A New Green Idea For St. Patrick’s Day
Willow and I had a big weekend last, attending the Northeast Floral Expo in Massachusetts. A conference/show of, and for florists in the Northeastern states and beyond. complete with a buyers fair of all sort of goods and flowers. I believe it has become the largest show in the country for florists, and we so look forward to the 3 day weekend every year. I am forever keen to find any new earth wise products that maybe could be converted as so; and I get double excited to meet the many other designers to compare notes on the newest trends; trade ideas, and of course professing our passion of the art to each other. However, as the eco florist…..the only eco florist mind you; I look at things differently and likewise, I am usually treated differently.
A Green Greyhound Celebrity
From the time we arrived, Willow had the red carpet as the main celebrity of the entire floral industry in attendance. I was really surprised and happily, shocked at how well known she is and how followed her blog Willow Says is; and boy, she took it and ran with it! Pets and pats were everywhere, paws were given nonstop, and the ‘thump thump’ of her tail was incessant. She was photographed and talked about, flirted with and fawned over. She for sure is my heartsong and I was so proud of her ‘princess’ behavior as the ‘real’ owner of the store. J
An Erin Brokovich Green Florist
On the other hand, I was also taken aback at my own notoriety. Inwardly, I always feel and fear, that I am the lone warrior in an unconquerable frontier; and at times I wonder if all my effort and passion of the past 10 years and still ongoing will ever matter to the 30,000 florists across the country, or are they just tolerating the ideas in a passing conversation. And more so, do I really have a chance against the big corporations of my industry.
Well, let me tell you, I can’t believe the people whom I’ve never met inquiring on my endeavor. “Oh, you are the one”, “I heard about you”, “it’s wonderful what you are doing”. What really made me happy though, were those who really and truly wanted to learn how to be a green florist! A genuine interest with 20 questions; can you find enough US growers, what do you do about preservatives, how do you handle weddings, and on and on and on. I can’t tell you how good it felt that I was an influence. The interest was not only doing for the environment, but for our industry, and small businesses everywhere. My rants are heard of, and my efforts are evidently known. Who knew?
A Green & Recycled Centerpiece?
At the Saturday night gala, kindred designer Keith White and I (he is a FTD design coordinator-such a talented designer and cool guy) sat looking at the galaxy themed centerpieces; inside a 3 ft. cylinder vase was a silver, dryer vent, hose all curvy and wild. We agreed “wow that is creative recycling”; until we concluded that the only place they would have found enough hoses to create all the centerpieces so quickly, would have been at Home Depot. We concurred that it is a start, and next time maybe they would instead be from the dumpster.
Green Floral Products
On Sunday, I eventually came upon as I always do, to the dreaded….’floral foam booth”. Always positive and hopeful for new corporate ethics and some environmentally minded changes; I enter smiling and gracious. Unfortunately, as is also the norm, the reps demeanor quickly alters at my inquiries of “are there any new developments toward a non toxic foam; has the company started a reclamation or recycling effort yet, etc.,” and was met with a stern invitation to just leave the booth and be on my way. I tried, and will keep on trying.
It is not the easiest doing what I am doing, to see differently and not be a lemming following the crowd. But after a time like anything, once you do it a while- it becomes a way of life. Because it is such a change from the norm; there are many who just look at me incredulously and move on. (I label them brown) And then there are those who are sincere and agreeing, yet knowing they are mired so deep, it seems just too daunting. (I label them light green) One such interested gentleman from a wholesale flower and hard goods company said he understood. He believed in America, didn’t quite think much about the environment in relationship to his products, but would like if he could, to be a more sustainable business. But I could see he just did not have the energy and drive enough to tackle it. It’s the easier road being brown; not green.
Norman Rockwell‘s Green Picture
As Willow and I were packing up at the end, I looked across at the trucks being loaded from the show. An Isuzu box truck had the tag line of “floral importers and distributors”; and in the back window hung an American flag. I stopped for a minute and thought, “isn’t that something-what’s wrong with this picture”. An American flag in a Japanese truck filled with South American flowers and Chinese vases, idling diesel fumes.
I thought about that parking lot picture all the way home as I drove ironically, through Normal Rockwell country, and it convinced me that I can never give up. It is a difficult and ongoing task I took on for sure, but I am tenacious. I just need to fight a little harder and rant a lot louder in the hope that someday everyone will see the real picture, like we saw in the parking lot.
Think as green as you can, no matter the shade.