Debra Prinzing

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Archive for the ‘Storytelling’ Category

Episode 375: Flower Farming in Eastern Washington with Beth Mort of Snapdragon Flower Farm

Wednesday, November 14th, 2018

Beth Mort of Snapdragon Flower Farm in Spokane, Washington

Over the past week, I’ve had several rewarding encounters with flower farmers, floral designers and avid flower enthusiasts who are eager for inspiration and encouragement about our vibrant Slow Flowers Movement and what it means for their own relationships with flowers.

Each new connection is encouraging and inspiring.

While we have a long way to go in achieving my goal of putting local flowers on the top of customer’s wish lists and supporting florists who want local and seasonal choices in the floral marketplace, it’s notable to see how much has changed since the first week of the Slow Flowers Podcast, back in 2014.

Left: Whatcom Horticultural Society’s floral design workshop; Right: Beth Mort (Snapdragon Flower Farm), Debra Prinzing and Katie Lynd (Washington Dept. of Agriculture) at the Tilth Conference

Late last week, I was joined by more than 40 highly motivated members of the Whatcom Horticultural Society in Bellingham, Wash., where on November 8th I led a floral design workshop using only Pacific Northwest-grown botanicals — at “Brews and Bouquets.”

THANK YOU to everyone who helped to make that experience a huge success for the Hort society, who used the evening as a members’ only bonus. I’m especially grateful to the staff and flower farmers of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market who went the extra mile to help me source 1,000 stems of flowers for the worksho

As I said, it took place on November 8th; the threat of frost was upon us and at times as the date approached, I panicked about the availability of fresh, seasonal and local floral options.

Those talented flower farmers really came through with dozens of dahlias, mums, chocolate cosmos, orange Ilex, roses and sprays, as well as lilies. A sweet haul, some of which you can see above — thanks to Crowley House Flower Farm, Charles Little & Co., Sonshine Farm, Peterkort Roses, Everyday Flowers, Cairn Farm and others.

And from Bellingham, I headed to Spokane, in Eastern Washington, on Sunday, where I joined two smart and talented women to be part of a panel at the annual Tilth Conference.

Produced by the Tilth Alliance, a coalition of people committed to sustainable farming in Washington and building an ecologically sound, economically viable and socially equitable food system, the conference this year recognized floral agriculture as an important facet of our state’s larger farming community by adding a panel presentation called “Marketing Your Local Fresh Cut Flowers: Consumer Research and Industry Trends,” to the program.

The panel was led by Katie Lynd of Washington State Department of Agriculture’s regional markets program. She shared highlights of phase one of “A Collaborative effort to Advance Washington State Cut Flowers,” a USDA specialty crop block grant being administered by WSDA and the Washington Farm Bureau. Slow Flowers is an industry stakeholder in that block grant.

Katie presented the results of the grant’s initial quantitative and qualitative consumer research and she asked me to share highlights of the 2019 Slow Flowers Floral Insights and Industry Forecast, the entire report of which you’ll hear on January 2, as part of the New Year’s first Slow Flowers Podcast episode.

A Snapdragon Flower Farm bouquet

She also invited today’s guest, Beth Mort, owner of Snapdragon Flower Farm in Spokane. I’m so pleased that Beth was part of the panel because she brought real-life experience and her personal story to the room.

A slide from Beth’s presentation at the Tilth Conference, featuring highlights and flowers from her farm.

After our panel presentation was over, Beth and I found a quiet corner of the conference to record a full episode so you can hear her story as well.

Beth was raised near Tum Tum, Washington, just outside of Spokane, where she started gardening with her mother at an early age.

Beth grows a diverse and beautiful spectrum of cut flowers

She says, “I love to learn, and gain knowledge from each person, plant and animal I meet.” As an undergraduate, Beth studied ecology and plant & mushroom taxonomy at The Evergreen State College, and followed this with a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning from Eastern Washington University.

She holds a Permaculture Design Certificate from the Bullock’s Farm on Orcas Island.

The people, flowers and services of Snapdragon Flower Farm

Snapdragon Flower Farm is located in south Spokane near Tower Mountain. In early 2017, Beth and her husband Mike moved to the land that they rent and leasing from Heron Pond, which they call their “parent” farm.

As the 2018 growing season comes to a close, Snapdragon Flower Farm wraps its second full year in flowers.

Beth says she is grateful not just to Heron Pond but also for Urban Eden Farm, which graciously allowed her to test out growing flowers in 2016.

Beth is also owner of Zinnia Permaculture Design, a  Spokane-based garden design company with a focus on food production & building healthy soil while creating beauty and resiliency in the landscape. She blends permaculture principles, long-standing food gardening concepts and client vision to produce a dynamic design clients can use to accomplish their goals.

Beth, with her poppy crop!

As you will hear in our conversation, operating Zinnia Designs allowed Beth to generate some income from her expertise while incubating her dream of establishing a flower farm in Spokane. She applies the same sustainable practices used in food gardening to flower farming.

Snapdragon Flower Farm’s clients, colleagues and community — building an important regional hub for local flowers.

Beth is part of a small group of flower folks in Spokane who recently started a Facebook group for Inland flower farmers and florists.

Here’s how you can find and follow Snapdragon Flower Farm:

Snapdragon Flower Farm on Facebook

Snapdragon Flower Farm on Instagram

Read more about Beth in the Spokesman Review

I want to encourage you to visit the Slowflowerssummit.com site 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!

Designed by Nancy Cameron of Destiny Hill Flower Farm.

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 380,000 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!

(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:
Brass Buttons; Cradle Rock
by Blue Dot Sessions

 

Episode 373: A Conversation with Two Floral Design Superstars: Meet Steve Moore of Sinclair and Moore and Nancy Teasley of Oak and the Owl

Wednesday, October 31st, 2018

Nancy Teasley of Oak and the Owl and Ella Rose Farm, presenting at Flowerstock (c) Sarah Collier

Steve Moore of Sinclair and Moore, teaching at Flowerstock (c) Sarah Collier

I love the serendipity that comes from unexpected encounters and today’s episode is exactly that story!

While staying at Holly and Evan Chapple’s Hope Flower Farm in Waterford, Virginia, two weeks ago, I moved into one of the guest rooms in what is affectionately called the Tenant House. Two other guests were there, too — fellow speakers at the third annual Flowerstock.

And that experience introduced me to Steve Moore, of Seattle-based Sinclair and Moore and Nancy Teasley of Oak & The Owl and Ella Rose Farm, based in Fallbrook, California.

Never one to miss an opportunity to bring new and inspiring voices to the Slow Flowers Podcast, I asked if these to accomplished wedding and event designers — and friends — would be willing to record an interview with me for this episode.

The Flowerstock speakers, including (from left): Alicia and Adam Rico, Evan and Holly Chapple, Debra Prinzing, Nancy Teasley and Steve Moore (c) Sarah Collier

As you’ll hear, Steve and I have briefly met in the past, while racing in and out of our local flower hub in Seattle, the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, and while I’ve known of Nancy, she and I had never met. I was delighted to share lodging with these two generous souls.

More than that, I was enchanted to sit in on their presentations during two days of Flowerstock. Their approach to naturalistic design and their willingness to share with attendees about their business practices was quite fun to observe.

Nancy Teasley, floral designer and rose grower.

Here’s more about Nancy Teasley:

Nancy’s background is in fine art (painting), interior design, and business – all degrees she received while living in the Bay Area.

While an undergrad, she worked at a flower shop in Oakland, CA, where Nancy was immersed in events, as well as day to day retail. And that is where her love of flowers originated.

After working in floral for more than 7 years, Nancy left to pursue Interior Design.

She practiced with several design firms around the Bay after receiving her degree in 2008, all while continuing to design flowers on the side.

When she moved to Southern CA, and started working on events there, Nancy found a world where she could mix both of her backgrounds seamlessly.

Her experience in interiors guides her event design, & along with florals, she blends her two mediums beautifully.

Nancy Teasley (right) of Oak and the Owl and Ella Rose Farm

Nancy is also the owner of Ella Rose Farm. She says she never expected, or looked, to become a flower farmer.

She explains: “It was a sort of far off day dream I had, if I made a million dollars, or if I lived in some alternate reality (like making a million dollars), I could fantasize about having a field of roses. I once spent a New Years Eve, way before Ella was even thought of, looking through a rose catalogue, envisioning what varieties I would choose (I think I IG’d that night, so long ago).”

Well, with her parents, that dream somehow came true. Growing roses required a lot of time, money, and grueling physical and emotional work. Ella Rose Farm grows and sells beautiful roses around the country. Nancy’s designs are so much better because of them.

And now, she describes herself as a part-time farmer, full-time designer. All that time in the field has made Nancy a better designer, a better business owner, and a better person. There’s no work quite like farming.

Nancy Teasley’s roses from Ella Rose Farm, featured in two of her recent designs for a centerpiece and a bouquet.

Follow Nancy at these Social places:

Oak and the Owl on Instagram

Ella Rose Farm on Instagram

Sinclair and Moore

Steve Moore of Seattle-based Sinclair and Moore, in his studio.

Here’s more about Steve Moore:

Years ago when Steve was eleven years old, he saw Steve Martin and Martin Short’s Father of the Bride in the movie theater.

He was mesmerized by the flowers, the cake, the swans and the twinkle lights hanging from the tent ceiling. He fell in love with weddings that day and knew what he wanted to do with his life.

So much of Steve’s life prepared him for the passion that became his career. As a kid, Steve’s mom taught him cake decorating and he assembled his first tiered cake at age of twelve.

He began playing piano at weddings when he was fifteen; at sixteen, he taught himself how to sew and made a wedding dress for his sister. These skills developed through high school and in college as Steve helped friends who were getting married.

After graduation, Steve opened his business, originally calling it Steven Moore Designs. He offered custom gowns and cakes in addition to full-service wedding coordination and event designer. He taught himself floral design and added floral services so he could fully execute his vision for each client’s ceremony.

Steve and Jamie Moore with their children, at a photo shoot recently shared in the Sinclair and Moore blog.

Several years later Steve met and married Jamie Sinclair DeBell. She joined the company as primary logistics coordinator, freeing Steve to focus on the design and aesthetics of each wedding. Jamie’s organization and administrative skills strengthened the company and took things to a whole new level. The business changed to Sinclair and Moore to reflect their partnership.

It has taken more than 10 years to grow the business to where it is today. Sinclair and Moore has been named a top wedding vendor by Martha Stewart Weddings, VOGUE, Harper’s Bazaar and Brides Magazine. These accolades are special, yet Steve says the most meaningful parts of the business are the people met along the way. “We wouldn’t be where we are today without the incredible people we have had the opportunity to work for,” he says.

Steve Moore in the Sinclair and Moore Studio.

Follow Steve at these social places:

Sinclair and Moore on Instagram

Sinclair and Moore’s Blog

Sinclair and Moore on Pinterest

Thanks so much for joining me today! Please come back next week where you’ll hear another amazing episode featuring the leading voices in our Slow Flowers Community.

I want to encourage you to visit the Slowflowerssummit.com site 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!

The hands of Slow Flowers member Riz Reyes, clipping dahlias at the University of Washington Farm in Seattle.

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 375,000 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. Take advantage of the special subscription offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community

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!

(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:
Turning On the Lights; Flagger; Lahaina
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 372: News from Flowerstock and my Conversation with its Creator, Holly Chapple

Wednesday, October 24th, 2018

Holly Heider Chapple at Flowerstock 2018 (c) Sarah Collier

Love this photo, captured by Sarah Collier, of the Flowerstock experience, photographed during one of Holly’s presentations.

Last week, Holly Heider Chapple welcomed designers and flower lovers from near and far to Flowerstock at HOPE Flower Farm.

Floral professionals and members of the floral community gathered for two days of demonstrations and talks by renowned floral designers, including Holly, Steve Moore of Sinclair & Moore, Nancy Teasley of Oak & the Owl and Alicia and Adam Rico of Bows & Arrows.

It was an honor to join Holly at Flowerstock for the second time as a a teacher.

I led a number of creative writing exercises for attendees, guiding floral creatives through various modules of describing flowers, color and memories in a new way.

These bud vases, arranged and photographed by Andrea K. Grist, were part of a writing module to describe what we see.

There were many quiet corners for writing, upstairs in the Dairy Barn, which is where I found Kelly Shore with pen, paper and flowers!

Color word-play is an important part of the Creative Writing Process, too, richly expanding our language.

The personal floral narrative is powerful.

We heard this idea many times from my fellow presenters and the timing was perfect for those who brought pens, paper, their open minds and a little vulnerability to the process.

We gathered upstairs in one of the barns, where there was a creative space for writing, photography and floral design. Thank you to all who participated.

I’m eager to read more of your writing!

Before I departed Flowerstock to return to Seattle, I asked Holly if we could sit down for the Slow Flowers Podcast to record an update from her and she agreed.

It was nice to sneak away to the Tenant House, where many of the speakers stayed, and sit in a comfy corner to speak uninterrupted.

We didn’t watch the clock, so this is a longish episode. We’ll forgive you if you listen in smaller units of time.

Sarah Collier captured this party photo of Holly and me, just prior to the final evening’s dinner. What a fun memento!

The first half of this episode focuses on Flowerstock and you can feel our emotions and joy while listening to Holly and I share highlights with one another.

This is the massive arrangement that Holly created at Flowerstock using the new extra-large Holly Pillow, a foam-free mechanic that she designed in conjunction with Syndicate Sales. (c) Sarah Collier

Then, during the second half of this episode, I ask Holly to update me on all that’s has happened in the past year with her new product line created in partnership with Syndicate Sales.

Holly Chapple holding her new grid-format “eggs” and “pillow cages,” designed with Syndicate Sales.

If you’ve missed the news, you’ll enjoy hearing the “backstory” of the Holly Egg and the Holly Pillow, new mechanics that allow efficiency, eliminate the use of foam, and (in Holly’s opinion) lend themselves to higher productivity during the design and production of weddings and events. Click here to learn more about this new product line, called the Holly Heider Chapple Collection by Syndicate Sales.

What a whirlwind of topics and stories ~ thanks for joining us. You can hear my original interview on the Slow Flowers Podcast with Holly, which we mentioned while reminiscing. It was Episode 123, which aired Jan 9, 2014. Wow, has so much happened for both Holly and me in the ensuing years as we’ve both promoting progressive practices in floral design and flower farming — in our own ways.

I want to encourage you to visit the Slow Flowers Summit site 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!

Please come back next week where you’ll hear another amazing episode featuring the leading voices in our Slow Flowers Community.

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 372,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

Thank you to our Podcast Sponsors, including 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!

(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:
Betty Dear
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 364: Meet Perla Sofia Curbelo, Puerto Rico’s Gardening and Wellness Expert

Wednesday, August 29th, 2018

Perla Sophia Curbelo, of Puerto Rico’s AgroChic

Today’s guest shares with us an inside look into gardening and agriculture in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. Her name is Perla Sofia Curbelo, creator of AgroChic, a blog in Spanish for Garden Lovers & Agropreneurs.

We’ve become friends through GWA, the Association for Garden Communicators, of which we are both members, and through our mutual love of gardening and digital media. I’ve been so fascinated with her platform, AgroChic, which has become an international forum for Spanish-speakers who love gardening, plants, wellness and more, both on the island of Puerto Rico and around the world.

I loved meeting up with Perla Sophia at the GWA Symposium.

When I knew that Perla Sofia and I were going to meet up again a few weeks ago in Chicago, for our GWA conference, I sent her a note asking if she’d be willing to come on the Slow Flowers Podcast as my guest.

It was a bit challenging for us to find the time to do this — and true confessions, we snuck out of another scheduled function in order to sit in an empty meeting room and record this episode.

It was one of the highlights of my time in Chicago and I’m so excited for you to hear Perla Sofia’s story — and her take on gardening, Puerto Rico style. We wanted to share good and inspiring news from Puerto Rico, news that the cable channels and mainstream networks won’t bring you. I encourage you to follow AgroChic at its social places so you can follow along with Perla Sofia and learn more.

Teaching about plants with AgroChic

Here’s a little bit more about my friend Perla Sofia:

Perla Sofía Curbelo is a Puerto Rican journalist turned mediapreneur. In 2009, she founded Agrochic.com, a gardening blog in Spanish.

Through the website, readers interested in urban agriculture and wellness can check articles, guides and lists on topics like how to take care of your houseplants, how to create a veggie garden in containers and even how to plan your next garden travel.

For the past 30 years, her family had run a monthly paper in Puerto Rico, specialized in Agriculture. They also have a small coffee farm. Her younger brother, Luis, is an agronomist and a flower farmer.

Perla, with her family in San Juan

In 2016, her blog Agrochic was nominated as one of the best Latino health and wellness blogs at the Tecla Awards during Hispanize, the largest annual event for Latino trendsetters and newsmakers in digital content creation, journalism, marketing, entertainment and tech entrepreneurship.

As part of the digital content, she also coordinates gardening workshops in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she lives with her husband Antonio, her younger stepdaughter Veronica (one of two stepdaughters) and her beloved rottweiler Rocco.

“Today’s Greens” — Perla is a fellow Podcaster!

Perla has a bachelor´s degree in Psychology and a master´s degree in Communication, specialized in Public Relations.

She has worked in publishing, television and radio, and for the last 15 years she focused most of her writing in agriculture and gardening.

This past Summer, Perla started a seasonal podcast (La verdura de hoy, translates “Today´s Greens”), also in Spanish, which you can listen on her blog.

AgroChic’s gardening workshops are popular — and she plans on increasing their frequency.

In 2017, she joined The Association for Garden Communicators and is responsible to translate a monthly column from the GWA´s blog from English to Spanish.

For 2019, she has her eyes on a Horticulture Therapy Certification and she wants to open a gardening studio in Puerto Rico, to multiply the gardening workshops, host garden writers and entertain through all things garden.

You can find and follow Perla Sofia via AgroChic’s channels:

AgroChic on Facebook

AgroChic on Instagram

AgroChic on Twitter

Perla Sofia on Twitter

AgroChic on YouTube

Goofing around while recording our episode, with Perla Sophia Curbelo (left) and Debra Prinzing (right)

Thanks so much for joining me today! I am so grateful to for joining in today, grateful for 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 353,000 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

SLOW FLOWERS Receives Two Silver Medals of Achievement from 2018 GWA Media Awards

Sunday, June 24th, 2018

[June 21, 2018]

Debra Prinzing received the 2018 Media Awards’ Silver Medal of Achievement for Podcasting and Special Trade Projects, presented by GWA: The Association for Garden Communicators.

This national award recognizes individuals and companies who achieve the highest levels of talent and professionalism in garden communications.

The 2018 competition had more than 260 entries in 56 categories.  Recipients of the Silver Medal represent the top winners each competition category and will now compete for best of group in the areas of writing, photography, digital media, broadcast media, publishing and trade.

Debra Prinzing, Podcaster, Writer, Editor and Slow Flowers Founder (c) Mary Grace Long Photography

Prinzing received the Silver Medal of Achievement for the Slow Flowers Podcast and for the August 2017 debut issue of Slow Flowers Journal in Florists’ Review Magazine.

“The GWA Media Awards showcase the writers, photographers, editors, publishers and trade companies that have pursued excellence in gardening communication in print or electronic communications,” says Becky Heath, president of GWA.  “The Media Award winners have been judged by industry experts and show significant distinction and merits that exemplify exceptional work.”

Prinzing launched the Slow Flowers Podcast in 2013, which has since aired weekly for 255 episodes. Listeners and flower fans have downloaded episodes of the Slow Flowers Podcast more than 330,000 times. “Our content is about American flowers and the people who grow and design with them. It’s a hub of conversation about the sustainable and progressive changes in domestic floral agriculture and mindful floral design,” she explains.

In 2017, Prinzing launched the online magazine, Slow Flowers Journal.

Subsequently, Florists’ Review, the leading trade magazine in the floral industry, invited her to bring the digital project to its print platform, which debuted in the magazine’s August 2017 issue as a standalone issue.

Slow Flowers Journal delivers news, features, profiles, Q&As, opinion pieces and gorgeous floral photography.

“By producing dense, substantial, well-reported and well-written editorial pieces, I believe this content is changing attitudes and further engaging readers on topics of domestic and local flowers,” Prinzing explains.

 

Since the early 1980s, the GWA Media Awards program has recognized outstanding writing, photography, graphic design and illustration for books, newspaper stories, magazine articles and other works focused on gardening. In recent years, the awards program has expanded to include on-air talent, production and direction for radio, television, video, Internet and other electronic media.

Prinzing is a past Gold Award and three-time Silver Award winner of the GWA Media Awards.

To view all the 2018 GWA Media Award recipients, visit www.gardenwriters.org.

For more information about this award, contact Crystal Goodremote 212.297.2198 or cgoodremote@kellencompany.com.

About GWA

GWA: The Association for Garden Communicators, formerly the Garden Writers Association, is an organization of professional communicators in the green industry including book authors, bloggers, staff editors, syndicated columnists, free-lance writers, photographers, speakers, landscape designers, television and radio personalities, consultants, publishers, extension service agents and more. No other organization in the industry has as much contact with the buying public as GWA members. Learn more at www.gardenwriters.org.

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Episode 352: Foraged Art with Publishing Maven Leslie Jonath of Connected Dots Media

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

Today’s guest is Leslie Jonath, creative director of San Francisco-based Connected Dots Media.

Leslie has over 20 years’ experience in book publishing, creative services, and media business development. And for any of you who dream of producing a book of your own, you’ll want to listen closely to her process and advice!

From 1991 to 2009, Leslie was an integral part of the editorial and development team at Chronicle Books, a Bay Area-based independent publishing house known for its lively, eye-catching and trend-setting books, gifts, stationery, and other consumer products about food, art, pop culture, gardening, design, lifestyles, and more.

A petal spiral from Foraged Art’s feed.

As a Senior Editor in the food, lifestyle, and custom publishing categories, Leslie developed acquisition strategies, launched the successful garden and craft categories; acquired, produced, edited, and project-managed over 250 books across a variety of categories, including food, pop culture, crafts, lifestyle, art, architecture, memoir, and children’s projects.

She also created a cause-related publishing model for non-profit organizations, creating books to benefit Meals on Wheels of San Francisco; P.A.W.S., Bay Area schools and Next Course (which provided job and life skills training for incarcerated women).

As a Director of Creative Development, Leslie was a founding member and co-director of Chronicle’s Custom Publishing division, creating innovative products for cultural institutions, name-brand companies and retailers. Clients included BabyGap, Starbucks, Anthropologie, and the San Francisco Ballet.

Another spontaneous art foraged art project.

The success of her work in this division led to a position as Director for Creative Services for the company’s Business Development team. As head of Creative Services, she  and her teams conceptualized, produced and developed innovative “beyond the book” services for custom clients, including videos and other digital products.

While at Chronicle, Leslie teamed up with Ariella Chezar to create Ariella’s first book in 2002, Flowers for the Table, a guide to choosing seasonal flowers and a lesson in designing with the bud’s natural form. The book revolves around several seasonal occasions, from a summer wedding in the country to hot colored poppies on a cold winter’s night.

Raked-Leaf Rays, a project from Foraged Art

After leaving Chronicle Books in 2009, Jonath founded Connected Dots Media, working with clients in book packaging, video production, and concept and content development and production. And she reunited with Ariella in 2016 to create and publish Ariella’s beautiful new book, The Flower Workshop for Ten Speed Press. In addition to having produced books on floral design, Leslie is the author of Love Found, Everyone Loves Paris, and Give Yourself a Gold Star.

Leslie has also guided Erin Benzakein and Julie Chai on the award-winning Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden book. You’ve heard Ariella and Erin in the past on this Podcast.

Foraged Art, a book for play, creativity and changing your relationship with nature.

So now, we’re going to hear from the woman behind those projects and so many others. I’ve invited Leslie today to talk about two personal book projects that have HER name on the cover as author.

Rory, Peter and Leslie, creators of the Foraged Art Book

The first, just out, is called Foraged Art, Creative Projects Using Blooms, Branches, Leaves, Stones, and other Elements Discovered in Nature (published by Bluestreak Books).

Leslie’s co-author is artist Peter Cole, an artist who works with gleaned objects he collects. From foraged rocks, shells, leaves to discarded menus, matchbooks, and miniature bears, he creates objects of wonder that reflect both natural and urban environments. He is the author of a collection of how-to environmental art books, including Snowmen and Great Pumpkins. He lives in Brooklyn with his family.

Foraged Art was photographed by Rory Earnshaw is a Bay Area-based photographer who shoots corporate annual reports, table-top, fine art, corporate/music industry portraits, product, packaging, lifestyle, editorial, music CD’s, as well as fine art landscapes.

In the spirit of land artists like Andy Goldsworthy, the book is as much about discovery as it is about creation. Leaves shaped like lips might inspire a face; an array of rocks might be become an eclectic mosaic; winter’s first snow might be carved into glowing luminaria.

Whether you love to look for heart-shaped flowers or want to make a peacock made with flower petals, readers will find great inspiration and joy in Foraged Art.

Petal Puddles, a project from Foraged Art

Art, meditation, and nature meet in this adult-focused activity book, with projects that take inspiration from the natural environment, using blooms, pods, branches, stones, and other natural elements. Divided into chapters by natural elements — flowers, leaves, rocks and pods, and more, the book encourages readers to forage and play outside using nature’s seasonal art box. Foraged Art is about making art from what you find and finding art in what you see.

Leslie and I also discuss Feed Your People, an ambitious book that she has been working on for several years — from conception to completion.

Feed Your People is a modern community cookbook. Leslie envisioned the need for Feed Your People after she realized that despite the popularity of dinner clubs, pop-up dinners, and holiday entertaining, there were surprisingly few cookbooks or resources that offer practical instruction on cooking for crowds.

To that she approached the community of big-hearted cooks and chefs—experts who cook for their communities — whose generosity inspires. Stories of their gatherings are accompanied by recipes with detailed  information on equipment, make ahead strategies and tips cooking for groups from eight or to forty (and even fifty!)

As Leslie explains, on a deeper level, the book is about building and feeding community, and, fittingly, she teamed up with 18 Reasons–a beloved San Francisco-based organization that provides classes to low-income residents and hosts monthly community dinners.

She wants this book to inspire cooks everywhere to bring their communities together for a meal—no matter what the occasion. From a simple soup dinner to a pasta pot, whether using paper plates and fingers or cloth napkins, there are recipes around which to create a well-considered, delicious, and memorable event. She sees Feed Your People as a celebration of community, a guide that will encourage people everywhere to feed each other both literally and spiritually.

Here’s where and how to follow Leslie at her social places:

Feed Your People on Facebook

Feed Your People on Twitter

Foraged Art on Facebook

Foraged Art on Instagram

As Leslie encourages us, creating foraged art reminds us that life is beautiful in all of its stages – and that, if we look, we can see the grace in every moment.

I certainly feel that grace this week as many of you have reached out to thank me for this Podcast and how it has helped you. We have 57 five-star reviews on ITunes, which is so awesome. One fan just posted this review on iTunes, writing:

“Over the past few months, I’ve really enjoyed listening to your podcast. Insights and glimpses of what goes on with the Slow Flowers Movement is fascinating. As a 30-year veteran of the floral industry here in North America, it’s surprising that I haven’t been more aware of local growers. Thank you for encouraging the local farms to grow flowers that we can utilize so we can help spread the news of buying American grown flowers.”

I’m encouraged by the amazing participation in our many opportunities to network, connect and educate — and this is a bountiful month for doing so. With American Flowers Week coming up on June 28-July 4, with the Slow Flowers Summit — our LIVE celebration of American Flowers Week taking place on Friday, June 29th in Washington, D.C., and with the many marketing and branding tools available for your use for free, please take advantage of this opportunity and join the community.

If you’re not on our mailing list, you can find a link to the June Slow Flowers Newsletter in today’s show notes — catch up on Slow Flowers members and their fantastic activities, too.

Please make you reservation for the Slow Flowers Summit. Our second annual Slow Flowers Summit takes place in the heart of American Flowers Week – and we have an inspiring lineup of speakers, gorgeous flowers, fun and interactive design activities and of course, a chance to stretch your imagination in a thought-provoking and stimulating environment.

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 at debraprinzing.com in the right column.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 324,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for listening, commenting, liking and sharing! It means so much.

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all of 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. Take advantage of the special offer for a free trial issue.

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.

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; Pat Dog; Long and Low Cloud (quiet acoustic)
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 349: Finding a Market for Your Flowers with Bethany Little of Charles Little & Co.

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

Bethany Little, photographed at the recent Whidbey Flower Workshop, wearing the fanciful headpiece she designed during Susan McLeary’s wearables session.

Before I turn to today’s awesome guest, Bethany Little of Charles Little & Co., I want to share two big news items.

First, this week marks the 250th consecutive episode of the Slow Flowers Podcast, a major milestone in Podcastland where the average podcast only lasts 7 episodes.

In total, since airing my first episode on July 23, 2013, which for some reason I decided to assign as number 100 (thus the odd synch-up of today’s episode 349), I have hosted and have produced an original Slow Flowers Podcast episode every week for 250 weeks.

That is pretty awesome, folks.

And I thank you so much for loyally joining the conversation. In fact, this podcast has been downloaded more than 317,000 times by listeners like you! It is an honor and a humbling experience know you’re listening in each week – our listeners are an essential part of the conversation!

Here’s to the next 250 episodes! We know there are many more voices to hear and stories to tell and I want to bring them to you right here at the Slow Flowers Podcast with Debra Prinzing.

The NEW Slowflowers.com — about to relaunch as a celebration of the site’s 4th anniversary!

Our second piece of Big News involves the online directory – slowflowers.com. Four years ago this week, on May 12, 2014, I announced the debut of Slowflowers.com.

I said this at the time: “Slowflowers.com is a sister project to this podcast — a free, online directory of American-grown flowers and the designers, shops, studios and farms who source those blooms.”

Designed by Nancy Cameron of Destiny Hill Flower Farm.

I continued:

“The mission of Slowflowers.com is simply this:

To promote American-grown flowers, to make it easy for flower consumers to connect with florists, shops, studios and farms who provide American-grown flowers, and to encourage truthful and transparent country-of-origin labeling in the floral industry. 

My goal with this project is that when someone wishes to purchase or send flowers, they stop and ask themselves: Can those flowers be American grown? Slowflowers.com provides that answer.”

The directory began with 250 domestic floral resources listed. Today, that list has grown to 725 members — and my goal with your help, continues to be growing that list to one thousand!

Perfectly timed to coincide with the 4th birthday of Slowflowers.com, this week I am unveiling a brand new Slowflowers.com 2.0 – a visually updated and more user-friendly web site for those who visit the consumer-facing side; and a more functional machine for members who interact with the admin and database side to manage your content.

I have invested considerable time and finances to create Slowflowers.com 2.0, with a fresh, new aesthetic and easy-to-navigate user experience. Look for it soon!!

Take the Pledge!!!

And finally, if you have always considered yourself a “supporter of Slow Flowers,” but have never joined, now is the time to put your values into an actionable gesture and do so. We welcome you to our growing and vibrant community of kindred spirits – flower farmers, floral designers, farmer florists, wholesalers, retailers and consumers of flowers.

I’ll have much more news to share with you as we continue to improve all the facets of Slowflowers.com.

I definitely want to thank Bob Meador of Metric Media for his ongoing involvement in the creation, maintenance and caretaking of this digital project.

As I find myself so often saying . . . I’m a journalist, not a business person. My path to creating the Slow Flowers community and content channels has been passion-driven more than entrepreneurial. With continual improvement in the platform, we’re creating a dynamic brand with which floral consumers and the floral industry wants to engage – and I’m stretching my business know-how in doing so.

Bethany with just-harvested lavender

It’s fitting to share today’s conversation with my guest Bethany Little because she and her husband Charles Little are veteran flower farmers and huge supporters of the Slow Flowers cause.

This episode was recorded last month when Bethany and I spent a few days together at the Whidbey Flower Workshop hosted by Tobey Nelson.

I was there to teach creative writing during the workshop’s opening session after which Tobey graciously invited me to stay with the group of instructors and students for two consecutive days.

Bethany was there as both a student and sponsor, bringing hundreds of beautiful flowering branches from hers and other Oregon flower farms to be employed by Joseph Massie and his students for a few breathtaking, large-scale installations.

You may recall that Bethany’s husband, the one and only Charles Little, appeared on this show a few years back.

Charming and inviting — the farm stand sign at Charles Little & Co.

I was in Eugene, Oregon, visiting friends and lined up a stop at the Charles Little HQ on Seavey Loop Rd. Bethany was out of town that weekend, so I zeroed in on Charles’s story –a wonderful narrative of a sustainable agriculture pioneer whose 30 years of flower farming set the stage for so much of which is happening today in our slow flowers world. Follow this link to that episode from August 2015, called “Grower Wisdom,” for part one of this story.

Bethany Little leading a tour of Charles Little & Co.

Now, you’ll hear part two of the story – Bethany’s insights on flower farming and on creating a viable marketplace for those flowers.

Scenes from Charles Little & Co., including Remy, one of the two canine members of the family, an Australian cattle dog.

Here’s more about Charles and Bethany’s philosophy, from their web site:

We have lived and worked on 35 acres of the very best river-bottom soil along the Coast Fork of the Willamette River in Oregon for nearly a quarter-century. The crops we raise include flowers and foliage of all kinds; ornamental herbs, grasses and grains, and unique sticks, pods and berries. We send in-season floral materials year-round to wholesalers throughout the United States. Our product is excellent and our service is responsive, friendly and direct. We have been growing specialty cut flowers for more than a quarter-century, and we approach our work with passion and keen observation. We are always trying something new to add to our extensive crops, bringing inspiration to our fields and to our customers.  

Harvest time at Charles Little & Co.

Here’s how to find and follow Charles Little & Co.:

Charles Little & Co. on Facebook

Charles Little & Co. on Instagram

Thank you so much for joining me today as we heard Bethany Little’s story!

I am in awe of all you – intrepid and gifted 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 right column.

I want to remind you about the Dream Designer Package — a ticket promotion that runs through Sunday, May 20th. All May registrants for the Slow Flowers Summit will be entered into a drawing for one spot to join me on Sunday evening, July 1st at an exclusive gathering with Laura Dowling, author and former White House Florist.

This private event benefits the AIFD Foundation and I’m going to bring one of you with me to attend and enjoy a dazzling and unforgettable evening. So if you’ve been thinking about attending the Slow Flowers Summit, this promotion might just be your incentive! The Summit promises to be a fantastic day of networking, inspiration and personal growth. I can’t wait to see you there!

As I mentioned at the top of this show, the Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded 317,000 times and we’ve just hit our 250th episode of this program.

Five years ago, my book “Slow Flowers” was published.

Four years ago, I started the ambitious endeavor to publish and maintain an online directory called Slowflowers.com, which is a free resource to help connect consumers with American grown flowers and the people who grow and design with them.

Three years ago, American Flowers Week debuted, and the fourth annual week-long event American Flowers Week 2018 is almost here. Mark the dates June 28-July 4th on your calendar.

Last year, in 2017, Slow Flowers Journal launched as an online magazine, and soon became a permanent feature in the pages of Florists’ Review each month.

I also launched the Slow Flowers Summit, a one-day mind-meld and gathering for floral progressives. Our second annual Summit is set for June 29th – just around the corner.

What an incredible and rewarding ride it has been — especially to connect with kindred spirits in this journey we’re all taking! The journey to rescue, restore and revive domestic floral agriculture and a floral community focused on transparency and conscious sourcing practices.

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

Our lead sponsor for 2018 is 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. Take advantage of the special subscription offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community

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.

(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:
Chapel Donder
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 346: The Genius of British Floral Artist Joseph Massie

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

Joseph Massie

Slow Flowers Summit logo We’ve been running a special promotion called the Slow Flowers Luxury Package — offering anyone who registers for the Slow Flowers Summit this coming June 29th a bit of encouragement to register early.

The promotion ended on Sunday, April 22nd — Earth Day. And I’m excited to announce our winner, chosen in a blind drawing: Marian Purviance of What Cheer Flower Farm in Providence, Rhode Island. Marian, we’re so happy to award you with the $400 gift package, which includes a full year Premium membership in Slow Flowers and one night’s stay at the Marriott Wardman Park, the Summit hotel. Marian will receive the gift package valued at $400, which includes one year Premium membership in Slow Flowers and one night’s stay at the Marriott Wardman Park, the Summit hotel. Congratulations!

There will be a new Summit promotion announced next week, so if you missed this chance, tune in for more details to enter. Please join us for what promised to be a fantastic day of networking, inspirational presentations and personal growth. I can’t wait to see you there!

A Joseph Massie creation.

Today’s guest is British floral designer Joseph Massie, a featured instructor at Tobey Nelson’s recent Whidbey Flower Workshop.

I have been so eager to interview Joseph in anticipation of my joining the other instructors at the Whidbey Flower Workshop.

Our paths crossed there and Joseph graciously agreed to let me turn on the recorder for a lovely conversation.

Take a look at this floral ceiling!

He may never remember our having met two years ago during Detroit Flower Week, when of course I made sure to introduce myself and congratulate him for the amazing floral installation that he and students created for the final dinner, hosted by another genius floral friend, Lisa Waud of pot & box.

I was eager to see and learn from Joseph, especially thanks to Tobey’s workshop billing that promised Joseph would “guide us through all the layers of designing and engineering large-scale, foam-free floral installations.” You can see photographs of some of the highlights of the Workshop here:

Here’s more about Joseph:

Frequently referred to by the media as ‘the floral artist of his generation,’ Joseph Massie is widely regarded as one of Europe’s top botanical artists.  Aged just fourteen, Joseph desperately wanted a weekend job, and after successfully applying to the local flower stall, he began spending his weekends working in his hometown of Liverpool, UK. Perhaps to some it was an uncommon interest for a fourteen year old boy, but Joseph quickly found his vocation amongst the buckets of blossoms and buds.

Taking steps to pursue his passion, Joseph self funded his education and began to hone his practice and develop a creative ethos, participating in intense training sessions with top international designers and artists. To further build his artistic vocabulary, Joseph began to participate firstly in regional, followed by national, floral design competitions, and aged nineteen, won his first national design competition, the BFA Young Florist of the Year 2007.

Following his national title victory, Joseph took his first steps onto the world stage at Eurofleurs (Belgium, Brussels, ‘08). European success was followed in quick succession by competing at the highly regarded 40th WorldSkills Competition (Calgary, Canada, ‘09) where he became the first and only UK Competitor to ever take home a Bronze Medal, (ranked 3rd Worldwide) in Floristry.   Joseph completed his extraordinary international run by finishing Silver Medal (ranked 2nd in Europe) at Eurofleurs, the European Youth Championships (Manchester, UK) in 2010.Whilst experiencing humbling international success, his achievements were proudly echoed on home soil, winning seventeen national & international competitions and awards, including five consecutive RHS Gold Medals – and four Best in Show awards – at the world renown RHS Chelsea Flower Show (‘09/’10/’11/’12/’13).  Joseph is the youngest person ever to achieve this feat.

Joseph’s studio has three creative divisions: the first is Joseph Massie Botanical Art, which includes major installations and commissions for public and private clients and venues; the second is Joseph Massie Flowers, his full-service wedding and events service, and the third is the UK School of Floristry.

A Joseph Massie green living room, commissioned for a project in Singapore

Follow Joseph at these social places:

Joseph Massie on Instagram

Joseph Massie Flowers on Instagram

 

“I’ve never wanted an average life,” Joseph Massie.

Thank you so much for joining me today as we immersed ourselves in flowers as an art form in so many ways. Here are a few images from the Whidbey Flower Workshop that took place last week, including an epic, one-day installation blitz with Joseph Massie and 15 designers:

Joseph’s incredible vision inspired a giant “tree” built on a base of chicken wire.

Left: A rose petal curtain; Right: A floating, elongated “cloud,” made from branches and white statice.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 309,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing — it means so much.

As the Slow Flowers Movement 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 right column.

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all of our programs including this podcast, American Flowers Week, the Slowflowers.com online directory to American grown flowers, as well as our new channels, Slow Flowers Journal and the 2018

Our lead Sponsor, 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. Take advantage of the special subscription offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community.

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.

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:
Turning on the Lights; Wingspan
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com

 

Episode 345: Modern Macramé with Artist-Entrepreneur Emily Katz

Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

Today’s featured guest is Portland-based artist and community-builder Emily Katz — learn all about her new book, Modern Macramé. Author photo (c) Nicolle Clemetson

Peak of Summer 2017 — getting ready to see what this year’s Slow Flowers Cutting Garden produces!

Before I share macramé maven Emily Katz’s story with you, I want to briefly share what’s happening in the Slow Flowers Cutting Garden!

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have noticed some recent stories about the prep work taking place for my soon-to-arrive greenhouse.

I’m really jazzed because adding the structure will complete the third area of our one-year old garden! I’m focusing on this season’s cutting garden planting plans, and that means annuals and dahlias.

To see what I’m doing, follow the link to my recent story, “Spring in the Cutting Garden,” where I begin to sketch out my plans.

I’m especially excited about the cutting garden planting plan that Longfield Gardens designed for my raised beds — Check it out — and be sure to follow links to order your flower seeds and dahlia tubers. You’ll find what annuals, dahlias and companions I’m planning to grow, too.

Emily Katz, at Detroit Flower Week (c) Heather Saunders

Now, let’s turn to Emily Katz of Modern Macramé. I first met Emily at Lisa Waud’s Detroit Flower Week in 2016, where she invited Emily to present and also design a beautiful macrame curtain during the conference.

Emily and I struck up a friendship in our hotel lobby while waiting for our ride one morning and realized we were both from the Pacific Northwest. I have been so impressed and fascinated by how she has revived the 1970s art of macramé — for many reasons, not the least of which it brings back memories of a job as a teenager making macramé straps and hangers for a hippy pottery studio in 1975. Tragically, for me, that was a few years before our friend Emily Katz was born! Oh well, age is a state of mind and in my mind, I’m not much older than that 15-year-old girl who once knew all the macramé knots.

More of Heather Saunders’ beautiful images of Emily’s macramé-floral curtain from Detroit Flower Week (c) Heather Saunders.

Perhaps that’s partly why I was drawn to Emily, but her story is enough to draw in anyone. As an artist, Emily has worked on numerous fashion and interiors projects, including owning two women’s fashion lines, Bonnie Heart Clyde and her eponymous collection of sustainable clothing for women. She has studied fiber and printmaking in Florence, Italy; attended the Maryland Institute College of Art, with a focus on printmaking, and is currently traveling the world teaching macrame workshops, learning about energy healing, art directing and styling photo shoots, hosting dinners and events, collaborating on interior design projects and products, and dreaming up the next adventure.

Amazing banners and hangings (and how to make them) are featured projects in Modern Macramé. Left and right — two installations of Emily’s Celebration Garland. (c) Nicole Franzen

You’ll want to check out her new book — Modern Macramé : 33 Stylish Projects for Your Handmade Home, which will be released on May 15th It’s the ultimate guide to creating and styling modern macramé projects in the home.

The book’s instructions are easy to follow and replicate — from basic to complex knotting techniques and more.

I know I said Macramé—the fine art of knotting— dates back in my memory to the 1970s, but in fact, it is an age-old craft that’s undergoing a contemporary renaissance. At the heart of this resurgence is Emily, a lifestyle icon and artist who teaches sold-out macramé workshops around the world and creates swoon-worthy aspirational interiors with her custom hand-knotted pieces.

A kitchen ceiling installation with hanging macramé planters (c) Nicole Franzen from Modern Macramé

The book Modern Macramé is a stylish, contemporary guide to the traditional art and craft of macramé, including 33 how-to projects, from driftwood wall art and bohemian light fixtures to macramé rugs and headboards. The projects are showcased in easy to follow, well-photographed project layouts, guiding both the novice and the more experienced crafter in a highly achievable way.

The images and projects I selected to share here are particularly applicable to floral installations – and you’ll love them and want to try your own hand at making or adapting Emily’s designs for your clients and projects. Modern Macramé is published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc. Text and tutorial photographs (c) 2018 by Emily Katz; Interior design photographs (c) 2018 byNicole Franzen

A lovely detail of Emily’s hands as she knots and ties cotton rope (c) Heather Saunders

Sisters of Moon Wall Hanging by Emily Katz, featured in her book, Modern Macramé (c) Nicole Franzen

The audio you’ll hear in today’s episode is from a December workshop I attended when Emily came to Seattle right before the holidays. I recorded (with Emily’s permission) her personal story shared at the beginning of the evening, during which tells how macramé became so important in her life.

I was gathered with a dozen or so women and one man to learn how to make a small wall-hanging using natural jute and a number of knotting techniques. As I listened to Emily, I realized how effective she is at using art as a metaphor for life. She truly wants to inspire others to be better versions of themselves.

Emily views macramé as a communal act, one that can bring people together, and you’ll hear more about that in her remarks.

Emily’s brand of macramé employs a rhythmic, repetitive, ritual of wrapping and looping rope to create a textile piece.

For those of us in the floral industry, there is a beautiful connection between fresh flowers and woven rope. The organic common language is so relevant. That’s obviously what Lisa Waud saw in Emily’s artwork — enough to invite and include macramé in Detroit Flower Week.

Here’s how to find and learn from Emily — on her social places:

Modern Macrame on Instagram

Modern Macrame on Facebook

Modern Macrame on Pinterest

Follow this map to Emily’s Modern Macramé Summer Book Tour

Find more details about Emily’s appearances here and follow along as she crisscrosses the country all summer long, sharing her passion and expertise for Macramé.

This is the final week to enter The Slow Flowers Luxury Package promotion, which ends on Sunday, April 22nd — Earth Day. If you register for the upcoming Slow Flowers Summit conference by that date, you’ll be entered into a random drawing to receive a $400 gift package — I can’t wait to see you there!

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 306,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing — it means so much.

As the Slow Flowers Movement 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 right column.

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all of our programs including this podcast, American Flowers Week, the Slowflowers.com online directory to American grown flowers, as well as our new channels, Slow Flowers Journal and the 2018 Slow Flowers Summit.

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. Click here to take advantage of the special subscription offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community.

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.

(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:
Uplifting Pop; Whistle While You Pod
by Sounds Like an Earful

Episode 335: On growing Farmgirl Flowers, with floral entrepreneur Christina Stembel

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

Christina Stembel, founder and CEO of Farmgirl Flowers

I’ve known Christina Stembel since her early days of Farmgirl Flowers.

I used to say hers was the one business I regretted not being able to include in my 2012 book The 50 Mile Bouquet, because by the time we first met, virtually, through an email introduction, I had already finished writing and my publisher St. Lynn’s Press had already wrapped up the book’s production and sent it off to the printer.

When preparing this intro, I wanted to actually go back and figure out how Christina and I met, and as it turns out San Francisco-based food writer Sophia Markoulakis virtually introduced us by email on January 29, 2012 — about six weeks before the publication of The 50 Mile Bouquet. I knew that timing was close, but had completely forgotten about Sophia’s introduction. Sophia quoted both Christina and me in a  February 7, 2012 article for the San Francisco Chronicle, titled: “Locaflores? Eco-friendly florists think locally”. It’s just amazing to look back six years ago to the date of Sophia’s article, and consider all the strides we’ve taken to promote local, seasonal and sustainable flowers.

Christina appeared on this podcast as an early guest on Episode 108 in September 2013, and subsequently we recorded Episode 154 in July 2014 from Homer, Alaska, so longtime listeners of the Slow Flowers Podcast are familiar with her story.

As I wrote in the May 2017 profile about Farmgirl Flowers published in Florists’ Review:

Farmgirl Flowers’ founder Christina Stembel is not a typical Silicon Valley start-up darling. She isn’t backed by venture capital firms who have ponied up millions of dollars to fund her launch; she doesn’t have slick office space where the staff get to play ping-pong or video games after grazing on catered vegan lunches. She drives a hand me down car and lives in a rental house with her husband Neil Hiltz.
If all goes to plan, fortune may follow the fame she has received (as in great media attention and hundreds of thousands of loyal customers), but for now, there’s more grit than glamour in the life of this 39-year-old CEO.”

In the Q&A that followed, Christina spoke openly about the challenges of growth, including one of the most difficult ones that she faced a little more than a year ago — that of finding enough flowers to keep her customers happy.

Download a PDF of the entire “The Business of Flowers” article here: Farm Girl Flowers

FR: Earlier this year you announced to your customers and followers that you were going to begin sourcing flowers from outside the U.S. You posted a letter on your web site called “Our Heart” that explained your decision and what it meant to you and your team. You explained that you were faced with a challenge of sourcing enough flowers from domestic farms and that Farmgirl will now “source directly from farms abroad whose values align with our own.” And you said, We will continue to buy the majority of our flowers from US growers (at least 80% right now), and will be subsidizing with flowers we can’t get enough of here.” What has the response been to this announcement?

CS: I was really nervous. I knew I needed to write that letter to lay it all out there. I had to say, “This is the situation and this isn’t what I want to do. I’m sad about this but I’m just going to be honest and tell people why.” Then, we started getting emails and they were so positive. Everybody was so nice, so supportive, so thankful that I was honest with them. Customers who I had never met before wrote things like: “I’ve always bought from you because I love your aesthetic and I’m going to keep buying from you because I love your heart.”
We announced this on January 25th and we actually had a good transition. At Valentine’s Day, we only received between 20 and 25 percent of our confirmed domestic flowers, a lot due to the heavy winter rains in California. Had I not been able to use imported flowers, we would not have been able to fulfill our orders, which is what I feared and it proved (to me) that I made the correct decision.”

I asked Christina to join me again today to reflect on the past year of transition for her. One of the other reasons for this interview is to discuss the pain of growth and how all successful companies evolve due to unexpected market forces.

I was particularly moved to ask Christina to appear on the Podcast again after yet another round of comments that flooded Facebook groups, mostly populated by U.S. flower farmers, after a recent Forbes article about Farmgirl, which was published last December.

Here is a link to Christina’s “Our Heart” letter, which appears on the Farmgirl Flowers web site.

Farmgirl Flowers’ branding is some of the best in the industry.

I have to be honest — I was confounded by the number of assumptions and accusations being made about Christina in social media forums, and the conclusions to which people in the industry jumped, standing in judgment of a woman who has done incredibly amazing things to elevate the awareness of local flowers in our popular culture. At one point, Christina weighed in and offered to return to the podcast — and others on one of the threads were in support of it.

What you are about to hear is an honest conversation between two friends. I simply can’t be impartial and I make no apologies for it. It saddens me that people are critical of Christina’s choices. She speaks honestly about how tough those choices are and reveals, in fact, that she is still spending millions of dollars annually to buy American grown and local flowers for Farmgirl. I hope you listen closely with an open mind and heart. While you may not agree with Christina’s choices, I think you’ll definitely learn from her tenacity and big heart.

More from Farmgirl Flowers

Thanks for joining me today! I am grateful to Christina to opening herself to this kind of scrutiny and explanation. I respect her for even trying to set the record straight and sharing some insights into her decisions. Check out the beautiful USA-Grown Bouquet from Farmgirl Flowers, starting at $75 plus shipping.

If you have more to say, please say it to her directly rather than in a public forum like Facebook. She has offered up her email at farmgirl@farmgirlflowers.com and I know she will answer any respectfully posed questions with sincerity.

Despite my personal mission of changing the floral landscape through Slow Flowers’ outreach, promotion and content, I have also acknowledged that imports are here to stay. Yet, if we can even move the needle by a few percentage points away from the 80 percent import-20 percent domestic ratio, I will consider this movement a success.

I’m well aware of the compromises many feel they have to make sometimes to stay in business. The flower shops that have a secret stash of floral foam in the back room; the designers who don’t want to say “no” to a customer’s request for white hydrangeas from South America in January; the flower farmers who run a side gig with a farm in Baja. Don’t kid yourself. Not everyone is doing it but it happens. I was recently called out for leasing a Honda and slapping my “SlowFlo” license plate on it, or I’ve faced a crummy decision when the hard goods wholesaler where I shop runs out of USA-made glass vases and I’m forced to substitute with imported glass from China because I didn’t plan ahead. Degrees of sustainability face us all.

Let’s focus on what we’re doing that’s positive and continue to uphold, support and encourage one another to be transparent and honest in our actions. Cooperation over competition is the phrase I often hear. I’m hopeful you will receive this podcast today in that spirit.

If you’re able to attend the 2nd annual Slow Flowers Summit, coming up, June 29th in Washington, D.C., you’ll hear from Christina who will serve as our keynote speaker! Her presentation, “Scaling Your Floral Business to the Next Level,” will share great insights for floral professionals at any stage in their journey. Please visit the show notes for this podcast to find all the links and details to the Slow Flowers Summit. I’ll be featuring our speakers and more event details in the coming weeks.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 280,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing — it means so much.

As the Slow Flowers Movement 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 at debraprinzing.com in the right column.

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all of our programs including this podcast, American Flowers Week, the Slowflowers.com online directory to American grown flowers, as well as our new channels, Slow Flowers Journal and the 2018 Slow Flowers Summit.

Florists’ Review magazine: I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for the new monthly Slow Flowers Journal section, which you can find 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.

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.

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of 50 family farms in the heart of Alaska providing high quality, American Grown 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

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:

Fudge; That Old Harpoon
by Gillicuddy

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

The Jazz Piano

by Bensound
In The Field
by Jason Shaw:

audionautix.com