Having trouble finding something that’s sweet to your special someone and the planet this year? So many Valentine’s Day gifts and decorations are designed to be cheap, flimsy and disposable that flowers might seem like a relatively harmless choice for your sweetheart. Unfortunately, commercially grown flowers often have a negative impact on the environment as well as the workers responsible for growing and cutting them. The International Labor Rights Fund has found that the rampant overuse of chemical pesticides (including some that restricted by law) in the cut-flower industry is having detrimental effects on the health of field workers responsible for growing and harvesting, as well as the soil and water near the growing fields. If nothing tickles your sweetie’s fancy like a fragrant bouquet, there are still some ways to give flowers without contributing to the negative impacts of the cut-flower industry.
- Grow your own: If you have a relatively green thumb, the best thing you can do is grow, cut and arrange the bouquet yourself! This way, no pesticides or socially irresponsible techniques are involved — it’s just you, the sun and a lot of love. Of course, this option takes a lot of preplanning, so if you’re desperate for solutions this year, keep reading.
- Give seeds: If you’re planning a gift for a girlfriend, wife or daughter that you live with, think about giving some organic flower seeds instead of a full-sized plant. This way, you can enjoy the gift of love together for many months to come. “Wrap” the seeds in a recycled plastic flower pot, or upcycle your own as part of the fun!
- Think outside the rose: Roses may be the iconic flower of Valentine’s Day, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only plant that will bring a smile to your sweetheart’s face. Three popular indoor plants — the Areca palm, mother-in-law’s tongue, and the “money plant” — convert carbon dioxide into oxygen, removing organic compounds. Bringing these plants into a home or office filters ambient air. Giving your valentine one of these plants proves that you care about their health and well-being all year long!