Debra Prinzing

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Archive for the ‘American Flowers Week’ Category

Episode 382: Slow Flowers’ 2019 Floral Insights & Industry Forecast

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019

Welcome to the 2019 Forecast!

Happy New Year 2019!

I’ve finally put away the holiday decorations and with my thoughts already turning to the spring garden, it’s time to look to the future. Our BIG NEWS for 2019 is the launch of a one-stop web site for all-things Slow Flowers. Please visit our newly-branded site on the web — SlowFlowersSociety.com.

Check out the NEW Slowflowerssociety.com site!

It is fresh, user-friendly and gives you access to all of the Slow Flowers programs, events and channels in one place.

Why the Society? Our focus hasn’t changed. In fact our mission continues. Which is:  to change the flower sourcing practices of consumers and professionals through outreach and education that highlights the benefits of local, seasonal and domestic floriculture — and to build a movement that promotes cultivation and sales of those flowers while nurturing authentic connections between consumers, farmers, and florists.

Slowflowers.com is now part of the Slow Flowers Society underscores our inclusive community dedicated to preserving domestic floral farms and supporting safe, seasonal and local supplies of sustainablyfarmed flowers and foliage. Our members are engaged in all facets of the U.S. floral industry.

I’m excited to share highlights from the annual Slow Flowers’ Floral Insights and Industry Forecast.

This report originated in the fall of 2014, when I traveled to NYC to meet with garden and lifestyle media as part of the launch of Slowflowers.com. The publicists helping me, Lola Honeybone and Marla Kramer, suggested I produce a powerpoint presentation to help illustrate the central themes of the Slow Flowers movement. It was a great tool to walk editors and writers through our platform, and to discuss shifts taking place in the floral marketplace that directly reflected significant changes in how flowers could be grown, designed and marketed.

When 2015 rolled around just months later, I shared those insights on this Podcast — and it became the first of our annual ritual.

For each of the past five years, I have drawn from a number of sources to develop this annual forecast. Sources include hundreds of my first-person interviews for print and digital stories, input gathered from the Slow Flowers Community, conversations with past guests of the Slow Flowers Podcast and idea-exchanges with other progressive leaders in the floral marketplace — farmers, florists and design creatives — who together inspire this “floral futures” report.

I hope you find these forward-thinking resources important and valuable. I’d love to hear your feedback and suggestions. Find an expanded version of this report, including a free PDF [Download here: Slow Flowers Forecast 2019].

You can also find an executive summary of the report in the pages of the brand new January 2019 edition of Florists’ Review.

A note about our programming change for 2019. Because of so much demand — all good — from podcast sponsors, we are trying something a little different for 2018. Rather than giving you a lengthy sponsor list at the end of the show, I’ll highlight just three sponsors during the episode — at the beginning, our mid-show break – and at the end.

First up: the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers.

Formed in 1988, ASCFG was created to educate, unite, and support commercial cut flower growers.

Its mission is to help growers produce high-quality floral material, and to foster and promote the local availability of that product.

Learn more at ascfg.org. And check out the web site for details about the upcoming Focus on the Business of Cut Flowers Conference, set for Feb 18-19 in Denver.

Seven of the experts presenting at the conference are past guests of the Slow Flowers Podcast, so you’ll recognize some familiar names and topics in the lineup!

The title of this year’s 2019 Slow Flowers’ Floral Insights and Industry Forecast is TRACKING FLORAL FUTURES

I know you’ll agree with me that the floral professional’s role is to connect consumers with the natural world through artistry and design. So it’s no surprise that this year’s emerging themes include ideas and concepts that strengthen community ties with values-driven consumers, as well as nurture entrepreneurial innovation in horticulture and floriculture. If you’re an “early adopter,” these concepts may resonate or reinforce your current approach to sustainable design.

In recent months, I’ve shared many of these ideas at top industry venues, including Hitomi Gilliam’s Trend Summit 2018, the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers annual conference and the Southern Flower Symposium. I’ll also share this report at an upcoming member-only event for the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market on Jan 23rd. Find more details here.

Number #1 Experiences, Not Conveniences

In a retail climate where Amazon is king, those who engage floral consumers in authentic, tactile, visceral experiences will break through the click-and-buy or cash-and-carry mindset. Customers who connect with you, your story, your flowers and the origin of those flowers are the foundation of your loyal tribe.

And while efforts and actions that strengthen our ties with customers isn’t an entirely new concept, it is one you must habitually practice, especially in today’s cluttered and distracting marketplace. Events, tours, workshops and other experiential programming are critical — and much more powerful than touching customers through social media channels alone.

Many of you have a deep understanding of the power of experiences, and my advice to you is to continue investing time, resources and creativity to offer the floral marketplace a chance to forge a relationship with you and your flowers.

A Flower-Filled Community Festival at My Garden Over Floweth — all about EXPERIENCES! (c) Courtney Coriell Photography

For example, Slow Flowers members Teresa Engbretson and Katie Elliott of My Garden Over Floweth, open their Paterson, Wash., farm for two seasonal “Flower Fling” festivals each year. These farmer-florists have created events that provide a sense of community for their customers, while also offering a new venue for other vendors. In their recap post after the Fall Fling, they wrote:

We place so much thought, time and care into planning the best experience we possibly can and we hope that shows!  This is a space and a time where memories are made and we hope each and every person felt a warm welcome. We felt so much love yet again by all who attended, including amazing local vendor family.  Each vendor and their products speak to hard work, quality and friendship, we are so honored to have so many great people surrounding us at our farm!

You don’t have to be a professional event planner to pull off an experience-rich program. Not at all. Start small and open your studio or farm gate to flower lovers — you’ll be positively rewarded.

READ MORE…

Episode 381: A Year in Review – Slow Flowers’ Highlights for 2018

Wednesday, December 26th, 2018

The Slow Flowers Community and listenership of this program have grown larger than ever, with more than 390,000 total downloads since this show launched in July 2013. That’s amazing news and I’m thrilled to share it with you.

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

Every single week this year; in fact, every single week for the past 282 weeks, it has been my privilege to feature the voices of our Slow Flowers community with you.

Unlike any other internet radio show in existence, the Slow Flowers Podcast is tailored to you and your interests, making its “must-listen” programming a habit among flower farmers and floral designers alike.

In producing and hosting the Slow Flowers Podcast, I seek out pioneers and personalities, style-makers and influencers — as well as unsung or little known heroes — who together are changing the floral landscape, disrupting the status quo, and bringing flower sourcing and growing practices, not to mention eco-conscious design methods, to the center of the conversation. And thanks for joining in. Whether you’ve just discovered this podcast or are a longtime fan, I encourage you to take advantage of the immense body of knowledge that can be found in the archives.

As I have done since the beginning of 2014, I would like to devote today to the Slow Flowers Highlights of this past year. Next week, on January 2nd, I will present the annual Slow Flowers’ Floral Insights and Industry Forecast for 2019.

I’m motivated as a storyteller to connect with the Slow Flowers Community in real and personal ways — and that was certainly the case in 2018. Rather than share a chronological travelogue of the year’s calendar, I’m mixing it up today.

I’ve looked in the rear-view mirror to remember 2018 and — wow — the themes bubbling up to the top are impressive. I’m humbled by the warm embrace of the Slow Flowers Community and more than ever, I realize that making authentic human connections with you is what really matters. Each experience is more meaningful because of the relationships we forge with one another.

I’ve identified 10 Top Themes of 2018 that I want to reflect on and share with you today.

Our speakers, from left: Mary Kate Kinnane, Kelly Shore, Debra Prinzing, Jonathan Weber, Jessica Hall, Walker Marsh, Christina Stembel, Kit Wertz & Casey Schwartz (not pictured: Mud Baron)

NUMBER ONE: the SECOND ANNUAL SLOW FLOWERS SUMMIT

Slow Flowers Summit logo The Slow Flowers Summit is the LIVE event in the midst of American Flowers Week, created to serve the Slow Flowers community of progressive, sustainably-minded florists and designers and to engage attendees who want to network with one another.

Planning and producing the 2nd Summit was a huge financial risk, especially since it was the first time on the east coast, away from our original Seattle venue.

I knew we could lose money but my heart told me it was important to forge ahead, as I found myself inspired by the amazing sense of inclusion, connection, new ideas, beauty and humanity surrounding our floral-filled lives.

I believed taking that risk was essential. That risk paid off and we actually had a sold-out Summit on Friday, June 29th in Washington, D.C., with a remarkably welcoming venue host – the American Institute of Floral Designers.

I have so many people to thank for helping produce the Summit, so let me get started. First of all, thanks to Bob Wollam and his team at Wollam Gardens for opening up their Virginia farm the day prior to the Summit for tours, lunch and community. That bonus pre-event was so positive that it inspired us to add two pre-event flower farm tours for our 2019 Slow Flowers Summit. THANK YOU all!

Ellen Seagraves, Cathy Houston and Dana Sullivan ~ the talented florists who led our interactive floral installation.

We had wonderful day-of volunteers, but I mostly want to single out Ellen Seagraves of Chic Florals and Dana O’Sullivan of Della Blooms, both Slow Flowers Members and part of Independent Floral Designers of Maryland, for volunteering to create the Summit’s interactive floral installation. We had so many wonderful donations from flower farms to pull this off — including Charles Little & Co., FernTrust, Green Valley Floral, LynnVale Studio & Farm and Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers — as well as EcoFresh Bouquets, which provided wraps for the foam-free installation.

I can’t forget to thank our speakers — without whom the day would have been an empty room, of course. Our keynote speaker Christina Stembel of Farmgirl Flowers wowed us with a frank discussion of building a self-funded floral business through grit and determination.

We enjoyed two visually and intellectually-inspiring design + business presentations geared toward florists who are committed to the Slow Flowers ethos, in their sourcing and in the ways they build community — Thank you Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore and Mary Kate Kinnane of The Local Bouquet and thank you Kit Wertz and Casey Schwartz of Flower Duet.

Our Flowers + Tech panel introduced a fascinating discussion about the challenges of transportation, infrastructure and shipping — thank you to Jonathan Weber of greenSinner, Jessica Hall of Harmony Harvest Farm and Christina Stembel of Farmgirl Flowers for their excellent presentations and for helping us look toward the horizon of new business models.

And finally, thank you to our final two speakers, men who are passionate about flower farming as a tool for improving the lives of their communities ~ Walker Marsh of Tha Flower Factory in Baltimore and Mud Baron of Flowers on your Head in Los Angeles.

Flowers on my head, courtesy of Mud Baron.

Among other messages, we learned from them about sowing future seeds of hope through flowers. If you were in attendance – or if you followed the fun on social media, you also know that Mud was a flower force to be reckoned with as he festooned our heads with bouquets to fulfill his mission of photographing as many humans as possible for his Flowers on Your Head photographic project.

If you missed the Summit, you can find all the video presentations available to watch for just $48 on Vimeo — a full day of ideas, information, inspiration, inclusion and instigation with each of these speakers.

Watch a free clip of my opening remarks about the origins of the Slow Flowers Summit.

And I can’t finish this section without reminding you to register for the 3rd annual Slow Flowers Summit, taking place July 1-2, 2019 as an expanded conference, offering you more value and benefits for attending.

The early-bird pricing continues through Dec. 31st so there’s not much time left to save $100 and grab a seat to join me and some wonderful speakers in St. Paul Minnesota!

NUMBER TWO: AMERICAN FLOWERS WEEK 2018 (June 28-July 4)

This original flower promotion holiday, launched in 2015, celebrated its fourth annual campaign. I was encouraged and inspired by friends behind British Flowers Week to create American Flowers Week (and to continue their generosity, I helped support the creation of Canadian Flowers Week this past September).

This grassroots, all-inclusive campaign provides editorial, branding and marketing resources to flower farmers, florists, designers, retailers and wholesalers who wish to promote American grown Flowers.

And wow, did you participate this past year! We have been tracking engagement on Instagram and Twitter, which this year was tricky because new rules on those platforms restricted our ability to measure the potential engagement of our followers’ followers (IF you saw what happened with Facebook this year, I’m sure that make sense)

Even with those tracking limitations, you and your participation in American Flowers Week generated amazing numbers — 3.6 million impressions in the month leading up to the 2018 celebration. We know the real total engagement was much higher, due to tracking tools not being able to capture Facebook traffic.

#americanflowersweek on Instagram this week!

All I can say is THANK YOU to each one of you who joined in the fun by designing red-white-and-blue bouquets, taking photos and posting/tagging them as #local #american and #seasonal and #slowflowers.

Rita Anders of Cuts of Color in Weimar, Texas, delivered American Flowers Week bouquets and bunches to Central Market stores in Houston.

Thanks to those of you who ordered our bouquet labels to use on your market and grocery bouquets, and for CSAs and popup events. And thanks for building the buzz to raise awareness about the importance of conscious choices when it comes to buying flowers. The more fun and fashion we can share with flowers, the more their origin becomes a top-of-mind decision at the cash register.

And speaking of fashion, 2018 was the third year of our American Flowers Week – floral fashion collection, a brilliant season of botanical garments revealing the beauty of flowers, the people who grow those flowers and the floral artists who reimagine them into garments.

Opening pages of “Field to Fashion,” in Slow Flowers Journal for Florists’ Review (June 2018)

This year, we called the theme “Field to Fashion,” and revealed all five floral couture looks in the pages of Florists’ Review magazine. Producing this floral narrative began in Homer, Alaska, where Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore partnered with Beth Van Sandt of Scenic Place Peonies to envision a styled shoot reflecting just-picked peonies with a storyline that reflects the character, history and geography of Homer.

The series continued with photo shoots taking place through subsequent months of the year, as designers and flower farmers collaborated to turn cut flowers into haute couture, including a session in Sonoma County, with design talents from farmer-florist Hedda Brorstrom of Full Bloom Flower Farm and dazzling dahlias grown by Kate Rowe of Aztec Dahlias;

a winter woodland narrative reliant upon farmer-florist Carly Jenkins of Killing Frost Farm’s penchant for foraging from the forests and woodlands of the Pacific Northwest and Montana;

Alison Higgins and Nicole Cordier of Grace Flowers Hawaii’s Big Island homage to locally-grown tropical flowers and foliage with two regal looks for male and female models;

and Faye Zierer Krause of Flora Organica Designs’ tribute to the Iris, straight from the Sun Valley Flower Farms’ greenhouses of Arcata California.

It is a privilege and an honor to experience this level of creativity and commitment to American Flowers Week. The inventiveness expressed by the Slow Flowers community — flower farmers and floral designers alike — elevates American-grown botanicals to new levels.

Click here to find the photos of the entire 2018 American Flowers Week collection of botanical fashions, including the stories behind each look.

I also need to thank and acknowledge the talented photographers who made each of these beautiful ideas come to life through their lens, including Alex Brooks, Becca Henry, Megan Spelman, Joshua Veldstra and Leon Villagomez.

Botanical artist Ellen Hoverkamp created our American Flowers Week 2018 image and branding!

One more artist gets a big thank you for helping make American Flowers Week more beautiful – and that is Ellen Hoverkamp of My Neighbors’ Garden. We invited Ellen, a Connecticut-based artist, to create a red-white-and-blue bouquet using her signature scanner photography technique and the result was a stunning image that helped us promote the campaign all year long. Her all-American botanical tribute wowed everyone and I’m excited to be able to use American Flowers Week as a way to highlight the work of such a talented artist.

And now’s the time to mark American Flowers Week 2019 on your calendar — June 28 through July 4 — because it will be our fifth annual campaign celebration! I’ll have more to share in the coming months, but you are invited to check out two links I’ll share in today’s show notes — first, a look at the 2019 botanical art branding we commissioned from Josephine Rice, and second, a sneak peek to introduce the florists and flower farmers who are busy creating American Flowers Week botanical fashions for next year’s editorial package.

READ MORE…

Episode 377: Creating Sanctuary, a conversation with author, gardenmaker and educator Jessi Bloom

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

Jessi Bloom, author of the new guide, Creating Sanctuary (c) Shawn Linehan

We are well into the holiday season and it’s only November 28th — can you believe it!?

There are so many wonderful things to be thankful for and to celebrate, and yet, the holidays can be stressful and difficult for many of us.

While it can be crushing to think about the natural disasters (or human-caused disasters) that have befallen our floral community in recent seasons, it’s also sometimes overwhelming to find balance and peace in our own daily lives.

I’m so pleased to share today’s conversation with Jessi Bloom, author of the just-released book Creating Sanctuary, because I know the topic will be as timely for you, as it is for me.

Published by Timber Press, the book’s full title: Creating Sanctuary: Sacred Garden Spaces, Plant-Based Medicine, and Daily Practices to Achieve Happiness and Well-Being, gives you a sense of the inspirational and practical features inside its pages.

Cover and inside peek of Creating Sanctuary, Published by Timber Books (c) Shawn Linehan

Here’s a bit about the new book:

“We all need a personal sanctuary where we can be in harmony with the natural world and can nurture our bodies, minds, and souls. And this sanctuary doesn’t have to be a far-away destination—it can be in your own backyard. In Creating Sanctuary, Jessi Bloom taps into multiple sources of traditional plant wisdom to help find a deeper connection to the outdoor space you already have—no matter the size. Equal parts inspirational and practical, this engaging guide includes tips on designing a healing space, plant profiles for 50 sacred plants, recipes that harness the medicinal properties of plants, and simple instructions for daily rituals and practices for self-care.”

Jessi Bloom, gathering apothecary ingredients in her garden (c) Shawn Linehan

Jessi Bloom is a best-selling author, award-winning ecological landscape designer, and speaker.

A Northwest native, Jessi comes from a strong background of horticulture and environmental sciences.

Her early experience in project management ranged from organizing restoration projects with community volunteers, to high-end residential and commercial landscape design/build.

In early 2000, she decided to start an ethical business in the green industry to fill a niche for organic and ecological landscaping.

Her leadership combined with her artistic design talents have brought N.W. Bloom numerous environmental awards.

From the pages of Creating Sanctuary, by Jessi Bloom for Timber Books (c) Shawn Linehan

She is passionate about animals, permaculture and making functional gardens beautiful. Jessi’s work has been featured in many national and local media outlets from the NY Times, Better Homes & Gardens, Sunset Magazine, DISNEY, Martha Stewart Living, Mother Earth News, UTNE Reader, Fine Gardening Magazine and PBS’s Growing a Greener World TV. 

Jessi is strongly committed to volunteering in the community and sits on several advisory boards within the green industry and educational/environmental organizations; hoping to empower people, also raising industry standards, and recently helping to develop the EcoPro program for WA State.

She has two boys and spends time with them around their little farm, with a handful of animals and gardens to look after.  When she is not helping others with their gardens, traveling or writing, she enjoys the outdoors: snowboarding, hiking, running, biking and stays strong with Olympic weightlifting.

From the pages of Creating Sanctuary, by Jessi Bloom for Timber Books (c) Shawn Linehan

She has authored two prior books for Timber Press: Practical Permaculture for Home Landscapes, Your Community, and the Whole Earth with Dave Boehnlein; and the bestseller: Free-Range Chicken Gardens: How to Create a Beautiful, Chicken-Friendly Yard.

At the end of our conversation, we discuss NW Bloom’s latest project as the new farmland steward at South 47 Farm in Redmond, Washington, outside Seattle.

There, what was a corn maze for many years will now be a sustainable site nurtured by N.W. Bloom. The first year involves healing the soil from nitrogen depletion, planting cover crops to add biomass and nutrients back to the ground and developing a nursery to provide locally grown (chemical free) plants to the region. I’m excited to learn that Jessi sees the future potential to incubate small-scale flower farming among other value-added CSA crops. More on that as the story evolves.

Creating Sanctuary’s essential plant reference section, by Jessi Bloom for Timber Books (c) Shawn Linehan

If you’re in the Pacific Northwest or plan to travel here for the 2019 Northwest Flower & Garden Festival (Feb 20-24), Jessi has fabulous news to share — she has just signed on as a garden creator at the flower show and many of the ideas featured in her new book will be brought to life in that garden for you to see. I’ll be sure to add a link to the NW Flower & Garden Festival at today’s show notes for you to find more details.

I want to encourage you to visit Slow Flowers Summit to learn more about the amazing program, people and flowers you’ll engage with next summer. It’s not too early to save the date and secure your seat! Slow Flowers members receive special discount pricing and everyone receives $100 off with the Early Bird rate, on sale now!

(c) Heather Saunders

We have a vital and vibrant community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement. As our cause gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious.

I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 385,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much. Thank you all!

Thank you to our sponsors for supporting The Slow Flowers Podcast.

Florists’ Review magazine: I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. It’s the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail, wholesale and supplier market.

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of passionate family farms in the heart of Alaska providing bigger, better peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a farmer-owned cooperative committed to providing the very best the Pacific Northwest has to offer in cut flowers, foliage and plants. The Growers Market’s mission is to foster a vibrant marketplace that sustains local flower farms and provides top-quality products and service to the local floral industry. Find them at seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.com

Longfield Gardens provides home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Visit them at longfield-gardens.com.

Syndicate Sales, an American manufacturer of vases and accessories for the professional florist. Look for the American Flag Icon to find Syndicate’s USA-made products and join the Syndicate Stars loyalty program at syndicatesales.com.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds, an employee-owned company that provides our industry the best flower, herb and vegetable seeds — supplied to farms large and small and even backyard cutting gardens like mine. Check them out at johnnysseeds.com.

Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Formed in 1988, ASCFG was created to educate, unite, and support commercial cut flower growers. It mission is to help growers produce high-quality floral material, and to foster and promote the local availability of that product. Learn more at ascfg.org

Mayesh Wholesale Florist. Family-owned since 1978, Mayesh is the premier wedding and event supplier in the U.S. and we’re thrilled to partner with Mayesh to promote local and domestic flowers, which they source from farms large and small around the U.S. Learn more at mayesh.com.

Certified American Grown Flowers. The Certified American-Grown program and label provide a guarantee for designers and consumers on the source of their flowers. Take pride in your flowers and buy with confidence, ask for Certified American Grown Flowers.  To learn more visit americangrownflowers.org.

And the Team Flower Conference – a professional floral event where flower lovers from all over the world gather for networking, learning, and celebration. It’s a special time for the floral industry to come together and whether you’re a farmer, designer, wholesaler, or just love flowers, you’re invited to attend as Team Flowers dreams big for the industry’s future. Head to teamflower.org/slowflowers to learn more about the 2019 conference in Waco, Texas!

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast.
Next week, you’re invited to 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 Brenlan. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.com

Music Credits:

Episode 371: The Michigan Flower Growers Cooperative  with Amanda Maurmann of Gnome Grown Flower Farm and Alex Cacciari of Seeley Farm

Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

Opening day of the Michigan Flower Growers Co-op, with one of the first customers, Susan McLeary of Passionflower.

I’m so excited to have you with me today because in addition to our fabulous episode addressing the timely topic of Regional Wholesale Flower Hubs, I want to announce the opening of Early Bird Pre-Registration for the 2019 Slow Flowers Summit!

Yes, it’s so great to be able to unveil our program for the 3rd annual Summit, which will take place on July 1 & 2nd 2019 in St. Paul Minnesota, co-hosted with Twin Cities Flower Exchange. Find all the details here, at slowflowerssummit.com.

The Slow Flowers Summit is designed to meet the needs and interests of progressive floral entrepreneurs engaged in sustainable sourcing, design and business practices. Your registration covers local flower tours, floral demonstrations, participation in creating an interactive, large-scale installation, all meals and 10 inspiring and informative speakers from across the floral continuum.

Now’s your chance to take advantage of early-bird pricing through December 31st.

  • Slow Flowers members enjoy the discounted registration of $275
  • General admission is $325.
  • Ticket prices at both levels will increase by $100 on January 1st so if you want to drop hints for a holiday-wish list or if you want to invest in an tax-deductible business expense before the end of the year, the Summit registration might just have your name on it!  I can’t wait to see you there!

As I mentioned, the Summit’s co-host is Twin Cities Flower Exchange and our partner is founder Christine Hoffman, a past guest of this podcast. Christine’s innovative efforts to create a regional wholesale flower hub in the Twin Cities is one of the reasons I wanted to bring the Summit there. As part of our Summit programming, Christine will be joined by two other leaders in farm-to-florist wholesaling. Theirs are important, emerging models we’re witnessing in markets around North America.

The Michigan Flower Growers Cooperative is a magnetic hub of flowers, flower farmer and floral designers.

It’s timely that one of Christine’s fellow panelists is with us today, along with one of her collaborators. Please welcome farmer-florist Amanda Maurmann of Gnome Grown Flowers and Alex Cacciari of Seeley Farm. Together, they represent the exciting Michigan Flower Growers Cooperative.

Amanda will join Christine at the Summit to share insights, lessons learned and strategies for how the Michigan Flower Growers Cooperative came to be; our third panel presenter will be Nichole Skalski of Sonoma Flower Mart, a past guest of this podcast.

A welcoming bouquet, grown and designed by Amanda Maurmann of Gnome Grown Flowers

The session will explore various models and strategies for developing a local-flowers-focused regional wholesale flower hub. I’ve heard from so many around the country who are hungry for this type of insight and resource — and I know it will be a valuable addition to the Summit programming.

Farmer-florist Amanda Maurmann of Gnome Grown Flowers, along with one of her Michigan-grown bouquet designs.

Let me tell you a little more about both guests. Amanda and her family own and run a small cut flower farm and design studio out in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She utilizes organic and sustainable practices and loves growing a diversity of unique and interesting blooms that inspire creative and natural design.

Amanda Maurmann of Gnome Grown Flowers and Michigan Flower Growers Cooperative.

She designs for small weddings, events, and funerals, and also cooperates with local farms that provide u-pick flowers for the public. Amanda works with what is in season first, and loves to collaborate with other local growers.

Alex Cacciari of Seeley Farm, along with her lush and fresh Michigan flowers.

Alex Cacciari and her husband Mark Nowak own and operate Seeley Farm in Ann Arbor. They grow certified organic vegetables and cut flowers for sale to farmers’ markets, chefs and grocery stores.

Alex says she got bit by the flower bug five years ago when she planted two beds of mixed flowers as an afterthought, along with the vegetable plantings.

Beautiful scenes from Seeley Farm, owned by Alex Cacciari and her husband Mark Nowak.

Those two beds quickly grew to almost a half acre of mixed annual flowers and foliage, an expanding collection of dahlias, and new perennial plantings every year. Alex likes to arrange with unique ingredients like foraged greenery, vegetables and herbs. She also has been experimenting with lots of everlasting varieties as a way to enjoy locally grown flowers all season long.

The family behind Seeley Farm!

In 2016, Amanda and Alex, along with a cohort of other flower growers, started the Michigan Flower Growers’ Cooperative to serve the needs of growers through marketing and distribution of their products to the wholesale market. 

Seasonal, local and sustainably-raised blooms from Gnome Grown Flower Farm.

Thanks so much for joining me today as you heard the story of a new model for selling locally-grown flowers in Michigan and enjoyed a wonderful preview to the upcoming presentation, Farm-to-Florist: Seeding and Growing a Regional Flower Hub, at the 2019 Slow Flowers Summit.

Take time to visit the link above to learn more about the amazing program, people and flowers you’ll engage with next summer. It’s not too early to save the date and secure your seat!

Take the Pledge!!!

We have a vital and vibrant community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement.

As our cause gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious.

I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 369,000 times by listeners like you.

Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all our programs.

Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. It’s the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail, wholesale and supplier market.

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of passionate family farms in the heart of Alaska providing bigger, better peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a farmer-owned cooperative committed to providing the very best the Pacific Northwest has to offer in cut flowers, foliage and plants. The Growers Market’s mission is to foster a vibrant marketplace that sustains local flower farms and provides top-quality products and service to the local floral industry. Find them at seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.com

Longfield Gardens provides home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Visit them at longfield-gardens.com.

Syndicate Sales, an American manufacturer of vases and accessories for the professional florist. Look for the American Flag Icon to find Syndicate’s USA-made products and join the Syndicate Stars loyalty program at syndicatesales.com.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds, an employee-owned company that provides our industry the best flower, herb and vegetable seeds — supplied to farms large and small and even backyard cutting gardens like mine. Check them out at johnnysseeds.com.

Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Formed in 1988, ASCFG was created to educate, unite, and support commercial cut flower growers. It mission is to help growers produce high-quality floral material, and to foster and promote the local availability of that product. Learn more at ascfg.org

Mayesh Wholesale Florist. Family-owned since 1978, Mayesh is the premier wedding and event supplier in the U.S. and we’re thrilled to partner with Mayesh to promote local and domestic flowers, which they source from farms large and small around the U.S. Learn more at mayesh.com.

Certified American Grown Flowers. The Certified American-Grown program and label provide a guarantee for designers and consumers on the source of their flowers. Take pride in your flowers and buy with confidence, ask for Certified American Grown Flowers.  To learn more visit americangrownflowers.org.

And the Team Flower Conference – a professional floral event where flower lovers from all over the world gather for networking, learning, and celebration. It’s a special time for the floral industry to come together and whether you’re a farmer, designer, wholesaler, or just love flowers, you’re invited to attend as Team Flowers dreams big for the industry’s future. Head to teamflower.org/slowflowers to learn more about the 2019 conference in Waco, Texas!

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast.
Next week, you’re invited to 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 Brenlan. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.com

Episode 370: Meet Flower Farmer Melissa Smith of Fraylick Farm and SC Upstate Flowers

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

“I grow wedding flowers,” says today’s guest, Melissa Smith of Fraylick Farm in Traveler’s Rest, S.C.

Flower farmer Melissa Smith from Fraylick Farm and SC Upstate Flowers (c) Kimberly Michelle Gibson Photography

I met today’s guest, flower farmer Melissa Smith,along with several others in the SC Upstate Flowers group a few years ago when they came to the Slow Flowers Meet-Up in the Raleigh-Durham, N.C. area. 

I found their sense of collaboration and mutual respect for one another very encouraging, because they are basically creating a new market in their region.

Melissa and her husband Josh Smith own Fraylick Farm, based in Travelers Rest, S.C., about 10 miles north of Greenville, S.C., and 10 miles south of the S.C.-N.C. state line.

“The state of South Carolina in general is getting a whole lot more flower-focused,” she told me in a phone interview.

When Melissa and Josh moved their farming operation to the Greenville area in October 2015, Melissa felt the need for community. “I started meeting people through the Flower Farmer group on Facebook and I knew there were at least five of us here – and I thought ‘that’s enough for a group.’”

This image captures the collaborative spirit I enjoyed when I visited the Raleigh-Durham area in September 2016 and connected with Melissa Smith (far right) and others in the SC Upstate Flowers group.

She teamed up with Julie Hill of Greenville-based Southern Wild Design and invited every flower farmer they knew about to a potluck dinner. “We ended up having eight and that’s where the idea for our group was born.”

Thanks to Melissa’s background in graphic design and computers, and since it was still early in the season, SC Upstate Flowers launched a simple web site in March 2016. A Facebook page and Instagram account, and the frequently-used hashtag #scupstateflowers, naturally followed. By the first weekend of April 2016, SC Upstate Flowers posted a wholesale availability/price list on its site and introduced itself by email to a list of florists in the area.

Melissa Smith of Fraylick Farm shows off local flowers at the 2016 American Flowers Week “Farmer-Florist” Party (c) Angela Zion

SC Upstate Flowers has produced a few fun events during American Flowers Week — basically a Farmer-Florist Design Party that invites florists in their area to play with the freshest, most beautiful, just-picked flowers from local farms.

Featured in Slow Flowers Journal/Florists’ Review: Southern Flower Hubs

SC Upstate Flowers is also included in an article I wrote last November 2017 for the Slow Flowers Journal section of Florists’ Review. That was the Southern-themed issue, and we focused the editorial content on floral design in the American South.

My story, titled “American-Grown Heroes: Southern Flower Hubs,” features five dynamic flower cooperatives and collectives. You can download Southern Flower Hubs as a free PDF here.

I gathered with a number of passionate members of the SC Upstate Flower Growers in August, at the Southern Flower Symposium.

I reunited with Melissa in late August at the Southern Flowers Symposium in Charleston, S.C., hosted by Lowcountry Flower Growers. I spoke about the 2019 Slow Flowers Forecast and Melissa joined a panel of growers at various levels to discuss flower farming practices and share their wisdom.

Flowers by Fraylick Farm (c) Kimberly Michelle Gibson Photography

We managed to grab about 15 minutes to record a quick interview, but I knew there was more you could learn if we had more time. I recently connected via Skype with Melissa to finish our conversation. I’m so glad we took the time to do so. You’ll learn how she is managing the evolution of her flower farm, adapting to market shifts and opportunities. And you’ll learn more about the SC Upstate Flowers group.

Love this photo of Melissa Smith that I took at the Slow Flowers Creative Workshop in Raleigh-Durham a few years back.

Here’s a little more about Melissa, excerpted from the Fraylick Farm web site:

Melissa and Josh Smith run Fraylick Farm in Travelers Rest, South Carolina. They are producers of specialty cut flowers and pastured pork, saying: “we aim to produce the most beautiful flowers you’ve ever seen and the best pork you’ve ever tasted.” Josh’s Ossabaw Island pigs are raised to forest-forage through the woods, eating the local flora as well as seasonal cover crops.

Fraylick Farm’s flowers are grown without harmful pesticides or chemicals to provide not only beauty but serve as valuable hosts to beneficial insects and pollinators. The farm serves the local florist trade and the public.

Find Melissa and her flowers at these social places:

Fraylick Farm on Facebook

Fraylick Farm on Instagram

Melissa’s Flwrtherapy on Instagram

SC Upstate Flowers on Instagram

Thanks so much for joining me today as you heard in real time how Melissa is planning to re-brand her farm with the tagline: We Grow Wedding Flowers. I love that idea so much! Look for the new hashtag showing up, too.

More beautiful wedding flowers grown by Melissa Smith of Fraylick Farm, (c) Kimberly Michelle Gibson Photography

We have a vital and vibrant community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement. As our cause gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious.

I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 367,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

Thank you to our Slow Flowers Podcast Sponsors for 2018:

And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2018, Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. It’s the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail, wholesale and supplier market.

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of passionate family farms in the heart of Alaska providing bigger, better peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a farmer-owned cooperative committed to providing the very best the Pacific Northwest has to offer in cut flowers, foliage and plants. The Growers Market’s mission is to foster a vibrant marketplace that sustains local flower farms and provides top-quality products and service to the local floral industry. Find them at seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.com

Longfield Gardens provides home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Visit them at longfield-gardens.com.

Syndicate Sales, an American manufacturer of vases and accessories for the professional florist. Look for the American Flag Icon to find Syndicate’s USA-made products and join the Syndicate Stars loyalty program at syndicatesales.com.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds, an employee-owned company that provides our industry the best flower, herb and vegetable seeds — supplied to farms large and small and even backyard cutting gardens like mine. Check them out at johnnysseeds.com.

Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Formed in 1988, ASCFG was created to educate, unite, and support commercial cut flower growers. It mission is to help growers produce high-quality floral material, and to foster and promote the local availability of that product. Learn more at ascfg.org

Mayesh Wholesale Florist. Family-owned since 1978, Mayesh is the premier wedding and event supplier in the U.S. and we’re thrilled to partner with Mayesh to promote local and domestic flowers, which they source from farms large and small around the U.S. Learn more at mayesh.com.

Certified American Grown Flowers. The Certified American-Grown program and label provide a guarantee for designers and consumers on the source of their flowers. Take pride in your flowers and buy with confidence, ask for Certified American Grown Flowers.  To learn more visit americangrownflowers.org.

And the Team Flower Conference – a professional floral event where flower lovers from all over the world gather for networking, learning, and celebration. It’s a special time for the floral industry to come together and whether you’re a farmer, designer, wholesaler, or just love flowers, you’re invited to attend as Team Flowers dreams big for the industry’s future. Head to teamflower.org/slowflowers to learn more about the 2019 conference in Waco, Texas!

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to 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 Brenlan. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.com

Music Credits:

Feathersoft; One Needle
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 366: The Debut of Canadian Flowers Week with Founder & Creator Natasa Kajganic

Wednesday, September 12th, 2018

Floral designer Jessica Gale (left) with today’s Podcast guest, Natasa Kajganic (right), founder of Toronto Flower Market and Canadian Flowers Week (c) Cristian Ordonez Photography

Today’s guest is Natasa Kajganic and I’m so excited to host her on this Slow Flowers Podcast Episode because together we’re celebrating the debut of Canadian Flowers Week, which begins tomorrow, September 13, and continues through September 16.

The origins of Canadian Flowers Week were a few years coming and truly began when I met Natasa last summer at the ASCFG regional meeting in Ontario, Canada.

After a morning of flower farm tours, we gathered at La Primavera Farms in Dundas, outside Toronto, for a series of presentations, one of which was from Natasa. I’d long been wanting to connect with her in a meaningful way, as I’d heard so much about this truly original thinker who created Toronto Flower Market in 2013.

Toronto Flower Market is an outdoor flower and plant market that has become the city’s dynamic botanical hub for flower farmers, designers, and lovers of fresh, local and seasonal blooms. As founder of this botanical emporium, Natasa’s aim has been to bring focus to the local flower industry through inspiring public floral experiences.

A glimpse over the shoulder as a Toronto Flower Market customer carries her purchase.

I loved hearing Natasa’s presentation about the formation of Toronto Flower Market and after we met in person, we agreed to speak later by phone to brainstorm whether American Flowers Week could help bring Canadian Flowers Week to life.

Much as I was nurtured and encouraged in 2015 by Helen Evans and others involved in British Flowers Week, I wanted to “pay back” a flower sister by encouraging Natasa and by sharing my experiences.

Canadian Flowers Week participation across Canada is revealed in this country map.

Fast-forward less than one year later and Canadian Flowers Week is here, as a project of Toronto Flower Market.

Florists’ Review and the Slow Flowers Journal featured this new Canadian floral holiday in the August issue.

I’m so excited that you can hear from Natasa in person as she describes the participants and activities of this week-long celebration stretching across Canada, including activities in all provinces and 20 public events.

Here are the opening lines that appear on the beautiful new web site, Canadianflowerweek.ca:

Locally grown, Canadian blooms are as abundant and diverse as our natural landscape. Growers embrace the challenges that come along with four seasons and provide a range of flowers all year round. From long-lasting, sturdy, big-headed blooms to delicate, full-of-scent flowers that could never survive the travel of imports, our greenhouse and field crops are fresh and awe-inspiring.  And now, for one week, the flower industry across the country will unite to celebrate and showoff its beautiful bounty.

Gotta LOVE the “pledge” badge that is used by Canadian members of Slow Flowers.

I’ve added links to my two recent articles that appeared in the August 2018 Slow Flowers Journal inside the pages of Florists’ Review.

The first is about Toronto Flower Market, called “The Flowering of Toronto,” which you can download here.

The second is all about Canadian Flowers Week, featuring an interview with Natasa Kajganic.

Fresh, local and seasonal blooms at Toronto Flower Market. The Market will host Canadian Flowers Week events on Saturday, September 15th.

While I launched American Flowers Week as a program of Slow Flowers in 2015, and as we are gearing up for our 5th year as the original domestic flower promotion holiday in the U.S., I have to reflect on the meaning of community.

That undertaking would not have gained traction and support without the involvement of people along the entire floral continuum — from seeds and plants to growers, marketers, retailers, designers and floral consumers.

Flowers from Floralora, a Slow Flowers member based in Ontario, on display at Toronto Flower Market.

Similarly, Natasa has acknowledged her core team of creatives and fellow floral professionals who are helping make Canadian Flowers Week a reality.

I’m so touched that the site includes a link to Slow Flowers and a mention of American Flowers week as key “partners” in this program, along with the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers, the Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario and several other supporting organizations and businesses.

I wish them a fabulous kickoff as they continue to change the conversation around local, seasonal and domestic flowers in Canada.

Follow Canadian Flowers Week on Instagram

Designed by Nancy Cameron of Destiny Hill Flower Farm.

Similarly, I am so grateful to you — and to our entire community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement. As our cause gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious.

I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 358,000 times by listeners like you.

Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all our programs.

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of passionate family farms in the heart of Alaska providing bigger, better peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a farmer-owned cooperative committed to providing the very best the Pacific Northwest has to offer in cut flowers, foliage and plants. The Growers Market’s mission is to foster a vibrant marketplace that sustains local flower farms and provides top-quality products and service to the local floral industry. Find them at seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.com

Longfield Gardens provides home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Visit them at longfield-gardens.com.

Syndicate Sales, an American manufacturer of vases and accessories for the professional florist. Look for the American Flag Icon to find Syndicate’s USA-made products and join the Syndicate Stars loyalty program at syndicatesales.com.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds, an employee-owned company that provides our industry the best flower, herb and vegetable seeds — supplied to farms large and small and even backyard cutting gardens like mine. Check them out at johnnysseeds.com.

Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Formed in 1988, ASCFG was created to educate, unite, and support commercial cut flower growers. It mission is to help growers produce high-quality floral material, and to foster and promote the local availability of that product. Learn more at ascfg.org

Mayesh Wholesale Florist. Family-owned since 1978, Mayesh is the premier wedding and event supplier in the U.S. and we’re thrilled to partner with Mayesh to promote local and domestic flowers, which they source from farms large and small around the U.S. Learn more at mayesh.com.

Certified American Grown Flowers. The Certified American-Grown program and label provide a guarantee for designers and consumers on the source of their flowers. Take pride in your flowers and buy with confidence, ask for Certified American Grown Flowers.  To learn more visit americangrownflowers.org.

And the Team Flower Conference – a professional floral event where flower lovers from all over the world gather for networking, learning, and celebration. It’s a special time for the floral industry to come together and whether you’re a farmer, designer, wholesaler, or just love flowers, you’re invited to attend as Team Flowers dreams big for the industry’s future. Head to teamflower.org/slowflowers to learn more about the 2019 conference in Waco, Texas!

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast.
Next week, you’re invited to 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 Brenlan. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.com

Music Credits:
The Wooden Platform
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 361: Plants and Blooms ReImagined with Horticultural Therapist and Visionary Kaifa Anderson-Hall

Wednesday, August 8th, 2018

Kaifa Anderson-Hall (left), founder of Plants and Blooms Reimagined, with me after the Slow Flowers Summit 2018.

Kaifa Anderson-Hall collecting flowers from Phillippa Tarrant Floral Design in Washington, D.C.

I’ve enjoyed so many amazing and rewarding experiences in recent months, including spending time with today’s guest, with whom I’ve connected at two important events. I’m so happy to introduce you to Kaifa Anderson-Hall, founder and visionary of Plants and Blooms Reimagined, a socially-minded floral program based in Washington, D.C.

I first met Kaifa in June at the American Horticultural Society’s annual awards banquet where she was recognized as a Great American Gardener award recipient for significant contributions to the field of horticultural therapy. I was a fellow recipient there to accept the AHS Frances Jones Poetker Award for contributions to the field of floristry, so it was a significant night for both of us.

It was so meaningful that Kaifa attended the Slow Flowers Summit just one week later, allowing us to spend a little more time together in her hometown.

Plants and Blooms Reimagined

As I mentioned, Kaifa is the founder of Plants and Blooms Reimagined. She began the program inspired by the belief that the beauty, joy, inspiration and healing power of nature’s gifts of indoor plants and cut-flowers should be experiences shared by all.

Clients of Seabury Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired enjoying therapeutic flower arranging.

SEED Students volunteering with Plants and Blooms ReImagined’s Bee Friendly…Bloom To Share initiative

Kaifa is hands-on, gathering flowers and sharing them with appreciative receipients!

Kaifa envisioned Plants and Blooms Reimagined to be the source of plants and flowers for D.C. residents who too often go without. The organization’s mission is to increase personal enjoyment and enhanced well-being for under-resourced and other marginalized groups in the D.C. region through the gifting of repurposed (aka reimagined) botanicals of all kinds.

Plants and Blooms ReImagined can be found at various senior communities, homeless shelters, day programs for differently abled adults, social service facilities, healthcare clinics, health fairs and more — delivering plants and flower bouquets and providing outreach and plant-based education.

Sidra Forman, a Washington, D.C.-based floral designer, shares accolades about working with Plants and Blooms Reimagined.

Kaifa “gifting” flowers at Springvale Terrace

Here’s more about Kaifa Anderson-Hall:

Kaifa channeled her experience with social work and community garden development into a career in horticultural therapy. Through her business, Inspired Horticultural Services, Inc., and through Plants and Blooms Reimagined, Kaifa focuses on enhancing the wellbeing of diverse and often underserved communities in the greater Washington, D.C., region.

In addition to working with seniors, veterans, and differently-abled youth and adults, Kaifa designs and consults on the creation of therapeutic gardens. She lectures on the benefits of horticultural therapy programs at conferences and health fairs. A Master Gardener and graduate of the Horticultural Therapy Institute in Denver, Kaifa is active with a variety of organizations, including the American Horticultural Therapy Association, Biophilic DC, and Washington, D.C.’s School Garden Advisory Council.

Kaifa ensured that the flowers and foliages from the Slow Flowers Summit were reimagined/repurposed for deserving recipients. Thanks to Nan Matteson of Queen City Flower Farm.

On very short notice, Kaifa pulled together a team of volunteers to collect – and ultimate reimagine and repurpose – all of the flowers and foliages that we used during the Slow Flowers Summit. So it is fitting to share her story with you and inspire your own creative reimagining.

Here’s how to connect with and follow Plants and Blooms Reimagined:

Watch Plants and Blooms Reimagined on YouTube:

Follow Plants and Blooms Reimagined on Facebook

Follow Kaifa Anderson-Hall on Instagram.

I mentioned that Kaifa Anderson-Hall’s Plants and Blooms Reimagined received all of the flowers and foliage incorporated during the full day’s presentations and installations at the Slow Flowers Summit on June 29th in Washington, D.C.

So I want to take a moment and acknowledge the flower farms – all Slow Flowers Members – who donated that beautiful and abundant harvest. They include Charles Little & Co., Fern Trust, Green Valley Floral, LynnVale Studio and Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers. Thank you so much for your support and what a beautiful gift that began with the Summit and continued on to encourage and affirm clients of Plants and Blooms Reimagined.

And while we’re talking about the importance of flowers and the healing nature of flowers, I am reminded of last year’s guest, Heidi Berkman of The Bloom Project in Portland, Oregon – a volunteer-run organization with a model similar to Plants and Blooms Reimagined. If you’re interested in learning more about this sustainable topic from that interview, follow this link to listen to Episode 311.

(c) Heather Saunders

Before I close, I want to say how grateful I am to all you — our entire community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement.

As our cause gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious.

I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 346,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all our programs.

Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. It’s the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail, wholesale and supplier market. Order a free sample issue here.

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of passionate family farms in the heart of Alaska providing bigger, better peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a farmer-owned cooperative committed to providing the very best the Pacific Northwest has to offer in cut flowers, foliage and plants. The Growers Market’s mission is to foster a vibrant marketplace that sustains local flower farms and provides top-quality products and service to the local floral industry. Find them at seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.com

Longfield Gardens provides home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Visit them at longfield-gardens.com.

Syndicate Sales, an American manufacturer of vases and accessories for the professional florist. Look for the American Flag Icon to find Syndicate’s USA-made products and join the Syndicate Stars loyalty program at syndicatesales.com.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds, an employee-owned company that provides our industry the best flower, herb and vegetable seeds — supplied to farms large and small and even backyard cutting gardens like mine. Check them out at johnnysseeds.com.

Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Formed in 1988, ASCFG was created to educate, unite, and support commercial cut flower growers. It mission is to help growers produce high-quality floral material, and to foster and promote the local availability of that product. Learn more at ascfg.org

Mayesh Wholesale Florist. Family-owned since 1978, Mayesh is the premier wedding and event supplier in the U.S. and we’re thrilled to partner with Mayesh to promote local and domestic flowers, which they source from farms large and small around the U.S. Learn more at mayesh.com.

Certified American Grown Flowers. The Certified American-Grown program and label provide a guarantee for designers and consumers on the source of their flowers. Take pride in your flowers and buy with confidence, ask for Certified American Grown Flowers.  To learn more visit americangrownflowers.org.

And the Team Flower Conference – a professional floral event where flower lovers from all over the world gather for networking, learning, and celebration. It’s a special time for the floral industry to come together and whether you’re a farmer, designer, wholesaler, or just love flowers, you’re invited to attend as Team Flowers dreams big for the future of our beloved industry. You can head to teamflower.org/slowflowers to learn more about the 2019 conference in Waco, Texas!

(c) Missy Palacol Photography

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast.
Next week, you’re invited to 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 Brenlan. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.com

Music Credits:
Sage the Hunter (Rhythmic) 
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com

 

Episode 359: Slow Flowers Podcast Turns 5 — with original guest Joan Thorndike of Le Mera Gardens and Isabella Thorndike Church of Jacklily Seasonal Floral Design

Wednesday, July 25th, 2018

Today is the 5th anniversary of the Slow Flowers Podcast, and I thank you for tuning in.

This has been a year of highlights in so many ways, as the Slow Flowers Message and Manifesto continue to resonate, not to mention build momentum, as an authentic, relatable — and legitimate topic in the floral industry.

In five years, since my first episode Number 100 on June 23, 2013, the Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 340,000 times by listeners who have enjoyed 260 unique episodes.

The Slow Flowers Podcast was recently recognized with a Silver Media Award from GWA: The Association for Garden Communicators, a group of my professional peers in green industry journalism.

The American Horticultural Society recently honored me with the Frances Jones Poetker Award for significant contributions to floral design in publications, on the platform and to the public and this Podcast is a big part of that platform.

And we’ve just wrapped up the fourth annual American Flowers Weekthe original domestic floral promotion holiday — as well as a very successful Slow Flowers Summit, which was held in Washington, D.C., during the heart of American Flowers Week.

Thank you all for joining me on this journey of advocacy and outreach as I shout aloud the message and importance of domestic, seasonal, local and sustainable flowers and the people who grow and design with them!

Circa June 2013 with Debra & James Baggett (c) Joan Thorndike

Five years ago in late June 2013, I was on location in Ashland, Oregon, working with James Baggett, then editor of Country Gardens magazine, and photographers Laurie Black and Mark King, to produce a farm-to-table story in Oregon’s wine country.

The trip enabled me to reconnect with Joan Thorndike of LeMera Gardens, a generous and brilliant flower farmer who is featured in the pages of The 50 Mile Bouquet.

Joan (right) giving James Baggett a tour of her growing fields, 2013. The collaboration with Fry Family Farm appears (left) on one of the fresh Farmers’ Market bouquets.

Joan’s flowers adorned the table of that winery dinner we documented, and she welcomed James and me to visit her flower fields while we were there.

Joan and Dan Thorndike with eldest daughter Camila (center)

I enjoyed Joan’s hospitality further because she invited me to stay at her family home. That’s when I met her husband Dan and one of their two daughters, Camila.

Joan wanted to show me the Ashland Farmers’ Market, suggesting we walk through the urban woods along a local nature trail to reach the center of town. I asked her if I could bring my digital recorder and tape a segment for my brand new podcast. She gamely said yes. You can actually hear audio of our footsteps and breathing as we briskly walked to town.

Le Mera’s beautiful, organic flowers.

We discussed local flowers, the Rogue River Valley’s sustainable agriculture scene, Joan’s own commitment to organic flowers and the origins and growth of Le Mera Gardens. Three hundred eighty people downloaded that original episode and (I hope) listened to it. From that seed of a beginning, the Slow Flowers Podcast has grown by leaps and bounds.

Today, we typically have more than 2,000 listeners per episode — and that means more of you around the globe are hearing the message, absorbing the wisdom, and being inspired by the people behind the flowers. People like Joan Thorndike.

Isabella Thorndike Church (left) and Joan Thorndike

Two amazing women, mother-and-daughter, co-farmers and fellow floral advocates in their community.

Today, in recognition of her role in educating and influencing me and my work, I have invited Joan as a return guest to talk about all things local in floral design and floral agriculture.

I want to expose her story to a much larger audience than those who heard our conversation five years ago.

And how wonderful to add a bonus guest: Isabella Thorndike Church, Joan and Dan’s 2nd daughter, who is now co-farming with Joan at LeMera Gardens and leading her own studio called Jacklily Seasonal Floral Design.

Here’s a little bit more about both of these women:
Joan has been farming fresh cut flowers in Southern Oregon’s Rogue River Valley since 1992. She was born and raised in Santiago, Chile where flowers come in huge bundles, small posies, and fresh abundance.

In 2001 Le Mera Gardens and Fry Family Farms joined their worlds of flower farming, and have settled into growing and harvesting an ever expanding array of specialty cut flowers on 10 acres of open fields and greenhouses. Le Mera Gardens is featured in the groundbreaking book The 50 Mile Bouquet and is a proud charter member of the Slow Flowers movement celebrating American-grown local flowers.

Joan Thorndike, pioneering cut flower grower and inspiration for Slow Flowers.

Joan credits her “formal” education in commercial flower growing to the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers, its research publications, regional and national conferences, and to the writings of author and professor of horticulture Dr. Allan M. Armitage.


Le Mera Gardens is a charter member of Thrive (home of the Rogue Flavor Trademark), and is an online member of Local Harvest.

Joan’s two daughters, Camila and Isabella, spent their childhood summers seeking shade from 90-100ºF weather on the flower farm. Her husband Dan has been known to moonlight carrying flats of plants, and to provide Le Mera Gardens with many an odd shaped metal structure generously built by Medford Fabrication, his family’s metal fabrication business.

One of the many fields that comprise Le Mera Gardens.

Le Mera’s fields, season-extending hoop houses, and propagation greenhouses are located in Talent, Phoenix and northwest Medford. All are managed and cultivated under Oregon Tilth Certified OrganicBee Friendly and Salmon Safe farming practices.

Le Mera Gardens employs dozens of women and men who live in the immediate community.   They seed, transplant, cultivate and harvest our flowers year after year.

Detail of a farmers’ market bouquet, Oregon-grown

As Joan writes on her web site: Le Mera Gardens is grateful for the loyal patronage of its Rogue Valley customers, most especially of area floristsdesigners and bridal parties.  Their support allows us to manage, preserve and protect our Valley’s beautiful agricultural lands.

Heather Saunders captured this image of Isabella designing a wearable headpiece at the recent Whidbey Flower Workshop, where she studied with Susan McLeary and assisted Joseph Massie

Isabella Thorndike Church is the owner and lead designer of Jacklily Seasonal Floral Design. Jacklily is a fine art floral studio located in the rolling hills of Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley. Working with fresh, locally-grown and consciously-sourced material, Jacklily creates lush designs. As Isabella writes on her web site:

“Everything I do begins in the field. There, the colors and textures of the Rogue Valley arrange themselves according to the season. I believe that local, seasonal flowers that are grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers are healthy for us and for the earth. The flowers at your wedding or event should be as unique as you are. From bridal bouquets to full wedding or event design, the locally grown materials I work with are carefully selected and arranged to bring your floral vision to life. She declares: Floral design is an agricultural act.”

An all-seasonal centerpiece from Jacklily Seasonal Floral design (c) Juliet Ashley Photography

Isabella Thorndike Church of Jacklily Seasonal Floral Design, with the botanical artwork (featuring Le Mera Gardens’ logo) in celebration of American Flowers Week 2018.

I know you’ll love meeting this mom-and-daughter duo as much as I have.

Find and meet Joan and Isabella at these social places.

Find Le Mera Gardens on Facebook

Follow Le Mera Gardens on Instagram

See Le Mera Gardens on Pinterest

Find Jacklily Seasonal Floral Design on Instagram

Designed by Nancy Cameron of Destiny Hill Flower Farm.

Thank you so much for joining me today. I’ve been working closely with a core team of advisors to fine-tune our branding and messaging. So let me share the updated Slow Flowers’ Mission:

To change the flower sourcing practices of consumers and professionals through outreach and education that highlights the benefits of local, seasonal and domestic floral agriculture.

And here is our Brand Promise:

Inspiring the floral industry and its consumers to embrace local, seasonal and sustainable flowers

I hope both of these statements resonate with you! You’ll be seeing and hearing more about the maturing of the Slow Flowers brand, mission and movement in the coming months.

This is an ever-evolving exercise as I gain clarity about my personal calling and about what drives me to continue building this movement. I am grateful to all you — our entire community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement.

As our cause gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious.

I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 340,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all our programs. They are:

Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. It’s the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail, wholesale and supplier market. Subscribe here.

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of passionate family farms in the heart of Alaska providing bigger, better peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a farmer-owned cooperative committed to providing the very best the Pacific Northwest has to offer in cut flowers, foliage and plants. The Growers Market’s mission is to foster a vibrant marketplace that sustains local flower farms and provides top-quality products and service to the local floral industry. Find them at seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.com

Longfield Gardens provides home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Visit them at longfield-gardens.com.

Syndicate Sales, an American manufacturer of vases and accessories for the professional florist. Look for the American Flag Icon to find Syndicate’s USA-made products and join the Syndicate Stars loyalty program at syndicatesales.com.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds, an employee-owned company that provides our industry the best flower, herb and vegetable seeds — supplied to farms large and small and even backyard cutting gardens like mine. Check them out at johnnysseeds.com.

Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Formed in 1988, ASCFG was created to educate, unite, and support commercial cut flower growers. It mission is to help growers produce high-quality floral material, and to foster and promote the local availability of that product. Learn more at ascfg.org

Mayesh Wholesale Florist. Family-owned since 1978, Mayesh is the premier wedding and event supplier in the U.S. and we’re thrilled to partner with Mayesh to promote local and domestic flowers, which they source from farms large and small around the U.S. Learn more at mayesh.com.

Certified American Grown Flowers. The Certified American-Grown program and label provide a guarantee for designers and consumers on the source of their flowers. Take pride in your flowers and buy with confidence, ask for Certified American Grown Flowers.  To learn more visit americangrownflowers.org.

(c) Missy Palacol Photography

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast.
Next week, you’re invited to 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 Brenlan. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.comSpecial thanks to Stephen Yaussi.

Music Credits:
The Wooden Platform; One Needle; Brass Buttons
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 358: Right Field Farm’s David Brunton on growing a family flower farm in Maryland

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

Got my selfie with the Brunton family at Right Field Farm, including Mom Lina and Dad David, plus their four awesome kids!

Today, we take a deep, relaxing breath from all the intensity of the past few months as I invite you to visit Right Field Farm, where Slow Flowers members David and Lina Brunton welcomed me a few weeks ago.

They are loyal Slow Flowers Podcast listeners, and I’m excited that I recently had a chance to see their farm in person, spend a day meeting their incredible family and experiencing their flowers.

The picturesque Right Field Farm on a warm, summer morning.

Right Field Farm is based in Millersville, Maryland, not too far from Annapolis, where it is tucked into a forest, near the Severn River, by the Chesapeake Bay.  The land had been used as a baseball field until 2002, but the facilities were in disrepair by the time David and Lina bought it in 2009.  The house sits in what used to be right field, hence the name Right Field Farm.

David and Lina grow a mix of annual and perennial flowers with an eye toward all the natural beauty that Maryland has to offer.

David Brunton facilitated my transportation and tour of Right Field Farm, including a row-by-row walking tour of the botanical highlights.

Instead of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, they rely on their farm’s natural defenses. Their milk cow and her calf, Melody and Birdie, make plenty of excellent fertilizer. The honeybees are busy pollinating flowers and making honey to eat.  Cover crops help beds over winter, gain soil fertility and decrease run-off into the waterways. And while the Bruntons do a lot of bug-squishing, their chickens do their part, too, along with natural bug predators attracted to the property.  The end result: Fresh, beautiful flowers, totally free from the harsh chemicals that come on most bouquets.

David and Lina of Right Field Farm, growing local and sustainable cut flowers in year four!

A couple of years ago, David emailed me out of the blue to introduce himself.

He wrote: Hi Debra,

From your social media feeds, it looks like maybe you’re in DC. My wife
and I are new farmers growing flowers in MD, and we love everything you do.

At my off-farm job, I work at the Library of Congress, and I’d be
delighted to host you for a short tour one day on this or a subsequent
visit of you ever have interest and time 🙂

All the best,
David Brunton.

As it turned out, I did have time to meet David and he treated me to a fascinating, behind-the-scenes tour of the Library of Congress. What a very special opportunity.

And I promised to get outside the beltway and visit Right Field Farm on a future trip. It took more than 2 years, but last month, we made it happen. David drove into D.C. to pick me up a few days after the Slow Flowers Summit, but before I was scheduled to present at the American Institute of Floral Designers’ annual symposium.

I spoke at AIFD on July 3rd, so it was lovely to showcase locally-grown Maryland blooms from Right Field Farm.

Right Field Farm generously donated buckets and buckets of flowers to help decorate the stage where I spoke about Slow Flowers on July 3rd — what better than to talk about local and seasonal flowers and floral design than to have fresh, beautiful, just-picked flowers on display as my “illustration” of the difference between local and far-away blooms.

Fellow Slow Flowers member Ellen Seagraves of Chic Floral Design graciously lent her creative talents to arrange those Maryland-grown flowers. My remarks had more credibility because I had just visited Right Field Farm and felt like I could speak with authority about the sustainable and earth-friendly practices that David and Lina use in their fields.

More glimpse of Right Field Farm and the Brunton family.

Back to my visit. After lunch with the entire Brunton family, David and I sat at the kitchen table and recorded today’s interview. He is a true student of the Slow Flowers Podcast, arriving at the interview complete with notes on the topics and thoughts he wanted to share. The document covers the Maryland Cut Flower Growers Association, for which David serves as Treasurer, the Right Field Farm story and its community, Vendors, behind-the-scenes help, education and farming processes and more words of wisdom. I am in possession of those notes and you can download the doc: Right Field Farm Notes for Slow Flowers Podcast, written as a perfect outline by David.

Find Right Field Farm on Facebook

Follow Right Field Farm on Instagram

Everyone gets in on the harvest at RFF!

Beautiful orlaya flowers at Right Field Farm

Thank you so much for joining me today.

Beginning in early August, I will be on the road quite a bit, continuing through October. I might be in your neck of the woods, so check out my event calendar and perhaps we can meet.

There are a few Slow Flowers Meet-Ups you’ll want to know about:

Sunday, August 12th in St. Paul, Minnesota at the Twin Cities Flower Exchange

Wednesday, August 15th in Chicago at Larkspur Studio

Tuesday, September 11 in Kansas City, Missouri at at meet-up hosted by  Andrea K. Grist Floral Art and Florasource KC 

I am grateful to all our entire community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement.

As our cause gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious.

I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 338,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.


Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all our programs. They are:

Florists’ Review, the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail, wholesale and supplier market. Take advantage of the special subscription offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community at FloristsReview.com.

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of passionate family farms in the heart of Alaska providing bigger, better peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a farmer-owned cooperative committed to providing the very best the Pacific Northwest has to offer in cut flowers, foliage and plants. The Growers Market’s mission is to foster a vibrant marketplace that sustains local flower farms and provides top-quality products and service to the local floral industry. Find them at seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.com

Longfield Gardens provides home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Visit them at longfield-gardens.com.

Syndicate Sales, an American manufacturer of vases and accessories for the professional florist. Look for the American Flag Icon to find Syndicate’s USA-made products and join the Syndicate Stars loyalty program at syndicatesales.com.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds, an employee-owned company that provides our industry the best flower, herb and vegetable seeds — supplied to farms large and small and even backyard cutting gardens like mine. Check them out at johnnysseeds.com.

Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Formed in 1988, ASCFG was created to educate, unite, and support commercial cut flower growers. It mission is to help growers produce high-quality floral material, and to foster and promote the local availability of that product. Learn more at ascfg.org

Mayesh Wholesale Florist. Family-owned since 1978, Mayesh is the premier wedding and event supplier in the U.S. and we’re thrilled to partner with Mayesh to promote local and domestic flowers, which they source from farms large and small around the U.S. Learn more at mayesh.com.

Certified American Grown Flowers. The Certified American-Grown program and label provide a guarantee for designers and consumers on the source of their flowers. Take pride in your flowers and buy with confidence, ask for Certified American Grown Flowers.  To learn more visit americangrownflowers.org.

(c) Niesha Blancas

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to 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 Brenlan. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.comSpecial thanks to Stephen Yaussi.

Music Credits:

The Wooden Platform; Long Form
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

Lovely by Tryad

In The Field Music from:

Episode 357: Engaging Customers Through Experience and Inspiration with Scott Paris of High Hand Nursery & announcing our 2019 Slow Flowers Summit Venue

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

We brought the Slow Flowers Summit 2018 to Washington, D.C.

As I mentioned during last week’s show, we’ve just experienced the fourth annual American Flowers Week — the original domestic floral-promotion holiday that’s an inclusive campaign filled with local, seasonal and beautiful flowers and foliage in all 50 states!

This virtual campaign gave me a peek into all corners of the U.S. as I witnessed flowers, farms, creativity and events taking place in region all around the country, as well as connections across social media platforms.

And, during the heart of American Flowers Week, we held the 2nd annual Slow Flowers Summit. As an interactive, LIVE element of the campaign, the Summit drew more than 100 attendees — speakers, designers, flower farmers, innovators, influencers and leaders in the Slow Flowers Movement.

Even though we were inside a hotel conference room, the space was filled with flowers, including the Moon Arch that everyone had a hand in designing (c) Niesha Blancas

In the coming weeks, I hope to release all sorts of content from the D.C. Slow Flowers Summit.

See a gallery of Slow Flowers Summit 2018 photos here.

But for now, I want to share a few words from my opening remarks on June 29th. Please bear with me — it’s personal and as my husband would say, probably contains too much “back-story,” but that’s how I am.

Here’s what I said:

I thought I’d take a moment to acknowledge how significant it is that we’re all here at the Slow Flowers Summit for Year Two. How did this come to be?

There had been talk over the years of a conference focused on domestic flowers, including some initial conversations I had with folks at the California Cut Flower Commission and the SF Flower Mart several years ago.

The desire was real, but the idea never went anywhere, and it later became clear that the Slow Flowers Community wanted something different — more intimate and inclusive — than a big industry event.

So what brought us from idea to reality? Before I left Seattle to travel here, I pulled out an email from April 2015, sent to me by one of our speakers, Mary Kate Kinnane of The Local Bouquet.

The email’s subject line read: NEW IDEAS.

I hope all is well with you and the family and I’m hoping that the Slow Flowers movement has new and exciting things coming its way. I have been wanting to contact you since I returned from my amazing experience at the Chapel Designers conference in NY and especially after meeting people like Jimmy Lohr of greenSinner and others. My wheels have been spinning and so I wanted to share some of my ideas with you. 

Jimmy and I discussed how our Slow Flowers family needs an event like what Holly Chapple has created for florists across the United States. An event that would gather designers from across the United States who have pledged to use local and American grown flowers to network and train with each other from experts in our field. 

I think it is time we bring the Slow Flowers website to life with an event at which all of the flower farmers and florists who have pledged to use their local and seasonal blooms get together and network. I think it would be great to actually gather everyone together to talk (farmer and florist). Let’s start with the East Coast. [well, Mary Kate, we started last year in Seattle, but yes, today, we’re here on the East Coast!]

She closed by saying: I am really proud that we are still able to stick to our mission of staying 100% American and locally grown in everything we buy. Now that I have bombarded you with ideas and thoughts, let me know if any interest you (because obviously we can’t do it all)!

We had a few lighthearted email exchanges, and while nothing happened immediately, the idea stuck with me because that was the year we launched American Flowers Week in 2015.

The following year, in 2016, I had a memorable conversation with Amy Stewart, author of Flower Confidential, the groundbreaking book that stimulated awareness of sustainable practices and flower sourcing in our industry. We both remarked that the 10-year-anniversary of Amy’s book would take place in 2017. Amy turned to me and said, “we should do something together to commemorate it.” I think she meant YOU should do something, Debra.

The seed that Mary Kate had planted grew a few more roots that day.

Weeks later, during the 2016 SF Flower & Garden Show, I attended a dinner where a very similar conversation took place, with Christina Stembel of Farmgirl Flowers, Teresa Sabankaya of Bonny Doon Garden Co., who spoke last year, Beth Van Sandt of Scenic Place Peonies, and Bay Area florists Susan Kelly and Kathleen Williford — all Slow Flowers Members. We spoke further about a Slow Flowers “live” gathering, and agreed to continue brainstorming at a workshop Teresa and I were to teach together later that year at her studio in Santa Cruz.

By then, it was September 2016, and I couldn’t let go of the notion that hosting a live conference during American Flowers Week would be a great way to celebrate what was a virtual, social media-centric event. I attended the TEDxSeattle conference a few months later and found myself enjoying the presentations, but spending more time analyzing the structure and flow of the conference — projecting my ideas onto that very successful framework at which a number of speakers and topics are presented in a single day.

Over the holidays, I called Amy and asked, “If I host a Slow Flowers Summit, will you give the keynote?” She said YES, and I jumped right in, finding a venue in Seattle and inviting a fabulous lineup of speakers. The Summit took place on July 2, 2017 in Seattle. We had 91 attendees and it was incredible as a first-effort.

Amy Stewart and Teresa Sabankaya were two of those first speakers, and a few of you were also there. Thank you for returning — we have Christina Stembel, Kit Wertz and Mud Baron, all who attended last year and — surprise — they’re presenting this year. And we have returning attendees Nan Mattson of Queen City Flower Farm in Cincinnati, a self-described “urban micro flower farm,” and Sarah Reyes of Unfurled, based in Oakland area, a floral designer and self-described “floral liaison” — I’m so happy to see you both here!

Well, that was my recap of the birth of the Slow Flowers Summit. And now, I have a big announcement for you . . .

The 3rd Slow Flowers Summit will take place on July 1st and 2nd, 2019, in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota! Save the dates!

I’m so pleased that we have a co-host in Christine Hoffman, founder of Twin Cities Flower Exchange, a floral wholesale hub that represents local flower farmers and chemical-free practices, now in its 2nd season.


Christine is a past guest of this podcast and I’m so pleased that she agreed to welcome the Slow Flowers community to the Twin Cities – where a lot of exciting things are taking place in the floral world. To share more, I’ve asked Christine to join me for a short preview of what’s in store for you next year!

Sign up to receive Slow Flowers Summit 2019 Updates and Announcements here.

Listen to our past Podcast interviews with Christine:

Episode 193 (May 13, 2015)

Episode 290 (March 29, 2017)

Follow Twin Cities Flower Exchange on Instagram

And if you happen to find yourself in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area on Sunday, August 12th, please join me at a reception Christine is hosting for the local floral community. It will take place at Good Acre, the food hub that houses Twin Cities Flower Exchange. See Details & RSVP for the August 11th Slow Flowers Happy Hour

READ MORE…