Sussex Flower Farm to feature in BBC1 programme

Pictures courtesy of Sussex Flower Farm
Pictures courtesy of Sussex Flower Farm

Sussex Flower Farm, based at the Wiston Estate near Steyning, will be featured on BBC1 in September.

Shelley Marks-Thompson runs the company, which grows flowers and sells them, cut to order, mostly for weddings, but also for local florists, floral designers, and event organisers.

Jon Cuthill, presenter of current affairs programme Inside Out South, interviewed Shelley and two other people who run similar businesses, for a future edition of the show.

Shelley told the County Times: “I think the programme is going to be a very positive take on seasonal flowers and buying locally.”

Shelley added that she’d been ‘quite fed up’ with the BBC recently, as the broadcaster had run programmes which mentioned the fact that many flowers are imported from, for instance, Ethiopia, but failed to acknowledge that this has serious drawbacks for the environment, and for the growers.

The UK market for cut flowers - once an almost entirely homegrown industry - is now dominated by imports.

Shelley said these often come from Mexico, Kenya, or Ethiopia, where workers tend to be poorly paid, and are expected to work under conditions that would be illegal in many countries.

Pollution is also a real problem, as a lack of local environmental controls can result in pesticides and fertilisers being allowed to contaminate the local groundwater.

The flowers are often flown to Holland, before being exported to their destination country.

“The majority of flowers that you see in the florists’ shops have two-and-a-half times more air miles than imported food, said Shelley.

She added that Sussex Flower Farm, rather than trying to compete with the cheap imports, focuses on growing things that aren’t imported in huge quantities.

The Inside Out episode is due to be broadcast on BBC1 on Monday September 5, at 7.30pm.

For more about Sussex Flower Farm, visit: http://sussexflowerfarm.co.uk/

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