This does not take away from the caring for others, as we are also global citizens--but we need to support our local farmers and keep the agricultural/horticultural community strong by supporting the diverse, small farmers and growers. Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

maura says …

I agree with Dave. Whole Foods should stick to local.

Beverly B. Burrows says …

I am so very proud to read all the thought provoking comments that are shouting LOCAL...LOCAL...LOCAL!!! I hope you are listening Whole Foods...there are sooo many people passionate about supporting local flower growers. Without the support of folks that have mission statements such as yours...that should rightfully be supporting the farmers with local product...what message does that send? Lets start with "LOCAL FREE TRADE"!!!!!!!

Michelle says …

I'd love to see more local flowers in my neighborhood store too! Now that I think about it, I don't think I've EVER seen local flowers there!

Stormy Johnson says …

I love the Whole Foods and clean-eating concepts but try to eat local as much as possible (what my husband and I cannot grow ourselves on our own place anyway.) One of these things we do not grow is cut flowers! But if we do not grow it we would rather buy from regional or at least American growers. Where can we find flowers grown right here by Americans?

Karen Yasui says …

It would be nice if you would promote flowers grown in the U.S. instead. Domestic flower farmers need support also and can supply a more sustainable product.

Kathy F. says …

My impression of Whole Foods has always been that you carry local, organic products. The best of the best. So I was surprised that you are promoting imported flowers for Valentine's Day. Why not promote local, fresh flowers that stand out from the crowd? That would be more in keeping with your values and mission.

Roena Moore says …

We have always believed Whole Foods Markets to be a place where we could purchase safe food when we are not able to raise it ourselves. We understood the values of your organization matched our desire to have organic, sustainably grown food. Our living is made growing pesticide free, speciality cut flowers on our farm, and we sell them locally. Since you are encouraging customers to purchase pesticide laden, shipped in flowers from outside the U.S., I can no longer trust that your food products are clean and safe as presented. Whole Foods states on this webpage that you are "passionate about healthy food and a healthy planet". What you are advocating regarding flower purchases certainly does not match up with this mission statement. We will no longer seek out Whole Foods Markets for our needs.

Patty Hendrick says …

We wholeheartedly agree with previous comments on the importance of supporting local growers of not just flowers, but vegetables and fruits too. How does it possibly make sense to not support LOCAL growers of quality products, when we cannot possibly control how products are grown in other countries and what type of poisons are put on them? Come on Whole Foods....support the AMERICAN WAY.....support us....we are hard-working farmers producing the freshest products right here in your own backyard...... our flowers are second to none!

Katie says …

I support American grown flowers first. California flowers to me are the highest quality I have ever found. While I live in the Midwest I can consider a local flowers to be American first. Then I would support Canadian flowers. I am not against bringing in imported flowers and making a difference in South America. But by bringing in all those imports over decades it has killed the market and industry for flower farmers in America. Why would Whole Foods want to put American farmers out of business? These are FAMILY LOCAL farmers on our own home soil. Whole Foods, please stick to your brand and live up to what you say. Give us some American flower options not just on Valentine's Day but every day! Thank you.

Katie says …

I support American grown flowers first. California flowers to me are the highest quality I have ever found. While I live in the Midwest I can consider a local flowers to be American first. Then I would support Canadian flowers. I am not against bringing in imported flowers and making a difference in South America. But by bringing in all those imports over decades it has killed the market and industry for flower farmers in America. Why would Whole Foods want to put American farmers out of business? These are FAMILY LOCAL farmers on our own home soil. Whole Foods, please stick to your brand and live up to what you say. Give us some American flower options not just on Valentine's Day but every day! Thank you.

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