Some Roses Don't Smell So Sweet

by Chris Sturr | February 06, 2008

Before you order those overpriced roses for your Valentine’s Day sweetie, consider a few disturbing facts from our friends at US/LEAP:

  • Flower workers are primarily women who work long hours, especially before holidays like Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day, are paid poverty-level wages, and face hazardous working conditions
  • Over 60% of flowers bought in the U.S. come from Colombia
  • Nearly 100,000 flower workers are employed in Colombia, most of whom are women
  • The largest grower and exporter of flowers from Colombia is Dole, which is also the largest exporter of flowers from Latin America to the U.S.
  • Dole announced in October 2006 that it would close its largest plantation in Colombia following a two-year campaign by its workers to improve wages and working conditions and form a union.

US/LEAP is organizing a speaking tour of a worker at one one of the Dole plantations. Dora Acero will be traveling through cities in the Midwest in April. Contact Cryerson(at)usleap.org to get involved. Also visit US/LEAP for more ways to help support the rights of flower workers in Colombia.

OK, so what should you buy your loved ones? Fair Trade certified chocolate, of course. Some of our favorites include:

Equal Exchange
Art Bars

And if flowers are still the thing, you can now get them from Fair Trade certified sellers.

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