Roses of Shame: Valentine’s Day and Fair Trade

In a great article highlighted by GOOD, we as consumers are made aware of the human rights abuses faced by farm workers in the flower industry, including sexual harassment, poverty wages, and poor workplace safety standards. As many of us contemplate which bouquet will best express our  love to our sweetheart this Valentine’s Day, we must also be conscious of issues of justice for the people who pick our flowers. Justice, as Cornel West brilliantly defines it, is “what love looks like in public.”

Unfortunately, popular floral internet companies such as 1-800-Flowers or FDT do not yet implement fair trade principles in their supply chain to ensure accountability for the human rights of floral farm workers. However, some smaller companies such as World Flowers or Inbloom Group offer fair trade certified bouquets. When we ensure that the flowers we give, the tomatoes we eat, and the sweatshirts we wear are produced with respect for the health and welfare of human beings, we can see more clearly what love really looks like in public…

Photo by L.E. Soltis

Photo by L.E. Soltis

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