Our local cut flower growing industry is sinking fast! From small family farms to larger operations, all have been forced to destroy a heartbreaking amount of their beautiful blooms. Level 4 Delta has left the cut flower farming community at a breaking point - financially, physically and emotionally - even though there are many ways to distribute their flowers safely.
Listen to Ella Stewarts report on our industry with Aila and Christy and the way this has affected their production and a possible fix.
Flowers are the one perishable product that have been dismissed as non-essential, even though many would argue that flowers are just as beneficial for mental health as for example wine. But while wine can be sold in supermarkets or home-delivered, flower farmers have their hands tied by current rules. They are forced to throw thousands of their freshly harvested flowers straight onto the compost.
Normally considered part of New Zealand's primary industries, the government decided to separate flower growers from other growers in their covid rules. Instead of being regulated with other perishable crops, they were grouped in with the nursery industries. Subsequently the nursery industries have been given further dispensations meaning that cut flowers have been ignored again. In order to ‘preserve the value of our stock’ which they tell us we are allowed to do, we have to be able to sell them! When flowers are ready for harvest it's use-them or lose-them.
Nicola and Jenna at Brite Blooms lead this report with devastating news and Aila from Hands in the dirt also shows the losses for her farm. Watch by folllowing this link.
New Zealand's thriving floral industry is largely self-sufficient. While many other markets like Europe and the US are importing a majority of their flowers from low-cost countries, where they are often grown in a heavily sprayed greenhouse before being packed in plastic and flown across the world to a huge carbon footprint, flowers can be sourced from New Zealand growers all year round, keeping imported flowers at a minimum. This has huge benefits to the environment, as well as the local green economy.
Covid-19 lockdowns in August and September 2021 have been particularly devastating to flower farmers in the North who are awash with spring flowers, the result of the highest investments in the flower farmers year. Unable to sell or distribute the current Spring crops, flower farmers are bearing financial losses many small-scale farmers serving their local communities cannot afford.
Sandra Sleeman of Mt Eden Roses and Natalie Tolchard of The Dahlia Field speak in support of selling perishable blooms during Level 4.
Cut flower growers need dispensation to be allowed to provide contactless delivery to existing essential businesses e.g. supermarkets, dairies, greengrocers & petrol stations, and ideally to provide safe contactless delivery to customers, with contactless pick-up options where appropriate. We need your help to share this, to make sure we still have flowers and flower growers once we’re through this challenging time!
If you believe flower farmers deserve fairer consideration and protection, and that flowers are as meaningful as some of the other goods still being traded under level 4 , please support us with your signature on this petition. Alternatively if you feel so strongly about this you can present your ideas and opinions to the following local MPs.
PM Jacinda Ardern: email@example.com , Damien O’Connor (Minister of Agriculture): Damien.O'Connor@parliament.govt.nz, Chris Hipkins (Minister for Covid-19 Response): firstname.lastname@example.org, Stuart Nash (Minister for Economic and Regional Development): email@example.com, and Opposition Minister David Bennett: David.Bennett@parliament.govt.nz