Today an estimated fifty million people in over 220 countries will tune in to watch the Rose Parade. Floats covered with eighteen million flowers will parade down the sunny streets of Pasadena, California. Early parade officials in 1890, wanted a parade to gloat about the mild year-round weather of Southern California that can grow roses in the middle of winter (gloating about good weather in California is taught at an early age). Yet only two float entries are decorated with flowers exclusively grown in California– the rest are imported.
The official rose of the Rose Parade is South American. The pretty petals from South America are laced with over one hundred different types of chemical pesticides. In Columbia, the supplier of fifty percent of U.S. flowers, is reported to use one hundred and twenty seven different pesticides, herbicides and fungicides in their flower greenhouses. This list includes chemicals banned in the California like methyl bromide and DDT. According to the Journal of Environmental Health, Costa Rican flower producers (another large supplier) are directly responsible for the pollution of important major waterways and underground aquifers in the region.
Rose parade officials can’t recall the last time a float has been covered by 100% homegrown California botanicals. Two floats are a start. But wouldn’t it be grand to watch a parade of roses that are 100% organically grown? That is the Rose Parade I hold out for; a parade whose beauty and splendor is not at the expense of fresh water supplies in the U.S. or abroad.
My wish for the New Year.
To find your own locally grown organic flowers visit Local Harvest.