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29 April, 2021

Local and blooming beautiful

ASKING your florist for locally-grown flowers this Mother’s Day will not only help support local farmers and provide local jobs, but also, spoil your Mum with fresher, longer-lasting blooms, according to local growers.

By Tanya Murphy

Gordonvale’s Cornetts IGA Supermarket staff member Michelle Tattain shows off some of the store’s 100 per cent locally-grown flowers.

Paul Daly’s farm, Roseburra Flower Farm in Yungaburra, is among only four left in the Far North, after more than 15 other flower farms closed down in the past 15 years due to competition from imported blooms.

In the leadup to Mother’s Day, Roseburra will supply more than 4000 bunches (more than 40,000 stems) of roses, carnations, gerberas and other flowers to around 30 different stockists between Mossman and Ayr.

However, Mr Daly said up to 90 per cent of Australia’s flowers were imported by air from countries with lower wages and production costs, like Kenya, Thailand
and Columbia.

“With local flowers, you’re lowering your carbon footprint and getting better quality, because you’re getting flowers that are at a florist’s doorstep with 24 hours of being cut, whereas imported flowers can be seven to ten days old by the time you see them,” he said.

“Foreign flowers are also required to be fumigated with glyphosate pesticide before being transported, whereas local flowers are not.

“Imported flowers also pose a huge biosecurity risk for Australia as they could be harbouring foreign bugs, which attack flower and cotton crops, and could escape fumigation and detection by hiding in between closed petals.”

Mr Daly said reduced international flights had slowed flower imports during COVID-19, which forced more people to buy local by default, but a conscious change in buyer habits, or government regulation of imports, would be necessary to secure the future of flower farmers.

“I think over the next three years we should be ok, because of what COVID’s done to the imports, but then I’m hoping there’ll be a continuation of support for locally grown flowers,” he said.

Terry Heidenreich has farmed chrysanthemums and other flowers near Malanda since the 1970s and agreed some government regulation on flower imports would benefit local growers.

“At the moment there is no ‘country of origin’ labelling on flowers, as seen on fruits and vegetables, and if labelling were introduced, the choice would be easier for consumers,” said Mr Heidenreich.

“Let’s keep spending money locally, and benefit the whole community.”

Florist Alan Maclean of Edmonton Flowers said he was dedicated to supporting local growers by using 100 per cent locally grown flowers, including from both Roseburra and Heidenreichs Farms.

Cornetts IGA Supermarket in Gordonvale also supplies 100 per cent locally
grown flowers.

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