Canadians are following in the successful footsteps of British Flower Week and American Flowers Week. September 13-19, 2018 is the date for the celebration. Canadian Flowers Week is an annual advocacy, education, and awareness campaign that celebrates all flowers grown in Canada (field and greenhouse). With the help of industry—growers, wholesalers, designers, and florists—we aim to build local communities across our country to promote the local message together.

During Canadian Flowers week the participants will:

• Raise public awareness of the Canadian growing climate and what flowers are in season.
• Showcase Canadian flowers through the talent of Canadian floral designers.
• Create public experiences with local product.
• Inform the public how and where they can find Canadian-grown flowers.

The committee and participating industry people believe in four core values: Community & Culture, Freshness & Abundance, Ecological & Environmental and Beauty & Creativity.

Community & Culture: Gardening, farming, and connection to nature can anchor positive cultural change. When a community roots itself in the natural world, individuals are transformed through more mindful awareness of self and others. This strengthens community bonds, increases gratitude, and often reduces anxiety. People have space to become more conscious of their everyday practices and in turn their purchasing power. Flowers grown and sold locally bring our communities closer together and our farms, florists and consumers in relationship to one another. We are not just a small, anonymous piece in a global market, but a friend, patron, advocate, ally, and neighbour. Flowers grown and sold locally have a huge social impact because over time they contribute more to local economies.

Freshness & Abundance: When you buy locally you are able to display the bounty of the season in your shops, studios or homes. Flowers picked only days before you receive them retain their natural aromas as they haven’t spent weeks in transport to get to you. You can get an entire bucket of a single variety in season for the same price as two bunches of that same imported flower so it isn’t that local flowers are more costly, it’s actually the opposite, but with buying local you must accept seasonality. This is what makes them so special—they are with us for a short time every year!

Ecological & Environmental: Your flower isn’t going on a journey by itself, there are so many other characters involved (the bees, butterflies, birds, people, soil). There is increasing awareness amongst Canadian growers about the benefits of ecological and sustainable farming practices that consider the whole ecosystem health. Some imported flowers are grown in countries with questionable workers’ right and environmental laws. Local blooms travel direct from farm to table and require less disposable packaging.

Beauty & Creativity: When you invest in locally-grown flowers you have the opportunity to give capital to your “neighbour” growers. By investing locally, growers feel supported and are then able to explore growing more interesting and unique varieties. Unusual or old-fashioned flowers have been pushed out of our current system in order to make room for mono-cropped sturdy blooms that last long in transit, often taking over as trendy florals. If we keep going this way, we may lose diversity. Imagine a world with only 10 flowers available. The joy that flowers bring to our lives is evident by the look on the face of someone receiving a fresh bouquet. The beauty is often not due to its vase life but rather that we know it’s fleeting, and so we savour them.

How can you participate as a Grower, Designer or Florist?

• Use the #CanadianFlowersWeek hashtag and join the public conversation.
• Start or join a local team that hosts or creates one of the 6 flower installations planned across Canada.
• Wrap your local product in Canada Flowers Week branded kraft paper or stickers for the week.
• Become a Canada Flowers Week Spokesperson.
• Get your farm or shop listed on the Canada Flowers Week Website—a listing resource for Canadians to know where to find local blooms.
• Host an open house during the Petal Path day (September 16).
• Growers and florists can team up to offer a special local bouquet during the week.
• Download and share the Canada Flowers Week branding.
• Growers can sponsor or donate flowers for an installation or event.
• Dress your retail windows to impress with local flowers.

Thank you to the committee organizing Canadian Flowers Week for giving me this information to share with the ASCFG membership. I hope the Canadian membership will find a way to be included and I can’t wait to attend some events! Be sure to follow the #CanadianFlowersWeek hashtag to see the exciting things happening north of the border.

Janis Harris

Harris Flower Farm

Janis Harris Harris Flower Farm [email protected]