Florists, flower farmers dealing with fallouts from COVID-19

Flower farmers and the people who take those flowers to market are dealing with the fallouts of the COVID-19 pandemic, from event cancellations, to high import prices.

Lana Braun, owner of the Hummingbird Farm in the Slocan Valley, said their sales are suffering, primarily due to the postponement of 2020 weddings. She estimates 40 per cent of their income comes from weddings.

"So that's obviously not going to happen this year," she told Daybreak South host Chris Walker.

In addition, they can't sell their flowers at the farmers market, because only food can be sold at farmers markets under current B.C. regulations.

She is, however, still able to sell her flowers at two local grocery stores.

Hummingbird Farm/Facebook
Hummingbird Farm/Facebook

Galena Clancy, who owns Burnett's Florist and Gifts in Kelowna, said that though retails sales are certainly down, a lot of people are using flowers to communicate with loved ones they can't visit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I'm seeing a lot of 'happy birthday, sorry we can't come and have a party with you' kind of vibe," Clancy said.

"Easter was really great for us. There were a lot of Easter flowers going out."

By offering the ability to order flowers online, Clancy has been able to maintain some sales and minimize the number of people going to the shop.

That said, Clancy said there are restrictions when it comes to bringing in flowers from international sellers and the cost of imports has increased.

"We try to stay inside of B.C. anyway. It's just better for the environment and it's better for Canada in general."

"The international supply has become a huge problem," Braun said, adding that the inability for florists to get imported flowers could mean they end up closing their stores altogether.

Braun is unsure of how the flower business will be impacted by the pandemic in the long run.

"Some days, I feel like it's going to be better than ever because people are going to be wanting flowers ... and other days I think who knows what it's going to bring, are we going to be composting flowers?" Braun said. "It's anyone's guess at this point."