Eco Hero: Sushma Windsor, Founder of Lettuce Flowers
Admin | 13.08.12
Today we’re interviewing our Eco Hero Sushma Windsor from Lettuce Flowers.
We love the fact that Lettuce Flowers are totally sustainable. You can have a beautiful table decoration or a gorgeous bouquet, which can then be planted and re-used and remind you of a special day. We love that there are recipes that go with the centrepieces and gifts, and you can use the herb and salad plants in the recipes! The flower industry is completely un-sustainable and we import so many cut flowers, which have a devastating impact on the environment. And it's absolutely fantastic that Sushma has such a deep understanding of this, and is so driven to address the issue - and has set up something so beautiful and inspiring in response to it.
What inspires you?
Lettuce Flowers is the answer to an everyday environmental disaster. More than 85% of UK imported flowers are grown in Kenya, and local water ways are severely polluted due to heavy, unregulated use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers.
By using locally, sustainably-grown plants, Lettuce Flowers aims to reduce the UK’s reliance on this unsustainable source. Using a seasonal and edible table centrepiece is not only unique, but truly revolutionary in event industry. Working with local nurseries that specialise in growing specific herbs and salad plants, is amazing.
We all live on one planet, and we must respect that with due care.
What makes you angry?
WASTE! It’s my biggest bugbear. From cheap, disposable furniture, fashion or food being binned, to clean tap water being flushed down the toilet to irresponsible councils building new, unsustainable homes.
Why do you do the job that you do?
I love fresh, edible flowers and working with couples who are planning their weddings is a real privilege.
Using Lettuce Flowers at formal and informal events brings a freshness to the dining experience. Our partner Edible Flower Growers can supply the very same flowers in the centre piece, to garnish the menu of the event. It brings the whole experience alive, creating a talking point at each table.
Is there anything that you are doing workwise that you want to shout about at the moment?
We’ve already begun taking bookings for next year; it is great to be able to help the couple think about the food choices they can have to complement the centrepieces, while adding a sustainable element to their special day. More and more, we are finding that people are becoming mindful of the environmental impact of their weddings and events. Lettuce Flowers is an easy way of being environmentally-friendly without having to compromise on beauty.
Our online shop is just about to go live. Customers will be able to buy and send gifts within the UK. It’s so exciting that this about to launch; so many eager people who have been asking for this service!
If you were Prime Minister, what would be the first thing you'd change?
Override George Osborne and make the banks pay for their own mistakes with a heavy fine. Then use the money to support directly eco-friendly, Green sector and small business. We only need to increase 5% of GDP to lift us out this recession, and small business can easily do this.
Can individuals really make a difference?
Yes, we all can. We can all shop for loose fruit and veg; it saves money and keeps unnecessary packaging out of landfill. Supermarkets watch what you buy, so they will offer you more loose items, if you keep buying them.
Buy less clothing and, when you do, buy good quality from British brands.
Instead of a bouquet of cut, imported flowers, send a Lettuce Flowers gift to your friends and relatives; they can eat and grow the plants too - what a super memory they will have from you. (And, if you must send cut flowers, use seasonal cut flowers grown in the UK!)
What’s more urgent: changing things from the inside or starting a revolution on the outside?
Definitely change from the inside!
Can you describe a typical work day?
Working with plants makes my days quite varied. It is a combination of tending to plants, visiting nurseries, giving quotes for events, designing themes for clients, discovering new seasonal plants and seeds and working with customers.
How do you define success?
It’s about achieving short term goals and being contented.
What’s the best advice anyone’s ever given you?
I love this quote from David Hieatt from Hiut Denim:
“Believe in what you do, stick to your principles and do not give up.”
What is the best meal you’ve had in your life?
Dinner at Ottolenghi, hard to describe the meal; but an explosion of flavours combined with freshness. I had their desserts for our wedding picnic - we still get people talking about it.
What’s your favourite book or film of late?
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
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