What it means to grow naturally and sustainably
- Published: Friday, 21 August 2015 16:57
Recently a customer asked me what it means when we say ‘ Our flowers are grown naturally and sustainably'.
I get the feeling that they were thinking 'What difference does it make if they are organic or not, if they are not going to be eaten'. It made me realise that people often only associate organic methods with food production and don’t understand the value of all farming/growing being organic.
Note : I would like to state that while we grow organically, our use of the word 'organic' is limited as we are not certified organic (for reasons I will explain later) so instead we use the words 'natural' and 'sustainable'.
Firstly, natural farming methods aren't all about the end product. That would be a little selfish of us humans. Yes, naturally/organically grown foods/flowers are much better for our health but they are also better for the whole Earth.
If at Soah we didn't grow our flowers in a natural and sustainable way, then when I present you with a bunch of our freshly picked flowers I could hand them to you and say :
“Here are your lovely flowers, producing these resulted in the poisoning of unknown numbers of slugs, hedgehogs and birds (who both inevitably end up eating the poisoned slugs) along with a number of bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects. It also used litres of peat moss, taken from Irish bog land (it takes hundreds of years to produce a tiny layer of peat moss). It resulted in a variety of toxic chemicals being pumped into the soil which will remain there for countless years to come and the kids got really sick when they accidentally came into contact with these chemicals.”
Still want those flowers?
I hope this helps you understand why we grow the way we do. How we do it is by using organic products and methods. We use compost that has been man made (from natural sources) and not extracted from bogs. The food we feed our plants with comes from natural sources and is chemical free. We do not use pesticides and herbicides.
The only downside to working in this way is that everything is more expensive. This makes our flowers a little more expensive. But the positives far out way the negatives. By spending a little more on our supplies, and you, the customer paying a little more for your flowers means you are not only helping to look after the beautiful Earth we already have, but also protecting it for future generations to come.
The reason why we are not certified organic is because we do not fulfil all the criteria necessary for certification : The land we rent was not organic at the time of renting. The majority of the seeds and plant stock we buy in are not organic. There is a limited variety of organic flower seeds available and as we want to grow everything we possible can, only choosing organic seed is not an option for us.
In the future we may seek to become fully organically certified. In the meantime we will continue to produce flowers in the most natural and sustainable ways possible.