Christmas is a time of celebration and relaxation but there’s a dark side to the waste created and the negative impact of so many industries including floriculture.
There’s always another way of doing things and if your prepared to stand back look at things from a different perspective you can usually find a way forward. I became aware of the negative impact of the industry I’m in about 12 years ago and it saddened my to see the destruction of habitats, poisoning of vital water resources and abuse of women and children but it took me a further five years to be completely separate from it and champion only using my own produce. The fear of losing a potential customer because you weren’t able to provide a particular flower drove this dependence. I did lose work at that time, but I was doing it for the greater good and our wildlife was growing. Protecting our environment is central to all that we do here and providing a rich food source for our pollinators and we were also more aware of the crisis we were facing on a global and local level. Standing up for what you believe in isn’t always easy and can be a lonely place at times, but someone has to take responsibility and lead the way to show it can be done.
We had always made an exception for oranges that we bought in and dehydrated ourselves but beautiful as they are our ethos is more important. Irish apples which we dehydrate here on the farm are a more fitting ingredient. Provenance has also been an important consideration here and using ingredients that celebrate the Irish landscape in any given season while incorporating life giving ingredients for our wildlife. We feel that our Christmas offerings need to reflect this so beautiful as they are, we will no longer be using oranges in our products as we feel our ethos is more important. We have incorporated Irish apples which I think are incredibly beautiful and means our products are now truly Irish.
The main reason we only use produce grown here and foraged locally is to protect our pollinators and wildlife. Not knowing the full implications of the damage from the chemicals used in imported flowers and foliage is a risk I’m not willing to take. I have at the very least a moral responsibility to protect these creatures because I I invited them in by creating the habitats and ecosystems for them to live and more importantly our pollinators are in crisis which means we are too so what we do here is actually for all our benefit long term.
I do appreciate our products are out of some people’s price range but production costs, staff wages and VAT contributions are the main reasons. Taking our Amaryllis as an example, I could buy three imported cut flowers for the price of my wholesale bulb. Short term economic sense to some but the cost long term to the earth isn’t!
Story as an analogy: man buys frozen turkey for €6 brags about his bargain, farmer is shocked and dismayed as he pays €9 for a pullet (baby turkey) rears, feeds and cares for it for six months before its ready. We all have choices as to which product we’ll buy.
This year has shown the perilous situation of our disconnection with the cycle of life and how we seem to have forgotten we’re part of nature and not separate from it. Covid 19 is a symptom of how we’re destroying our planet, a vaccine will treat the symptom, but the root cause is still there and won’t go away unless we start protecting the precious resource we live on.
What we do here and the way we do things are part of the solution for a future that can support us, our children, and grandchildren.