Farmers Market Experience
Today, at the Vancouver Farmers Market, there was a man standing with a tin of poppies strapped around his neck. A typical site you see between Halloween and Remembrance Day. But my experience today was a sad display of opportunism during a time for reflection and thanks for all of the men and women who have served our nation for peace and democracy.
I gave the fellow $5 and asked for 4 poppies - one for me and for each of my three children. When I saw the poppies were white, I asked why they were white and not red. He began to explain that the red poppies are to remember the veterans of war and the white poppies are to commemorate all victims of war.
I asked what the proceeds are used for. He proceeded to explain to me that the funds raised are used to pay for the cost to import and assemble the poppies from the UK. Surprised by this response, I asked again if the money raised was used to support a charity or cause and he explained that it wasn’t.
With no hesitation I asked for my $5 back and he returned it after some pause.
I did my research and if you buy a white poppy understand that your money DOES NOT go towards any charitable group or particular cause. There is no accountability of the white poppy financials. The websites for both Canada and the UK do not provide any clarity as to who is the owner of the white poppy organizations or what revenue is derived from their “consciousness raising” efforts.
This has all the makings of a classic pyramid scheme. Albeit a small one.
Money For Nothing & Poppies Ain’t Free
I amazes me that there are people who believe they are doing good upon the planet by “promoting peace” through a commercial enterprise such as this.
Big corporations and the wealthy 1% are constantly criticized for their “green washing”, excess living and corporate waste. Much of which is true and much of which is false.
What amazes me is how people like this man and the other people involved in the white poppy scheme are hardly questioned about what they are doing. They should be condemned for their opportunism of taking people’s money out of their desire to support veterans and Remembrance Day.
Shame on him and all those people promoting white poppies for peace, at a profit or even to cover their costs. Not cool.
See For Yourself
Where Does Your Money Go?
We distribute poppies by donation as a consciousness raiser, not a fundraiser. Importing poppies costs us ~$.85 ea. This money goes to the Peace Pledge Union in Britain and helps fund their excellent peace education work. Our additional expenses for pins, postage, envelopes & printing are ~$.33/poppy for a total of ~$1.10/poppy. Your donation of $1-$2/poppy lets us cover expenses and provide poppies at below cost to schools and disadvantaged groups.
Every year there is always someone, often in the media, who implies that money raised is used for some suspect activity; others categorically insists that the white poppies are ‘taking money from the valuable work the British Legion is doing’ and we get a lot of intemperate emails.
If you happen to hold this view why not check with the British Legion whether this is true before complaining to us.
You may also like to know that the Peace Pledge Union’s annual turnover is similar to the annual salary (£95,000+) of the British Legion’s chief executive.
How many white poppies are sold each year?
In 2015, we distributed 110,000 poppies via individuals as well as shops, schools, colleges, churches, local authorities and museums.
Who makes the white poppies?
The White Poppies are made commercially and provide jobs for people who might not otherwise be in employment.
Who Sells Them
Ethical Bean Coffee Roastery Café
Commercial Drive Pharmasave
People’s Co-op Bookstore
Gandy’s Home Hardware
Canadian Memorial Centre for Peace
Beyond Bread artisan bakery & café
Next time you see someone wearing a white poppy, tell them about this and remind them there is only one poppy to wear for Remembrance Day… and it’s the colour red!