Local flower power
Wilja Happé is the founder of Farmers West Flowers & Bouquets, a sustainable and socially responsible flower farm in Carpinteria. She sets an example for responsible business and gives back in amazing ways. Wilja will be sharing her stories of how she gives back at our Valentines For Good event this Thursday.
We do love flowers. We recently attended an event where a nice fellow was handing out single stems of brightly colored daisies he had just purchased from the farmers’ market. That simple long stem with a burst of pink on the end made us smile not just in the moment but for a whole week.
With Valentine’s Day coming up in a few weeks, flowers are on our mind again. In fact, we Americans spend an average of $70 every year on flowers for Valentine’s Day. But almost all of the flowers we buy are grown overseas on farms that follow questionable labor practices and unsustainable and polluting environmental practices.
As socially conscious consumers, this presents a dilemma: Should we forgo flowers altogether, or is there another way?
Well it just so happens that right in our backyard are a number of local flower farms that are doing things the right way, sustainably and socially responsible. When we buy flowers that are California grown, sustainable, and environmentally friendly, we’re putting money back into our local economy while doing something good for the people and planet.
So at our Valentines for Good event this week, we’ve invited Wilja Happé, the founder of Farmers West Flowers and Bouquets, a socially and environmentally responsible local grower, to share the story of how her company does good.
Wilja’s company, which was founded in 1990, is located in Carpinteria, CA. This great little city (Santa Barbara’s neighbor to the South) is a hub for commercial flower growing. Wilja has created a thriving business and from its inception, her company has employed sustainable agriculture and fair labor practices.
But their commitment to giving back extends beyond the boundaries of the farm. As we learned recently, Wilja has used her skills and ability in flower growing to help make a difference in Africa.
Since 2008, Wilja has traveled to Rwanda to work with the non-profit group Solace to help build Solace Farms, a community garden and flower farm that provides HIV-positive women, genocide survivors and orphans a way to become economically self-sufficient and support their families.
(courtesy Farmers West Flowers & Bouquets)
Come learn more from Wilja about her company and the project in Rwanda at our Valentines for Good event – this Thursday, January 26, 2012 at 6:00pm at Reds Bar and Tapas.