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.
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.
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.
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.
*Our sixth Manifesto statement added January 1, 2021