The #buyflowersnottoiletpaper movement is saving millions of flowers from destruction.
Updated: Apr 20
Tulips hold the meaning of perfect love. According to an ancient Turkish/Persian folklore, the symbolism of tulips came about when a man named Farhad falls in love with a woman named Shirin, and when she is murdered he rides off a cliff and a red tulip is born in the spot where his blood is shed.
Tulips have come a long way, from their spread across Central Asia to their beloved residence in the Netherlands, which boasts the iconic colorful fields that we've come to associate with the very essence of the Dutch.
Today it's the tulips that take the role of Shirin, as over one million plants get destroyed.
I found it oddly charming that among the closed shops that line my street, the outdoor flower kiosks have remained. In an effort to support beauty and local business, I stopped by - to be met with the shocking news: up to 80% of flowers cultivated this year are set to be thrown out. Tulips, along with chrysanthemums, roses, and many others have been heaped into large piles throughout the Netherlands.
The central Dutch flower auction, operational for over 100 years, has never before had to close its doors for so long. The result is a massive blow to flower farmers, and the plants they've tenderly cultivated.
It's been a choked year for the flower that once costed more than a house.
There is a silver lining. Individuals and businesses have erected a new quarantine challenge in an attempt to save the beautiful blooms. The #flowerboostchallenge has become viral throughout the Netherlands, Belgium, and recently the UK. It's beginning to gain traction in Canada, and we are hoping that the US follows suit. You can follow the progress of the challenge on Twitter and Instagram.
With Easter fast approaching, I urge you to join the initiative and send some flowers. The benefits of sending flowers are extra impactful this spring.
To learn more about the #FlowerBoostChallenge and #BuyFlowersNotToiletPaper movement, you can check out the article, "Dutch scheme to boost wilting flower industry takes root" in The Guardian.
About the Author: Angie Sunshine is an American expat living in the Netherlands. She uprooted her life in an unexpected way to seek adventure and romance. It's led her to inner awakening and a career as both a copywriter and meditation teacher. When she's not writing or meditating for herself or others, she's traveling through Southern Europe in a VW Campervan or enjoying the virus lockdown with her partner and cat.