Buying British flowers has benefits for environment

Ben Cross
Ben Cross

This British Flower Week, a Walberton alstroemeria grower is encouraging everyone to learn more about the importance of buying British flowers.

Ben Cross of Crosslands Flower Nursery, a small family business, wants to raise awareness of the environmental issues surrounding importing flowers – and the benefits of buying locally.

He suggested that British Flowers Week was a great opportunity to learn more about locally grown products and growers in the area. Taking place from June 10 to 16, British Flower Week is the annual celebration of British flowers, plants and foliage and the UK cut flower industry.

Ben is a fourth generation grower, and his family has run the business since 1936, moving to the Walberton site in 1957.

Year-round, Ben operates a project called British Flowers Rock, which works to promote the British flower industry and encourage consumers to think about purchasing locally. He gives upwards of 50 talks every year and offers tours around his greenhouse.

He wants to raise awareness of our dependency on flowers being flown in from abroad – about 90 per cent of cut flowers are imported, and research has indicated that the carbon footprint of imported flowers is around ten times that of home-grown cut flowers. Supermarkets purchase cut flowers from abroad and often do not label them properly, not making their origin clear or even saying what spray has been used on them.

“We’re about 20 to 30 years behind other products in terms of awareness of buying local and labelling,” Ben explained. “My vision is like the changes we’ve seen in awareness of buying locally in terms of food. I think people should be able to make an educated choice about the flowers that they are purchasing – consumer awareness is really important.”

“There are so many benefits to buying British flowers – there’s a huge difference between what we do here at Crossland Flower Nursery and how flowers are produced abroad. The flowers produced here have no chemicals and there’s no chemicals in our packaging, the flowers are fresher and last longer. They’re also cheaper because all the middle men are cut out.”

More information can be found on Twitter and Instagram at @AlstroemeriaBen, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CrosslandsFlowerNursery