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Boost care homes with Lily of Valley gift

An initiative to give Lily of the Valley flowers to staff and residents of retirement homes in France and at the same time support flower producers who cannot sell the traditional May 1 gift due to home confinement has been launched.

The group behind it, The Collectif de la Fleur Française which supports the culture and sale of local flowers in season in French florists, is raising money via the crowdfunding site Kisskissbankbank.

It will use the money to buy lily of the valleys from producers and have them delivered to the homes for both the residents and staff to enjoy.

In under a week they have raised over €20,000 and organised deliveries to 24 retirement homes. They hope to raise far more to cover more of the 7,000 retirement homes in France.

Association founder, Hélène Taquet says for some producers, sales of Lilies of the Valley make up 40-50% of their annual turnover and as florists are closed during the confinement period they will find it difficult if not impossible to sell this flower which is  traditionally given as a gift on May 1.

“We also know that the elderly in retirement homes feel abandoned, stuck in their rooms on their own.

“It is distressing talking to the staff in homes and I have had some in tears on the phone to me.  We have started in Ile-de-France but we want to extend to other parts of the countries and we are looking at possibilities in Bordeaux, Marseille and Lyon. The more money we get the more people we can give flowers to and the more producers we can support.”

The campaign runs until April 30 and is explained here:

Ms Taquet says the state of flower production in France is catastrophic. In the Ile-de-France there are just 20 growers, compared to 300 in the 80s.

For the whole of France for the same period, numbers have dropped from 4,000 to 350. The collective aims to encourage people to buy home grown flowers rather than depend on imports which make up 85% of blooms bought in France and which come with a high carbon footprint and pesticide and herbicide use.

“It is extremely important to make sure none of the existing growers go to the wall because of coronavirus. The difficulties started in March when bulbs like daffodils and tulips could not be sold. Now it is the lily of the valley period which will be followed by peonies.

“If we are still in confinement for the Fête des Mères [Mother's day] on June 7 we will have to think of another campaign. Many growers have monocultures.

“Others also sell fruit and vegetables, but small producers who usually sell in markets cannot even make up their income in this way because so many of them are closed. I think flowers should be seen as an essential commodity. They can bring so much joy to someone on their own in a tiny town apartment during these difficult times.” 

A donation of €10 will cover the costs of delivering one pot with three flowering stems.

Link to Les Fleurs du Bien

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