August 12, 2011
WORMS, BUGS, PLANTS, FLOWERS, GARDENS . . . AND CONSUMERS
Amy Stewart, The Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms (Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2005).
Amy Stewart, Flower Confidential (Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2007) ("This [New York's Upper West Side] is an upscale neighborhood; the shop charges $150 for the flowers and the square green pottery vase it comes in. If you were to price it out, you might find that the customer paid close to $5 for each 'Limbo' rose in the bouquet. The florist bought the roses for a $1.50 or $2  per stem, and that's a premium price that befits an upscale rose. When that same flower left the farm on Monday and made its way down a dusty, eucalyptus-lined road toward the Pan-American Highway and on to Quito, it earned thirty cents for the grower who nurtured it along and prepared it for its long journey. And what about the workers who cut the stem, stripped its leaves, graded it, packed it, and loaded it on the truck? Their wages represent less than four cents for every 'Limbo' sold." Id. at 183-184. "A mixed bouquet for sale at a supermarket could contain roses from Ecuador, carnations from Colombia, and larkspur from California. Where they came from, how they were grown, what was sprayed on them, and how the workers were treated--all these issues get harder and harder to sort out as individual flowers are packed into boxes, bundled into crates, loaded onto cargo planes, and unloaded at international airports, Once flowers begin the final leg of their journey to the consumer, they lose their identity. They blur together in a sea of petals and leaves, of sweet carnation pinks and fiery dahlia reds. It is at this stage, all massed together, that flowers seemed to me for the first time to me utterly faceless, anonymous." "If it seems like flowers have lost their soul in this process well, they have. There's nothing romantic or sentimental about toxic pesticides and underpaid workers. . . ." Id. at 186.)
Amy Stewart, From the Ground Up: The Story of a First Garden (Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2001).
Amy Stewart Wicked Bugs: The Louse That Conquered Napoleon’s Army & Other Diabolical Insects (Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2011).
Amy Stewart, Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln’s Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities (Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2009).