How to Have an Eco-Friendly Valentine’s Day!

NEVER FEAR: Eco-friendly options smell good, taste good (well, maybe not the flowers), and just might land you a date.

” In 2001, Americans spent an estimated $50 per capita on flowers, garden plants, and nursery crops, and floricultural grower receipts topped $13 billion. But some industry costs remained hidden. The floral industry uses the highest level of pesticides of all agricultural sectors. And since most of the flowers we buy originate abroad, these pesticides can include some that are banned in the U.S., such as DDT. These chemicals may even remain on bouquets long enough to rub off on skin or be inhaled by your beloved. When the Environmental Working Group tested a small sample of roses in 1997, they found residues of several pesticides at up to 50 times the amounts permitted in food.”- The Green Guide

But the trouble starts long before the flowers reach your sweetheart. Pesticide runoff from flower farms pollutes waterways, and recent research has found that nearly two-thirds of Colombia’s flower workers report maladies associated with pesticide exposure. To add insult to injury, workers on most flower farms still earn poverty wages.

What you can do:

  • Buy fresh or dried blooms at your local farmer’s market.
  • Send an organic bouquet from Organic Bouquet online or from Whole Foods and Wild Oats stores. (Roses are $34.99 for a dozen and $49.99 for two dozen online, or $16.99 retail.)

What you shouldn’t do:

  • Buy flowers through Defenders of Wildlife’s Valentine’s Day campaign. The organization says you can “give flowers and save wildlife at the same time” by shopping at, which gives 10 percent of every purchase to DOW. Trouble is, sells conventional blooms, and the pesticides used to grow them threaten wildlife. Shame on Defenders of Wildlife: If it used an organic florist, the organization and the environment would benefit.


A traditional, shade-grown cacao farm can be the next best thing to wild rainforest for species diversity. These days, however, most cacao is grown on conventional farms characterized by environmentally damaging pesticides, child labor, and poor working conditions. The truly compassionate Valentine cares not just for her or his sweetie, but also for the health and welfare of the people who cultivate chocolate — not to mention for the local forests and wildlife, including migratory songbirds. All do better without pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, and when crops are grown beneath the shade of indigenous trees.

Organically grown chocolate may be a touch more pricey, but so are Godiva and other premium chocolates that don’t help support sustainable agriculture and healthy communities. Plus, sharp-eyed shoppers can often find big bars of eco-chocolate on sale at natural-food markets around Valentine’s Day. If you really want to be one step ahead of the game, think about Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, and stock up!

What You Can Do:

Thank you to The Green Guide for this valuable information on how to be Green for V-DAY

..Stay Informed! Go Green!

– Erica


3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Reba said,

    erica, you always bring such important information to us. I’ve also got to say that you present it in such a fun, easy to read way… that makes all of those that are not as green as you realize how easy it can really be. I had NO idea that flowers or chocolate could not be “green” and am so happy I know that so I can buy ONLY green products from now on 🙂

  2. 2

    Kind Gentlemen said,

    Wow so you mean to say, that the flower and chocolate i bought really are just hurting our environment, well i guess i cant buy that stuff any more by GF will be pissed tho!

  3. 3

    Kimberly said,

    Thanks for the information on how to have an eco-friendly Valentine’s Day Erica!

    I thought you might also be interested to know that Defenders of Wildlife partners with us (Organic Bouquet) as well Therefore, if people would like to support this great cause and still satisfy their gift giving criteria – this is a perfect way to do both.

    Cheers to a happy 2009!

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