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‘Help farmers’: Quebec flower growers encourage buying local on Mother’s Day

Click to play video: 'Quebec flower growers on the benefits of buying local'
Quebec flower growers on the benefits of buying local
WATCH: For florists, Mother's Day is the equivalent of the Super Bowl. It's one of the top selling holidays of the year. And millions of the flowers sold that weekend come from miles away. A new association of flower growers in Quebec has come to life to encourage people to buy local, a growing trend that they say has many benefits. Gloria Henriquez has more – May 11, 2024

For those in the floral business, Mother’s Day is the equivalent of the Super Bowl for football athletes.

It’s one of the top-selling holidays of the year and millions of the flowers sold that weekend come from miles away.

It’s why a new association of flower growers,  the Association of Cut Flower Producers of Quebec, has come to life to encourage people to buy local, a growing trend that they say has many benefits.

The owner of Marie Vermette flower shop on Laurier Est, Julie Belleau-Roy,  expects about 25 per cent of the flowers she will use for Mother’s Day deliveries will be from Quebec.

Clients she says, are asking more and more for local flowers.

“I would say for maybe four, five years,” Belleau-Roy said. “I would probably say that the pandemic boosted everything.”

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It’s a boost that benefits flower farmers like Valérie Goulet.

“You help farmers in your area to live, to pay their mortgages and groceries,” Goulet said.

Goulet owns Picaflore, a flower farm south of Montreal. She’s one of the estimated 120 flower farms across Quebec.

From May to November, she cultivates Tulips, Narcissus and Grape Hyacinths among other varieties.

She says buying local has many benefits, including helping the environment.

“We don’t use pesticides,” Goulet says, adding the flowers last longer. “It’s also good for pollinators.”

In 2022, Canada imported $141M in cut flowers, becoming the 13th largest importer in the world, according to numbers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC). The flowers are mainly from Colombia ($65.9M), Ecuador ($38.2M) and the Netherlands ($14.4M), traveling thousands of miles in refrigerated containers and leaving a major carbon footprint.

It’s why the Association of cut flower producers of Quebec recently sprung, saying it’s time to wake up and smell the local flowers.

Goulet is part of the newly minted association.

Because they can’t grow flowers year-round in Canada’s climate, she is encouraging shoppers to support local farmers by buying flower subscriptions during the season.

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You can go on the association’s website to choose a local farm offering the services.

Some farms also offer self-picking options or offer workshops.

Goulet says customers should keep asking for local product at their favourite flower shop to keep growing the blossoming trend of buying and supporting local.

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