You may not have considered how florists manage to get so many perfect red roses in stock ready for the 14th February, but the truth is the vast majority will have been intensively grown and imported, normally by air, over thousands of miles. Each stem requires up to 10 litres of fresh water to reach its full size and like so many food crops, most flowers are grown with nasty pesticides. There’s also an ethical issue to consider regarding a fair wage for the growers. How about opting for locally grown, seasonal flowers - search on the internet and see what’s in your area – tulips and daffodils are in season now. If you wanted to go full-eco, a growing pot plant or even a tree is surely more romantic because it lasts, as well as being good for the planet.
If you wish to say it in writing.. Valentine’s Day cards are a classic, but how about getting crafty and up-cycling your own card from an old greetings card with a personalised message? If, for the sake of romance, you feel you have to buy a card, have a look for one made from recycled paper - there are plenty of lovely options out there!
If sweet treats are the way to your better half's heart - then aim to avoid the familiar, over-packaged, unfairly-traded chocolate gifts, grown with lots of pesticides, and instead look out for organic, ethical options. Or, even better - make your own homemade treats like these shortbread biscuits!
Champagne and fizz imported from abroad has a significant carbon footprint, so how about mixing it up and opting for a bottle of fizz from a British vineyard this Valentine's Day?
Brilliant British vineyards are cropping up all over the place. Look for organic grapes and local options like our very own River Cottage Organic Sparkling Wine, created in partnership with Oxney Organic, based in Kent.
Millions of UK couples will go on dates to hotels, restaurants and bars this Valentine’s Day, generating thousands of tonnes of food waste. Do your bit to avoid this by taking your leftovers home with you and enjoying them the next day. At the very least, you can feed them to the dog!
If you intend to go all out this year and buy jewellery, think carefully about it. When it comes to bad ethics and environmental damage, the jewel industry is not so sparkly. The gold mining and gemstone polishing industries are still rife with child labour and unfair wages. Instead, look for Fairtrade-certified companies that work to support independent artisans and communities.
Why not opt for an experience instead of an item? Give your loved one the gift of an unforgettable experience such as a River Cottage course or dining event, for a memory that will last long after the flowers have wilted!