April 22nd, 2015
Podcast: Play in new window
This week’s episode coincides with Earth Day, fittingly symbolic for the Slow Flowers Movement and flower farmers, floral designers and product innovators who are working to change our industry and push for progress to alter the status quo.
So I’d like to share a few news items as well as two follow-up interviews featuring guests of past Slow Flowers Podcast episodes.
Listen closely to find out how you can win prize packages from each of our guests – you’ll want to get in on the good stuff!
First off, if you enjoyed last week’s interview with Jenny Elliott and Luke Franco of Tiny Hearts Farm in New York’s Hudson Valley and Rachel Gordon of Taproot Flowers of Brooklyn, please check out more photos that I’ve added to the show notes. They’re onto something really special and I encourage you to listen if you missed that episode – and enjoy the beautiful flowers the three of them grow and arrange in their worlds.
Second, I want to share details about this week’s Fashion Revolution Day, which takes place on April 24th.
If you believe in Slow Flowers, you should also embrace and support Slow Fashion, which has so many parallels in terms of labor practices, environmental concern and trade policy.
Slow Fashion asks questions about the origins of the clothing we wear that are virtually identical to the questions Slow Flowers asks about the bouquets we bring into our homes.
Fashion Revolution Day 2015 marks the second anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster in Dhaka, Bangladesh, which killed 1,133, and injured over 2,500 people.
According to Fashion Revolution’s data, one in six people work in the global fashion supply chain. It is the most labor-dependent industry on the planet, yet the people who make our clothing are hidden from us, often at their own expense, a symptom of the broken links across the fashion industry.
Wow, doesn’t that sound identical to the floriculture industry? On April 24th, coordinated teams around the world will challenge global fashion brands to demonstrate commitment to transparency across the length of the value chain, from farmers to factory workers, brands to buyers and consumers.
Zady.com, an innovative online fashion brand based in New York City, is serving as U.S. chair of Fashion Revolution Day. Slow Flowers has been invited to help promote the cause. Check out this Slow Fashion/Fashion Revolution event taking place in Brooklyn. Slow Flowers hopes to have ongoing involvement with Slow Fashion in the future.
I am inspired by what the fashion industry has done in just two years to mobilize conscious consumers to care about the origins of their clothing — and in the future, I hope the floral industry will be just as vocal. I don’t wish for a fatal disaster to occur at an unregulated flower farm in a distant land to make us all wake up and start asking about the origins of our flowers.
What you can do on April 24th is to use your own social channels to get active. Take a photo of yourself wearing an item of clothing inside out. Tag the brand, share the photo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtags: #whomademyclothes and #fashrev.
Not to take away from this important endeavor, but perhaps you’ll be inspired to ALSO take a photo of yourself holding flowers that came from a US mega-retailer, big box store or supermarket and tag that retailer on your social sites with the hashtags: #whogrewmyflowers and #slowflowers. Just a thought.
Thanks for caring!
April 8th, 2015
Podcast: Play in new window
Betany Coffland (left) and Lennie Larkin (right). This photograph captures the friends holding flowers they grew for Chica Bloom Farm (Betany) and Petaluma Bounty (Lennie).
Attention emerging flower farmers and #farmerflorists!
A B-Side boutonniere.
I know you’ll appreciate this week’s guests because they are both in the early phases of launching their floral businesses.
Either you’ve already been there so parts of their stories will sound familiar or you’re in the thick of building a floral enterprise – farming and/or design – and will draw inspiration from their candor about the challenges, opportunities and decisions about the direction to take.
With planting and harvesting season and months of weddings upon us, I can assure you that our episode is timely. Like all of my guests on the Slow Flowers Podcast, there is much to learn from what they have to share.
Please welcome Betany Coffland of Chloris Floral and Lennie Larkin of B-Side Farm. Together, they embody a unique collaboration for people who are growing and designing American flowers. Be wowed by the collective beauty of their work.
Betany, performing “Carmen,” photo by Pat Kirk
This episode was recorded in the San Jose hotel lobby after the conclusion of ASCFG’s “Growers’ Intensive” last month.
Betany Coffland has always possessed an artistic soul. Her first career lies in singing opera where she trained at the Juilliard School of Music.
Often gifted with an armload of bouquets on opening night, Betany frequently imagined herself in a Jane Austen novel.
The quintessential professional, Betany has given us permission to include snippets of her operatic performances, including the French art song, “A Chloris.” Check out her professional opera site here.
After moving to Sonoma County and reading the book, The Dirty Life, she was inspired to volunteer at a local flower farm to see if she would enjoy getting dirt under her nails and having the outdoors as an office.
A Chloris inspiration, photo by Paige Green
Betany Coffland, portrayed in an scene inspired by Chloris, the Greek goddess of flowers, photo by Paige Green
Betany swiftly and deeply fell entranced with how stunning and heartbreakingly gorgeous locally grown flowers are.
For 18 months, she co-owned Chica Bloom Farm, acting as the lead designer and wedding coordinator.
She especially loved getting to know her community through delivering weekly flower CSA bouquets.
In the winter of 2014, Betany launched Chloris Floral. The namesake Chloris perfectly combines her two artistic endeavors, classical singing and floral design.
Not only is Chloris the Greek goddess of flowers, she is also the heroine of Betany’s favorite French art song, “A Chloris,” by Reynaldo Hahn.
This song has special meaning because it was performed by a dear friend at Betany’s wedding to her husband Joseph. Now part of Betany’s repertoire, she continues to perform A Chloris.
A Chloris Floral spring bouquet inspired by Vivaldi’s Spring Concerto from The Four Seasons
Betany and her floral arrangement, Inspired by Debussy’s symphonic work- La Mer
Chloris Floral is a flower design studio in Sonoma County committed to using 100% local and seasonal blooms grown using organic practices. By supporting and building upon the strength of the local farming community, Chloris ensures the availability of fresh, locally grown blooms necessary to create achingly beautiful old world designs.
A little bit country: flower farmer, Lennie Larkin
A lush B-Side bouquet, by Lennie Larkin.
In her “day job,” Lennie Larkin is the community farm manager at Petaluma Bounty, a nonprofit community farm that works to create a healthy and sustainable food system for everyone in Petaluma, California.
At Petaluma Bounty, Lennie grows lots of vegetables and a seriously beautiful patch of flowers that are sold locally, including at farmers’ markets.
She will share her story, so I don’t want to give too much away, but let me quickly introduce Lennie’s new flower farming business, B-Side Farm.
B-Side Beauty, by Lennie Larkin
She describes B-Side as a small, bustling flower farm that grew out of her obsession with fragrant blossoms.
It sits on a fertile piece of land in the rolling hills of Petaluma, in the southern pocket of Sonoma County, California. From show-stopping dahlias to rare foliages and simple herbs, B-Side specializes in favorite old-fashioned flowers, picked daily and bursting with dreamy scents.
Lennie’s flowers and arrangement supply a family of local-minded florists and specialty stores in Petaluma, San Francisco, and Oakland, and she welcomes orders of loose flowers and specialty arrangements for pickup straight from the farm. Read Lennie’s extended bio from her new web site.
Lennie and Betany are founding members of the North Bay Flower Collective, a group of flower farmers and floral designers in the North SF Bay Area.
I love the motivation that led to the formation of the North Bay Flower Collective: To lean on each other for support and pull our resources together to build a flower growers’ alliance helping each farmer and florist to grow and thrive.
Here are the links to Betany’s social sites for Chloris, to Lennie’s social sites for B-Side and to the North Bay Flower Collective.
You’ll want to follow these talented individuals and watch how their coming design season unfolds:
Find Betany here:
Chloris Floral on Facebook
Chloris Floral on Instagram
Chloris Floral Web Site
Find Lennie here:
B-Side Farm on Facebook
B-Side Farm on Instagram
B-Side Farm Web Site
Thank you so much for joining me this week and please return again, as I continue to share insightful and educational episodes recorded exclusively for the Slow Flowers Podcast.
Listeners like you have downloaded the podcast more than 42,000 times. Until next week please join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.
The content and opinions expressed here are either mine alone or those of my guests alone, independent of any podcast sponsor or other person, company or organization.
The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.