A Slow Flowers Manifesto

Design by Riz Reyes, of RHR Horticulture. Photo: (c) Mary Grace Long

The inspiration for Slow Flowers begins in gardens, meadows, orchards and fields, where the timeless act of cutting or harvesting botanicals season by season is part of the natural cycle of a year. For millennia, humans have picked flowers, foliage and branches from nature to use in the domestic environment for décor and display. Flowers, herbs and leaves have played an equally important role in cultural and spiritual practices for many people and traditions. They have been ever-present in the history of human kind, symbolizing the essence of life.

As the industrial age reshaped modern life, commerce formed around flowers, reducing many floral crops into commodities that are produced, sold and used with little regard to the environmental and human costs they cause. This has resulted in a floral industry largely based on high-volume, low-cost production, greatly devaluing flowers to the point where it has been quite challenging to make a living wage as a flower farmer in the U.S.

Dan Pearson’s dahlia fields (c) Debra Prinzing

For various reasons, be it economic, trade or government policy, the floral industry since the early 1990s has undergone a major shift in the way flowers are grown and marketed. Slow Flowers began in the U.S., where 80 percent of cut flowers sold are imported from other countries and continents. The movement recognizes that this is not sustainable for people or for the planet, particularly when flowers are often considered a luxury. Slow Flowers believes that it is irresponsible to support the continued production and consumption of a perishable product that devours so many valuable resources (jet fuel, packaging material, water, to name a few), especially when there is a domestic alternative to imported flowers.

Field-grown tulips grown by Gonzalo Ojeda of Ojeda Farms in Ethel, Washington (c) Debra Prinzing

Slow Flowers is a response to the dramatic changes of the past 25 years. It recognizes that there is a disconnect that has disengaged humans from fragrant garden flowers and small-scale flower farming. It aspires to take back the act of flower growing and recognize it as a relevant and respected branch of agriculture.

Slow Flowers aims to reconnect flower consumers and professionals in the floral industry with the source of their flowers. We believe that when there is transparent origin labeling of all botanical varieties sold to consumers and florists, we further the goal of placing the highest value on local, seasonal and sustainably-grown florals, used artistically to express beauty.

Design & Photograph, Debra Prinzing

Slow Flowers commits to the following practices:

  • To recognize and respect the seasons by celebrating and designing with flowers when they naturally bloom
  • To reduce the transportation footprint of the flowers and foliage consumed in the marketplace by sourcing as locally as possible
  • To support flower farmers small and large by crediting them when possible through proper labeling at the wholesale and consumer level
  • To encourage sustainable and organic farming practices that respect people and the environment
  • *To proactively pursue equity, inclusion and representation in the floral marketplace, intentionally valuing Black floral professionals (farmers, floral designers and vendors) in our business practice with as much support as we give to environmental sustainability.
  • To eliminate waste and the use of chemical products in the floral industry

The Slow Flowers Movement puts a priority on sourcing American-grown flowers. In a way, this also means that we redefine beauty. As a Slow Food chef cooks with what is seasonally available, a Slow Flowers florist designs with what is seasonally available.

Join Slow Flowers and leverage your floral business with our progressive, sustainable and authentic brand! Click here to learn more about the Value of a Slow Flowers membership.

*Our sixth Manifesto statement added January 1, 2021

Debra Prinzing

Debra Prinzing is a Seattle-based writer, speaker and leading advocate for American-grown flowers. Through her many Slow Flowers-branded projects, she has convened a national conversation that encourages consumers and professionals alike to make conscious choices about their floral purchases. Debra is the producer of SlowFlowers.com, the weekly "Slow Flowers Podcast" and the American Flowers Week (June 28-July 4) campaign. Debra is author of 11 books, including Slow Flowers (2013), The 50 Mile Bouquet (2012) and Slow Flowers Journal (2020). She is the co-founder of BLOOM Imprint, the boutique publishing arm of Slow Flowers.

  1. This is amazing to discover, as I am just entering floral design and thinking of the SLOW FLOWERS ideals as I work. I am very excited to be meeting Debra in Seattle, and would Love, LOVE to attend the Chicago meet up on August 15.

    Kirsten Gordon

    (who uses her own garden to create works whenever possible)

  2. My friend gave me some old magazines and as I started looking through them, I ran across the article Better Blooms for Mom in the Eating Well May/June 2018 issue. Each year at Valentines I give my daughter flowers as a special way to celebrate. She is my only child and so I have done this many years. I started it when we were living a distance from each other. It is very important to me. We live closer now and often get to include lunch as part of our celebration. Since reading the article and viewing your website, I plan to make every effort to buy Slow Flowers for her. This will make the event even more special and precious. I am very happy about this movement. It’s about time we took back our “things” and provided for our people. This is a great way to add income into our communities and make life special, the way it should be. Thank you for the great idea and effort to make our lives better. I will follow along with you.

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Slow Flowers Journal is brought to you by SlowFlowers.com. Slow Flowers is an award-winning online directory created to help consumers find florists, studio designers, wedding and event planners, supermarket flower departments and flower farmers that supply American grown flowers. Founded in 2014, the site has grown to 850 members across the U.S.


Media Contact:

For more information, please contact Debra Prinzing
at 206-769-8211 or 844-SLOWFLO (844-756-9356); debra(at)slowflowers.com.