Cooler Tour: July 9, 2018

Helianthus or sunflower is a genus of plants comprising about 70 species Except for three species in South America, all Helianthus species are native to North America. The common name, “sunflower”, typically refers to the popular annual species Helianthus annuus, or the common sunflower, whose round flower heads in combination with the ligules look like the sun. This and other species, notably Jerusalem artichoke, are cultivated in temperate regions and some tropical regions as food crops for humans, cattle, and poultry, and as ornamental plants.

From an essay by Jennie Love

Locally grown flowers usually never leave water. They are usually grown organically or with very minimal chemicals. They grow in a field where the natural rain and sun support their growth, instead of in a hot house under plastic, being fed a slurry of synthetic fertilizers under artificial light. Locally grown flowers only require a bucket (that almost certainly gets washed and used again) and maybe a bit of paper for wrapping a bouquet. Definitely no trash heaps. Compared to the imports, locally grown flowers boast a huge array of diversity; countless varieties to choose from in a rainbow of colors. The bees, butterflies and birds in the fields really enjoy the diversity too. Those winged friends go on to pollinate nearby food crops, keeping our ecosystem healthy and our tables full. Locally grown flowers provide good jobs for our immediate community. Locally grown flowers are usually picked the same day or just the day before you get them. You might even go pick them yourself. They last a lot longer in the vase – at least a week, sometimes two!

There is something fluid and extraordinary about locally grown flowers that sets them apart, yet defies words to describe it. Perhaps the word is just “natural”. They’re natural, the way it was meant to be, just like a tomato in August. It’s time to demand a better bouquet.

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