Debra Prinzing

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Episode 487: Slow Flowers Floral Insights & Industry Forecast for 2021

Wednesday, January 6th, 2021

The Pursuit of Nature

This Forecast began seven years ago in 2014 when I began documenting shifts and changes in the Slow Flowers Movement. I recently described the origins of this important exercise in my new online course, Taking Stock and Looking Ahead [P.S. follow this link to learn how you can take this free course as my gift to you.]

Here’s how I remember it:
In 2014, when I launched slowflowers.com as an online directory of American flowers and the growers and florists who supplied them, I worked with two talented public relations friends to get the word out to the media. While planning a visit to meet with lifestyle and garden magazine editors in New York, one of the PR experts urged me to create a Power Point slide deck that included an overview of floral trends I associated with the emerging Slow Flowers movement.

In creating that deck, which became my first forecast for 2015 (see above), I learned a few important lessons. I share this in the context of the social media term “impostor syndrome,” because it’s no surprise — we all feel that sometimes. When Lola and Marla encouraged me to write a trend forecast, at first I thought: Who am I to forecast trends? Isn’t that a role only for the experts?

Their response: You have a point of view and it’s based on hundreds of interviews that you conduct for articles and for your Podcast over the course of each year. See what bubbles up from those topics and themes that excites you about the year to come.

I realized that since I was the one who conducted those interviews and wrote those articles, I was viewing trends through my own lens and filter — the Slow Flowers perspective.

When I shared that Power Point deck with editors and had positive responses (as in, they took it seriously during our meetings), I later decided to post the 10 insights on my blog and record a Slow Flowers Podcast episode about it. You can go back and listen to episode 174 from December 31, 2014

The Power Point deck I shared with editors became a blog post and, as I mentioned, the Podcast show notes. Then I shared it with Slow Flowers members in my monthly newsletter. And then a few floral trade publications picked it up.

As a result, I became an “Accidental Forecaster”, and that has elevated Slow Flowers’ unique and relevant viewpoint in the floral marketplace. I’ve learned some valuable lessons. We’re no longer waiting for Martha Stewart or Oprah or Chip and Joanna to tell us what’s on trend. Each of us can speak with an authentic voice about our observations, key cultural shifts and new creative directions in the floral space. In the end, the forecast is a tool; a roadmap that helps me and others consider what is around the bend or across the horizon. It sparks conversation and sometimes, to be honest, it sparks controversy.

The Pursuit of Nature


So let’s get started! I have 10 insights to share with you for the year to come. I’m calling our 2021 Report: “In Pursuit of Nature,” and you can understand why, right?

As we enter 2021, at least in the short term, not much will feel different from the past nine months. And if there is anything we’ve learned since mid-March 2020, it’s the essential and irreplaceable role of flowers and plants for our survival. And that’s why my outlook is deeply connected to humankind’s pursuit of nature — and how floral entrepreneurs like you can and should tap into and enhance that pursuit through your efforts.

I learned about the term “Biophilia” in October 2019 when I interviewed Tom Precht and Sarah Daken of Grateful Gardeners. Tom is a big advocate of Biophilia and he opened my eyes to its relevance as we make personal and business decisions that impact our planet’s survival. He discussed the definition when I interviewed him, but here it is again, according to Merriam Webster:
Biophilia: “a hypothetical human tendency to interact or be closely associated with other forms of life in nature

All you have to do is read the headlines of 2020 to see a collective shift toward nature, plants, the environment – and yes, flowers.

A recent article in the Washington Post caught my attention. The headline reads: The isolation of the pandemic caused her to form a new and intense relationship to nature. She was hardly alone. The benefits of being outdoors for your physical and mental well-being are well documented, but in this coronavirus era, they may be immeasurable.”

A Forbes headline reads: “Nature Is Good For Your Mental Health, Sometimes”

The University of Washington shared this research: “Dose of nature at home could help mental health, well-being during COVID-19” The report stated:

“Studies have proven that even the smallest bit of nature — a single tree, a small patch of flowers, a house plant — can generate health benefits,” said Kathleen Wolf, a UW research social scientist in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. “Look closely in your neighborhood, and the bit of nature you may have taken for granted up until now may become the focus of your attention and help you feel better.”


What are we watching for in 2021? The Slow Flowers Community’s experiences of 2020 definitely inform what is top of mind for 2021. Over the past several years, as we’ve devoted considerable time and resources to educate consumers and professionals alike; and thankfully, we are coming off a year when the attention of many turned to the Slow Flowers Movement.

Locally-grown, seasonal and sustainable flowers answer questions about a safe and reliable supply of flowers. Awareness our Movement continues to increased as floral consumers and florists alike shifted their focus to what’s closer to home. Panic over the international floral supply chains has quickly turned to a subtle but significant and newfound understanding that if we don’t nurture and support our local flower supply, there may come a day when farmland has been converted to real estate developments; where commitment to a safer, more sustainable earth has been displaced by convenience.

The anecdotal feedback I’m hearing is heartening. I received an email recently from a leader in, shall I say, “mainstream” floristry, who wrote:

“After two decades of thinking traditional wholesaler connections were the only way to run a floral studio or shop, I’m slowly starting to learn about local flower-farmers and am constantly in awe of their entrepreneurial spirit, and can’t imagine how much hard work goes into what they do. For that, I want to give them as much business as I can! I know that you had a big hand in getting this trend in motion and I thank you for that!”

As we seek new and diverse voices in the Slow Flowers Movement, I believe we will continue to witness a positive shift to a more progressive, inclusive, conscious marketplace for the flowers you grow and design with. And we will continue to document the shift with stories, interviews and resources to encourage you.

I want to thank everyone who took the time to respond to our 2021 Slow Flowers Member Survey, more than 200 of you, who I mentioned during last week’s “Year in Review” report, is triple past year’s participation.

In addition to the Survey, which asked members to share about their floral businesses, including emerging themes and topics important to them, this Forecast is informed by my 2020 storytelling — first-person interviews for print and digital Slow Flowers Journal stories, interviews with more than one-hundred Slow Flowers Podcast guests, and conversations with thought-leaders in floral design, flower farming and related creative professions.

I hope you find these insights and the 2021 forecast valuable to you. You may hear some themes that resonate with you and I’d love to hear your feedback and suggestions about what you agree with and what topics you wish we included.

You can Download a PDF of the 2021 Forecast here:


#1 Floral Wellness

Molly Culver of Molly Oliver Flowers in Brooklyn created the “Seasonal Flower Project” in 2020 — a popular local-flower subscription program that supported her favorite farms and put those flowers in the hands of people eager to connect with nature. Listen to our interview with Molly in Episode 451

The yearning for a connection to nature is truly unprecedented in our society, something many of you witnessed first-hand when Mother’s Day 2020 shattered prior years’ records for floral sales. Demand added up to three words: People. Need. Flowers.

In past Forecasts, I’ve touched on similar themes, including the popularity of Aromatherapy Bars (2018) and the Year of the Houseplant (2019). Floral Wellness is more sweeping in its meaning. More than ever, consumers and their senses are drawn to your blooms. They are drawn for fragrance and scent, for medicinal qualities, for skin and body care benefits, for nutritional meals, palette-satisfying beverages, and for — above all — their mental health.

I define Floral Wellness as
An embrace of the therapeutic importance of flowers, both in our own environments and as a meaningful way to share with others. Floral Wellness nurtures a positive and habitual desire to have flowers in our lives and as an expression of our desire for others to also experience flowers’ emotional, physical, mental and psychic value.

This idea can be manifested in ways both simple and accessible to your clients, as well as more ambitious endeavors. From the rise of flower workshops (in person at a safe distance or in many virtual forms) to the explosion of CSA subscriptions as more consumers desired more flowers, Floral Wellness took root in 2020 and is yours to nurture and enhance with new offerings to your community in 2021.

A few comments bubbled up from our 2021 Member Survey that underscore this idea and I’ll share them here:

“People want more flowers!”
“More local and more of it!”
“I believe local will become more desired.”
“People want to bring more flowers into their homes and are getting into floral design as a hobby.”
“Flowers bring smiles and happiness in times when we need it most.”
“I think people will be more oriented towards decorating their living spaces. Also, gifting flowers to loved ones.”

“Customers may start treating themselves with fresh flowers.”
“As work-from-home becomes normalized, the interest in gardening/flowers/natural world grows.”
“I’m seeing a desire for more beauty and more positivity.”

This insight’s key takeaway for you: Use a megaphone to share your story, your flowers, and your belief that flowers are essential to our wellness and health.


#2 The Virtual Florist

All images from “Designer’s Choice,” a July 2020 Slow Flowers Journal Report in Florists’ Review — featuring (clockwise, from top left): greenSinner, Maple + Mum, Floral Alchemy, Sellwood Flower Co. and Studio Artiflora

What do I mean by the Virtual Florist? We’re living in a world of “virtual” everything, so the term is truly relevant and timely. In the Slow Flowers Community, we spent 2020 covering the ascent of virtual floristry, through our podcast interviews, in Slow Flowers Journal stories, and during our weekly and monthly Slow Flowers member virtual meet-ups. For the Virtual Florist, innovation and creativity meet a marketplaces of Covid-imposed limitations and constraints.

The Virtual Florist
is adaptable, flexible and inventive in finding ways to successfully deliver flowers to his or her community.
The Virtual Florist utilizes technology and serves customers’ needs where they are. The Virtual Florist disrupts “definitions” of what type of florist you may have been in the past.

This means you might own a retail flower store, but you’ve added an online shop; or, you’re studio-based, but you now offer everyday flowers through contact-free curbside delivery; or, you’ve never grown flowers before, but this year you’ve planted thousands of tulip bulbs to sell from your front porch using only your neighborhood’s Facebook page to get out the word (that’s a real story about one of our members!)

The Virtual Florist consults, teaches and inspires in new ways, too. Virtual floristry is more egalitarian and transparent. Anyone can turn on a camera and film a demonstration or tutorial for IGTV, Facebook Live, YouTube and on other platforms — the field is more level than before. It’s not just the “big names” who are attracting audiences, especially because the return to expensive, in-person workshops will be slow and gradual.

This insight’s key takeaway for you: Dial up your imagination. What may have began as a coping mechanism to stay busy or stimulate creativity is now a new business opportunity. Develop and invest time and resources into at least one virtual component of your floral enterprise. Be ready to connect with your community whose shopping habits have dramatically changed, perhaps forever.


#3 Flowers in a Box

Mail-order Floral Offerings from Slow Flowers members, clockwise from top left: Petals by the Shore, Postal Petals, Harmony Harvest Farm and Flora Fun Box

Shipping flowers is nothing new, but until this moment, only a few successful companies were getting it right.

In our 2018 forecast, I identified the early adopters behind this shift with the insight “Flower Farmers Launch Direct-Ship Wholesale Programs,” so what’s new about “Flowers in a Box?”

Now, based on necessity, we are witnessing more models, most consumer-direct, designed to move local and seasonal flowers from point A to point B, with more Slow Flowers members experimenting in the world of boxed and shipped blooms.

Slow Flowers members who had never before shipped flowers began to do so in 2020. The first report we shared about this shift can be heard in early April when I interviewed Mandy O’Shea of 3 Porch Farm about the decision to ship early spring flowers when local farmers’ markets and on-farm sales were impossible. It was a survival strategy that foreshadowed a strategic business shift. You can find a link to that conversation in Episode 448.

Flowers in a Box covers a diversity of methods and formats, from overnight shipping of bulk flowers, arrangements, floral packages for weddings and more.

Members are also experimenting with the shipping of dried flowers and live plants. And others are mixing design tutorials into the mix (a nod to Insight #2 and The Virtual Florist).

This past fall, we published a six-part Slow Flowers Journal series, called New Floral Marketing Models and Platforms. I’ll share the link for you to go back and read the series in case you missed it. One of the series’ most interesting themes – to me – explores how designers and flower farmers are partnering to create boxed floral collections for home-based floral enthusiasts. Check out my stories about Petals by the Shore, Postal Petals and Flora Fun Box as examples.

We will be tracking more of this “Flowers in a Box” phenomenon moving into 2021, relying on our membership in CalFlowers, the only national trade group that offers flower farmers and floral designers access to deep discounts on overnight shipping rates. CalFlowers has joined the upcoming Slow Flowers Summit 2021 as a Supporting Sponsor, and we will be sharing more about this organization in future programs.

This insight’s key takeaway for you: Ask yourself: What can you put in a box — perishable or non-perishable — and offer to customers who are not in your physical market, but who want to share and experience your brand?


#4 Botanical Activism

Scenes from Slow Flowers initiatives around the U.S., clockwise from top left: Portland, Maine, installation; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, installation; Slow Flowers’ social media badge; Detroit, Michigan, installation; and Say Their Names Memorial in Kirkland, Washington

2020 was a year in which I stepped back to evaluate whether my beliefs and values were in alignment with our brand. And I know this was the case for many of you, as well.

We highlighted “Cause-Related Flowers” in our 2018 Forecast, citing the news that more flower farmers and florists were investing their talents to help nonprofits and others in their communities through floral philanthropy efforts.

The contributions of so many of our members – growers and designers alike – continue to impact our communities. It began with the simple question: Did you donate your flowers to any causes or charities this past year? So many of you can answer in the affirmative.

But something is different now. We’ve all been touched by the awareness that the social and environmental landscape is dramatically changing. And if we do not step up to walk the talk in our own floral enterprises, I believe we are only deceiving ourselves.

I define Botanical Activism as one expression of social enterprise.
For Slow Flowers members, this takes shape in many ways:

Writing a statement of purpose for
your brand
Committing resources to racial equity, inclusion and representation in your business practice

Using your flowers to speak volumes about the issues you care about, from climate change to human rights.

And yes, you may occasionally feel the sting of criticism. I’ve seen it in social media posts, along the lines of this comment: “I just want to see beautiful flowers and I come here for a respite away from the conflict and disagreements I watch or hear on the news. Why do you have to be so political here on a floral feed?”

I believe we can no longer stay comfortable in our safe flower worlds when others are suffering discrimination or injustice. I’m not saying we need to become full-time activists. We have businesses to run, bills to pay, households to support, of course. But even in small and subtle ways, we can be Botanical Activists to signal our values and beliefs.

Your answers in the 2021 Slow Flowers Member Survey revealed your beliefs and passion for causes important to your brands:

  • 61% of our Members say they are taking steps to create Inclusion, Representation and Equity policies for their businesses
  • 53% of our Members are aligning their brands with human rights and social justice messaging/activities
  • 46% of our Members’ businesses have participated in cause-related activities to support Black Lives Matter and antiracism campaigns

In 2020, I witnessed the manifestation of these values across the Slow Flowers membership, inspired by so many of you, your efforts to take a stand for social justice, and to show positive support through your flowers.

Moving forward, this isn’t optional. It’s essential. For Slow Flowers, we are adding a sixth statement to the Slow Flowers Manifesto, originally written in 2017 and published on Slow Flowers Journal. Every one of the five original statements in our Manifesto could be considered by some to be radical and norm-busting in the conventional sense. They include:

Slow Flowers commits to the following practices:

  • To recognize and respect the seasons by celebrating and designing with flowers when they naturally bloom
  • To reduce the transportation footprint of the flowers and foliage consumed in the marketplace by sourcing as locally as possible
  • To support flower farmers small and large by crediting them when possible through proper labeling at the wholesale and consumer level
  • To encourage sustainable and organic farming practices that respect people and the environment
  • To eliminate waste and the use of chemical products in the floral industry

Today I am adding a sixth statement, long in coming and inspired by the actions of many of our members and colleagues in the green profession:

To proactively pursue equity, inclusion and representation in the floral marketplace, intentionally valuing
Black floral professionals
(farmers, floral designers and vendors) in our business practice with as much support as we give to environmental sustainability.

I recently came across a wonderful affirmation from SF-based diversity and inclusion expert Arthur Chan of Arthur Chan Consulting and it resonates with this new addition to our Manifesto.

This insight’s key takeaway for you: Belonging implies community and my pledge to each of you is to model this value in all of Slow Flowers’ actions, programs, content and investments, not just for 2021 but beyond. As I said last week in our year-in-review, until the Slow Flowers Society looks more like the communities we live and work in, more needs to be done. So, in the coming year, we will be highlighting your Botanical Activism — what causes are your flowers supporting? How are you enhancing your community and sharing your values? Please keep me posted as I seek stories of equity and inclusion, and continue the conversation.


# 5 Theatre of the Tabletop

Designs from left: Tobey Nelson, Tobey Nelson Weddings & Events; Susan Chambers, BloominCouture; Dawn Clark and Mary Coombs, A Garden Party LLC; Beth Syphers, Crowley House Flower Farm; and Kelli Galloway, Hops Petunia Floral

The inspiration for this insight arrived in my in-box in October, when a college friend of mine sent a link from The Guardian, a UK daily newspaper. The headline read: “‘Napkins are the new fashion’: the improbable rise of tablescaping”

Written by lifestyle reporter Hannah Marriott, the article captured my imagination, as she likens tabletops to our own personal stage for artistic expression.

She wrote: ” . . . it was in lockdown, perhaps inevitably, that tablescaping became a phenomenon. With so many of us working from home, our social lives disappearing and desperate for some comfort, our focus on our homes was never sharper.

The article continues: “Tablescaping, a small joy that can take a few minutes or a few hours, and makes dinnertime instantly prettier, is part of this national self soothing.”

Gate Cottage Garden botanical tabletop collection @scottwittmanartsculpture

The person who shared this article with me, my friend Scott Wittman, is a creative director who has spent his own COVID year exiled in the Kent countryside away from his London office. He has invested all of his free time photographing the blooms in his garden to document the passing of time, season by season. It helps that his pre-Georgian cottage is surrounded by an acre of a traditional English garden planted about 40 years ago — that’s priceless inspiration!

Scott’s garden and his photography project led him to produce an entire product line for the table, including dishes and linen tablecloths and napkins adorned with his graphic and polychromatic botanical photography. He plans on debuting the “Gate Cottage Garden” collection at the 2021 Chelsea Flower Show and I’ve been urging Scott to figure out distribution in the U.S. For now, check out images of his garden-inspired table accessories in our show notes and follow him on IG at @scottwittmanartsculpture

As I pulled together insights for 2021, I couldn’t forget this old-new idea of tablescaping and it came up again in several conversations, including, most recently with Susan Chambers, Slow Flowers florist based in San Francisco. She described to me how her business BloominCouture has changed in 2020, with more residential floristry accounts than ever.

“It goes beyond flowers,,” Susan says. “So much of what I’m hearing my clients say (is) that they want to understand, not just the floristry, but creating that moment at the table. They want me to create the vision, the pomegranates down the table, the privet berries dripping out of the arrangement. They’re wanting that me to come in and create that moment for them before the dinner party.”

Tablescaping can be the ultimate Slow Flowers expression, as your florals enhance human interactions, mark occasions both special and ordinary, and celebrate the art of dining. Many of you design tablescapes for styled shoots — some of the most adventurous and theatrical meals imaginable. Let’s celebrate the objects we cherish, and create palettes that honor both how food is grown and the origin of the floral decor. I view the theatre of the tabletop as a way to honor the gift of time.

Tablescape designed by Rayne Grace Hoke of Flora’s Muse and Laura W. Tibbitts of Midcoast Blooms

This insight’s key takeaway for you: How can you combine your flowers and floral designs into a full package? Hannah Marriott’s article in The Guardian triggers so many ideas that you’ll want to explore in 2021. She writes: “Thanks to social distancing and unbridled screen time, the ‘tablescapes’ hashtag now has 455,000 Instagram posts and counting, and it is lifting sales during the crisis. In lockdown, with the hospitality industry on pause, tablescaping took a different direction. For one thing, it provided an income stream – or at least a trickle – to companies whose businesses might have capsized in the crisis.”


#6 Reversing Climate Change

Slow Flowers’ member farms, from left Seattle Wholesale Growers Market dahlia farm shown against the September 2020 wildfire smoke; Stacey Denton of Flora Farm in Ashland, Oregon, using high tunnels to grow sweet peas; at Red Twig Farms in Johnstown, Ohio, low-tunnels for crop protection

Last year, in the 2020 Floral Insights & Industry Forecast, I featured Climate Change for the first time with an insight titled “Responding to Climate Change.” The urgency felt by the Slow Flowers Community is heightened as we move into 2021. Your responses to Climate Change questions in the Slow Flowers Survey reveal that urgency. It can seem overwhelming, but our individual actions and the policies we collectively support are powerful tools to employ as a community.

Last year, Forty-four percent of our survey respondents said they were adjusting growing practices to adapt to climate change. In this year’s Survey, 54% of Members say they are aligning their brands with climate change messaging/activities.

We also asked you to share about How Has Climate Change Affected You and Your Business? Here is a recap:

  • Nearly 60% of you cite weather irregularities (too much or too little rain)
  • 30% say abnormally warm OR abnormally cold spring seasons
  • 25% cite early frost arrival
  • Nearly 20% blame disaster-related damage (wildfire, flooding, hurricane, hailstorms, tornados and other weather tragedies)
  • Another reason cited includes extended hot periods with no precipitation. 

One respondent put it this way: “Weather seems more extreme and unpredictable.”

Another wrote: “It’s not at disaster level yet, but the damaging winds and rains devastated my cosmos and the smoke from the fires sullied my white roses and strawflowers.”

What can we do? What active steps are you taking to address Climate Change in your farm, shop or studio? We know about and have covered the importance of No-Till Farming Methods, Cover Crops, Crop Rotation, Raised Beds, Water efficient irrigation. We know florists are more actively than ever rejecting single-use plastics and other chemical-based products in their designs.

What else? In the coming year, Slow Flowers commits to more reporting on your efforts to reverse climate change, efforts that will inspire others and will empower our members to take positive action in small and large ways.

For now, this insight’s Key takeaway for you: Educate yourself. Join me in seeking meaningful change as we strive to protect our climate, environment, communities and planet.


#7 Beyond the Hobbyist

Deeper Learning, clockwise from top left: Farmer-Florist workshop taught by Niki Irving of Flourish Flower Farm; a similar workshop taught by Liz Kreig of Maple Flower Farm; Cutting Garden Design with Longfield Gardens & Slow Flowers; wreath design workshops taught by Sarah Nixon of My Luscious Backyard; and Debra Prinzing floral design to fellow Garden Writers

The DIY trend has been with us for a decade, and according to my friend and publishing partner Robin Avni, after that length of time a trend that was once new, such as do-it-yourself, folds into the broader culture and becomes mainstream. Originally, I wanted to call this insight “Beyond DIY: Figure it Out” and I turned to Robin to help me flesh it out. My idea was that since more consumers than ever are seeking new knowledge, floral enterprises need to be attuned to this reality in order to offer them what they’re seeking.

But a conversation with Robin gave me a new term: Beyond the Hobbyist. Robin is my go-to expert when I want to understand what’s happening in the consumer marketplace; she spent many years working in consumer research managing a portfolio of Fortune 500 clients as a Senior Director and Lead Consumer Strategist at Iconoculture, and as a Senior Ethnographer at The Hartman Group, where she engaged in primary consumer qualitative research. And those of you who have a copy of my new book Slow Flowers Journal-volume one will know of Robin’s influence as a visual designer — she is the creative director for that publication and my partner in the BLOOM Imprint, the new book-publishing arm of Slow Flowers.

According to Robin, DIY is everywhere, and thus, no longer new. “People feel they can access information on YouTube and figure things out themselves, from painting their walls to building a deck to designing an outdoor space,” she explains.

As an insight, though, Beyond the Hobbyist embodies so much more than DIY, more than saving money or exploring a hobby, Robin explains. “It’s about embracing a skill that gives you a sense of pride and feeds your soul. It’s about having a deeper, long-lasting connection to a skill, such as flower gardening and floral design.”

She continues: “People want to learn new skills, but then, they want to fold it into their lifestyle. They want to go beyond something superficial. They want to know that when they gather flowers from the farm-stand they can replicate at home what they learned in your design class; thanks to your class, they understand why it’s important to support the stems and change the water regularly.”

Easy, mechanics from the professional to Beyond the Hobbyist

I suspect this sentiment is a driving force behind the popularity of product lines like Holly x Syndicate’s egg and pillow mechanics, available not just to the trade, but to the enlightened floral enthusiast who wants to use the same tools and supplies that the pros use. Similarly, having the ability to order single units of the Floral Genius pin-frogs means these professional tools are getting into the hands of anyone who wants to elevate their floral design practice.

Beyond the Hobbyist is all about intentionality rather than a random DIY experience.

We will continue to witness this urge to both know a skill AND understand the why and how behind it, Robin explains. “For example, once a customer experiences a flower farm, they want more. They don’t necessarily want to be a flower farmer, but they want to understand how to grow their own cut flowers, and nurture that practice through the seasons for their own enjoyment and to share with friends and family.”

A polychromatic series: Seeing Color in the Garden @gardenercook

We talked about this further and what came to mind is the desire among many consumers to have a “Daily Practice.” And that led to my friend Lorene Edwards Forkner, Seattle Times gardening columnist, author and artist. Lorene’s Instagram feed @gardenercook features her daily practice called #seeingcolorinthegarden. Lorene is a past guest of this podcast and she will share her story and talents at the 2021 Slow Flowers Summit, leading participants in her mindful practice of painting small watercolor studies of plants and other items she collects from nature. You can see more in our Slow Flowers Mercantile, where we have a digital download gallery of Lorene’s work.

While learning a new skill and adopting a practice is useful for all floral professionals, the key takeaway from this insight is actually a challenge question to you: How do you help your customers and clients embrace a more meaningful connection to flowers? How can you create and nurture opportunities that go beyond DIY hobbies and convert your customers into floral practitioners?

When you draw back the curtain and share insider knowledge that your clients and customers can incorporate into their lifestyles, you build deeper engagements. People want to know the professional skills of growing and design; they don’t necessarily want to adopt a new profession, but you can interpret and empower them with skills, knowledge and confidence.

Learning and gathering knowledge is more important than ever. What services, products and experiences can you offer to your marketplace in 2021? What are you teaching and sharing? A final thought, one that I learned while developing online courses for the Slow Flowers Creative Workshop. Teach what you know. Nothing is more authentic.


#8 Marketplace Inclusion & Farmland Equity

Top Row: Slow Flowers Members who recently presented at the Young Farmers & Cooks Conference: Julius Tillery, Black Cotton U.S.; Taij & VC Cotten, Perry-winkle Farm; Aishah Lurry, Patagonia Flower Farm; and Julio Freitas, The Flower Hat
Bottom Row: #BlackFloristFriday social media campaign, created by Talia Boone of Postal Petals and Quote from Leah Penniman of Soul Fire Farm

This insight is closely connected to Insight #4 – Botanical Activism, while also addressing two themes essential to the future survival of the floral economy.

The first topic – Marketplace Inclusion — speaks to the importance of proactively changing our business practices to support floral enterprises owned by the BIPOC community, (that’s Black, indigenous and people of color). For so long, I focused my energies on the belief that our floral profession would survive if only consumers learned to ask “where were these flowers grown” and “what growing practices were used to grow them?”

If there is one important lesson from the racial awareness and awakening of 2020, it’s that my values demand that I ask a different set of questions, such as: “how can I support and shine a light on florists, flower farmers, vendors and customers who look different than me, a middle-aged white woman?” “How can I invest in the success of underrepresented and overlooked talent, and in doing so, ensure their success and my success are equally valued?”

At Slow Flowers, we enter 2021 with an embrace of inclusivity, representation and equity in our profession. As I discussed last week, our Professional Development Fund devotes resources to invite Black farmers and florists to join the Slow Flowers Society. YOU are encouraged to participate in this endeavor by nominating Black farmers and florists in your community to be part of our efforts — please reach out with your suggestions!

Until the Slow Flowers Society looks more like the communities we live and work in, we will not be sustainable.

I have learned much from garden designer and Slow Flowers advocate Leslie Bennett, who earlier this year joined me as a return podcast guest. Leslie owns Pine House Edible Gardens, an Oakland-based design-build landscaping studio. She is the creator of Black Sanctuary Gardens, which believes that gardens are places that provide respite and restoration; healing and inspiration. The Black Sanctuary Gardens project creates and documents garden sites where Black women’s creativity, spirituality, and human experience can be cultivated and nurtured. 

Slow Flowers donated to the Black Sanctuary Gardens project in 2020 and we feel grateful to learn from the example Leslie is modeling — using her talents and resources to design and build gardens where transformative change can take place, and where we can work to grow the world we want for ourselves and for our communities. 

Leslie and the team behind the Black Sanctuary Gardens project are curating their time and talent to create safe and beautiful garden spaces that celebrate Black women’s humanity and the communities they hold dear within the Oakland, California area. Financial contributions allow them to provide their gifts at low to no-cost to these valued community members. This is a model I’d love to see replicated across the community in other regions.

Soul Fire Farm – a life-giving hub for education, advocacy and activism

The second theme included in Insight # 7 is Land Equity. Joining progressive voices in domestic agriculture to advocate for land equity is a cause I believe will benefit the Slow Flowers community as we see much-needed diversity and representation in flower farming.

In 2020, we financially supported Soul Fire Farm. Based in Grafton, New York, Soul Fire Farm was co-founded by past Podcast guest Leah Penniman, author of Farming While Black. She is a Black Kreyol educator, farmer, author, and food justice activist whose mission is to end racism in the food system and reclaim an ancestral connection to land. As co-Executive Director of Soul Fire Farm, Leah is part of a team that facilitates food sovereignty programs – including farmer trainings for Black and Brown people, a subsidized farm food distribution program for people living under food apartheid, and domestic and international organizing toward equity in the food system.

Soul Fire Farm recently provided us with a list of well-established Black-led farming organizations and I’ll share it in today’s show notes for you to check out. Please consider following and supporting the farming organizations in your community as we move into 2021, while seeking a more diverse Slow Flowers community that benefits all.


#9 Opposite Palettes

Contrasting and Complementary Palettes from the Slow Flowers Cutting Garden

Last year, 24% of our Slow Flowers Survey respondents cited YELLOW as their top color prediction for 2020. Yellow edged out all other colors by single-digit percentages, but there was still no clear standout, leading me to predict a Polychromatic Palette for 2020.

Here we are in January 2021, and Pantone already has declared “Illuminating,” a glowing shade of yellow, as one of two colors for 2021.

For the 2021 survey, both Yellow and Orange topped your list. Specific percentages break out as follows:

Shades of Yellow (23%) “Yellow for optimism.” Mustards and mauves.” “From rich masala yellow in curries to lavish buttercream yellow on cupcakes, the comfort of food will translate to floral expressions.”

Shades of Orange (19.5%) “I think we are seeing hints of orange, and yellow with pinks and blush.” “Everything across the range of citrus tones to fruity apricot.”

Shades of Green (14%) “The clean feeling of green, with foliage in an array of green tones and various shapes.”

Shades of Purple & Violet (13%) “I think we will see a trend towards subdued jewel tones that play off of each other.” “I find the possibilities with purple are both complimentary and contrasting and love finding those matches. People also seem to really gravitate to the purple tones, or at least, that’s what I think, maybe because I like purple flowers so much!”

Shades of Red (4.5%) “Reds, burgundy, pinks monochromatic.”

Shades of Blue (3%) “Mellow, soft blues — the world needs calming tones in these crazy times.”

So what notable color palette do we predict will influence flower farming and floral design in the coming year?

I flipped to the color section of my book Slow Flowers to see what I wrote back in 2013. I quoted Harold Piercy, former principal of the Constance Spry Flower School in England, who wrote this in 1983: ” . . . in flower arranging, I have always found it advisable to discard any prconceptions about colours.” He went on to write: “Keep an open mind and do not be ruled by the colour wheel. You may hit upon unexpected satisfactory results during your experiments.”

Yellow Roses from the Slow Flowers Cutting Garden

I dove deep into the comments that you shared in response to the survey’s Question#23 — Describe in more Detail Your Floral Palette Prediction.

I have to give a huge congratulations to the many Slow Flowers Survey responses that were spot on about YELLOW. In 2017, Slow Flowers’ Floral Forecast predicted soft yellows in an insight titled: “Beyond Blush.” It has taken four years since then for Pantone to agree! Let me include a few of your comments here so you can congratulate yourself on nailing Pantone’s color declaration for 2021 — an important emerging floral palette we forecasted here years ago!

(c) Missy Palacol Photography

“I’m only wishing. I have lemon chiffon peonies that I would love to see a bump in desire for.”
“Into yellow lately.”
“Cream-mustard; pale yellow. Happy shades.”
“More sunny, happy color.”
“Bright, positive, with an endless summer-like feeling.”
“Pale yellows to golden tones.”
“Yellow is inherently cheery and I think people will want more good cheer. Also, floral designers have been trying to sell clients on yellow and mustard forever — maybe this is our year that clients will finally go for it!”
“Orange or yellow. We need some brightness in 2021!”
“Soft, buttery yellows.”
“Yellow is building momentum! And there are so many shades that blend well with the popular muddy/neutral palettes.”
“Soft, light, buttery yellow.”
“Seeing more demand for yellow flowers.”
“2020 has been a dark year and I think we could all use a little sunshine in our future.”
“Warm yellows — amber, mustard, butter – seen alone or with accents in deeper shades.”
“After the Pandemic, we want LIFE! We will want color and variety. Yellow was a very big color in fashion just before the Pandemic and I think it will be picked up again after.”
“I think the soft yellows and warm golden colors are what we need for 2021! We need a soft glowing hug after 2020!”

Orange & Blue(ish) dial up the palette contrast! (c) Debra Prinzing design and photograph

Clearly, we all love yellow. But of course, we do not want to follow Pantone. Let’s move beyond a single hue and explore what’s coming next:

I predict the most exciting floral palettes will feature Complementary or Contrasting Colors. With color pairs that reside opposite each other on the color wheel — combinations and variations of of course Yellow + Purple, but also interpretations of Red + Green; Orange + Blue.

What do you think of “Opposite Palettes”? A few survey comments jumped out to me in agreement:

“Oranges reaching out in different directions — yellow, reds, or complementary purple.”
“Purples combined with pale yellows, oranges and whites.”
“I find the possibilities with purple are both complimentary and contrasting and love finding those matches.”
“Pink, peach, coral, orange, yellow and then contrasting with blue.”

Red & Green Complements (c) Debra Prinzing design and photograph

What is the key insight here?
Simply, that we live in a colorful floral world and we need to experiment more! And find ways to excite customers and clients with new, shall we say, contrasts and complements, on the horizon!

At the core of it, this insight reinforces the importance of selling color as a much-desired product. Remember, you and your flowers are ready to meet consumers’ hunger for more color in their lives.


#10 Star Quality

From Left: Fleurs de Villes designs by Tobey Nelson and Thomasi Boselawa; Kristen Griffith VanderYacht of Big Flower Fight; Ace Berry, AIFD, PFCI – a finalist on Full Bloom; the Full Bloom judging panel

All of a sudden, miraculously in 2020, celebrity florists are taking center stage alongside chefs and fashion designers!

Whatever you think about floral competition television, seeing flowers and plants in the hands of professional designers on programs like Netflix’s “Big Flower Fight” and HBO’s “Full Bloom” definitely felt validating. We are witnessing flowers – elevated — in mainstream TV programming! That’s news worth celebrating!

I lived vicariously through both programs and was honored to host Big Flower Fight’s head judge Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht as a guest on the Slow Flowers Podcast and profile him for a Florists’ Review cover story earlier this year.

I also enthusiatically rooted for Ace Berry, AIFD, PFCI, another past guest of this podcast, who competed in HBO’s “Full Bloom.” I won’t spoil it for you if you haven’t watched to the finale, but you can learn much more about Ace in Episode 421, originally aired in October 2019.

Nine Slow Flowers members designed floral fashions for the 2020 Fleurs de Villes Exhibit at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival
DESIGN CREDITS (c) samanthasmith.photo for Fleurs de Villes
Top row, from left: Casablanca Floral, Flirty Fleurs and Garden Party Design
Center row, from left: Hazel Landscapes & Design, LORA Bloom, Smashing Petals
Bottom row, from left: Terra Bella Flowers & Mercantile, Tiare Floral Design, Tobey Nelson Weddings & Events

I felt quite the same sense of pride earlier this year when the popular Fleurs de Villes exhibition came to Seattle’s Northwest Flower & Garden Festival. With flowers transformed into wearable fashions displayed on a parade of mannequins — it clearly was the most popular feature of the flower and garden festival. The success of Fleurs de Villes is similar to the buzz created by the two floral competition shows I just mentioned.

I was delighted to interview Karen Marshall and Tina Barkley, the creatives behind Fleurs de Villes – which I called a Bespoke Floral Phenomenon, on the Slow Flowers Podcast this past February.  Much like the response people have when they see the photo shoots of real models wearing botanical couture for our American Flowers Week campaigns that Slow Flowers began commissioning in 2016, the botanical couture on Fleurs de Villes’ three-dimensional mannequins takes floral fashion to a new level. 

What is the magic? I believe that seeing flowers used as an artistic expression ignites the imagination of those who view them. Beyond the sheer scale and beauty of floral installations, massive topiary and botanically-dressed mannequins, flowers are the starting point that connect many consumers with the natural world. And who can argue with that?

For Fleurs de Villes, show-goers were invited to vote for their favorite design. For Big Flower Fight and Full Bloom, viewers rooted for their favorite contestants. There’s buy-in when the audience has a stake in the outcome, and ultimately, more people know more about flowers, which takes us full circle to our Insight #1 — Floral Wellness.

I hope to see all of these floral celebrity projects return to our lives in 2021, but I will offer a vocal plea for one change: Please, No FLORAL FOAM. As we’ve urged the mainstream floral profession for years: please wean yourself from a dependence on foam. Be truly creative and find alternative mechanics to express your art!

It can be done; believe me, we’ve consistently documented no-foam mechanic strategies on this podcast and in our other Slow Flowers channels. For goodness sake’s, even the famed Chelsea Flower Show has declared future exhibitions to be foam-free.


If you’re interested in showing off your own Star Quality, I invite you to join the 2021 American Flowers Week botanical couture creative team. Our creators are Slow Flowers member florists and flower farmers who and produce wearable botanical couture photographed on live models for publication.

On Friday, January 15th, you’re invited to join me for a free webinar and Learn how YOU can participate in American Flowers Week 2021

Hear advice and tips from Slow Flowers member designers and growers! We will discuss how each created an iconic botanical couture look for American Flowers Week, including flower sourcing, model selection and photography. You can join the Webinar to learn whether this opportunity is right for you! The Webinar takes place 9am Pacific/Noon Eastern on Friday, January 15, 2021.


Okay, what an inspiring list of 10 insights! Thank you for reviewing this list with me today. I  want to pause here to marvel at what has happened since I began writing down what I viewed on the horizon for the Slow Flowers movement and its followers and members.

The simple act of speaking, writing and sharing one’s perspective is a personal superpower, one you can also claim, because each of us has an utterly unique world view. While it seems trite to seek out COVID’s “silver linings,” you may find meaningful truths to interpret from the past year’s chaos. Use them as a foundation for your 2021 planning. Yes, you want to make resolutions and set goals. You can also set your Intention. And intention can be our rudder to guide us through choppy waters and uncertain times. That’s clearly what we need in this moment.


Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 800 florists, shops, and studios who design with local, seasonal and sustainable flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2021, Farmgirl Flowers. Farmgirl Flowers delivers iconic burlap-wrapped bouquets and lush, abundant arrangements to customers across the U.S., supporting more than 20 U.S. flower farms by purchasing more than $9 million dollars of U.S.-grown fresh and seasonal flowers and foliage annually, and providing competitive salaries and benefits to 240 team members based in Watsonville, California and Miami, Florida. Discover more at farmgirlflowers.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. Find the full catalog of flower seeds and bulbs at johnnysseeds.com.

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.

The Gardener’s Workshop, which offers a full curriculum of online education for flower farmers and farmer-florists. Online education is more important this year than ever, and you’ll want to check out the course offerings at thegardenersworkshop.com.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 675,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

As our movement gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of our domestic cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too.

I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right at debraprinzing.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:

Heliotrope; Vittoro; Open Flames; Shift of Currents; Surly Bonds; Gaenaby Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

Lovely by Tryad 
http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 485: Slow Flowers’ Holiday Music Special with floral designer-musician Remy Brault of Labellum Flowers and Nest of Seven

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2020

It’s that time again, Welcome to our annual Slow Flowers Holiday Music Special!

Remy Brault, vocalist, songwriter and owner of Labellum in Bozeman, Montana

I’m so happy today to bring you an audio gift of music. Please enjoy my conversation with Bozeman, Montana-based Remy Brault, who with her husband and partner Fred Brault own the contemporary floral boutique Labellum Flowers. The couple originally met through music and formed a singer-songwriting duo called Nest of Seven when they lived and worked in Los Angeles.

Nest of Seven’s album cover

I’ll chat with Remy about how music has influenced her path, how she has taken a long hiaitus away from music, and how she’s finding her way back to music.

We’ll hear three songs from Remy and Fred’s album, “In the Valley of the Red Sparrow,” and more!

Enjoy meeting and hearing from this multi-talented creative! And if you missed my conversation with Remy earlier this year, have a listen here (Episode 459).

Labellum’s home page — reflecting the shop’s many flowers, boutique products and designs

Thank you, Remy, for sharing your musical influences and your floral journey — I wish you a creatively fulfilling 2021! By the way, I continue to be on the lookout for musical guests to feature each December, so if you’re a Slow Flowers member with a song to share (or even an album!), please reach out and let me know!

Here is a list of our past Holiday Music Episodes!

2019: Carolyn Kulb of Folk Art Flowers

2018: Nathan Leach and Eva Leach of Nathan and Eva

2017: Scott and Kristen Prinzing of EarthShine

2016: Ellen Zachos of Backyard Forager

2015: Dennis Westphall of Jello Mold Farm


Next week, on Wednesday, December 30th, the final episode of 2020, I’ll share our 2020 Year in Review with you. On the horizon, the first episode of the New Year, Wednesday, January 6th, will feature our 2021 Slow Flowers Floral Insights and Industry Forecast. I’m so excited to share both of these reports with you as we say goodbye to 2020 and eagerly anticipate 2021.


The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 670,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

As our movement gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of our domestic cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too. 2020 has been a challenging year for all of us and we have continued to deliver fresh, original content to you through the Slow Flowers Podcast, week in and week out — since 2013!

If every listener contributes just $2, the funds will add up quickly to cover our out-of-pocket costs to record, edit, host and promote the Slow Flowers Podcast. Would you consider making a year-end donation?

Not counting all of the time invested in developing the topics, guests and content, we spend more than $10k annually to bring you this award-winning internet radio program. Your financial support can ensure we continue into 2021. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column in the right column!


Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to florists, shops, and studios who design with local, seasonal and sustainable flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

Longfield Gardens, which 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. Check out the full catalog at Longfield Gardens at longfield-gardens.com.

Rooted Farmers works exclusively with local growers to put the highest-quality specialty cut flowers in floral customers’ hands. When you partner with Rooted Farmers, you are investing in your community, and you can expect a commitment to excellence in return. Learn more at RootedFarmers.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 shop.syndicatesales.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:

Victory Day; Red Sparrow; and Release
From “In the Valley of the Red Sparrow,” by Nest of Seven

Dance Of Felt; Turning on the Lights; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

Lovely by Tryad 
http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 484: Recap from the 2020 Young Farmers & Cooks Conference – The Regional Flower Economy: Flower Farming as a Viable and Profitable Facet of Agriculture

Wednesday, December 16th, 2020
The Regional Flower Economy panelists, clockwise from top left: Julius Tillery of Black Cotton US, Taij Cotten & VC (Victoria) Edwards-Cotten of Perry-winkle Farm, Julio Freitas of The Flower Hat and Aishah Lurry of Patagonia Flower Farm

Two weeks ago, you heard from Shannon Algiere and Jessica Galen as we discussed the 2020 Young Farmers & Cooks Conference, held last week as a virtual event attracting more than one thousand attendees. Shannon and Jessica shared the story of Stone Barn Center for Food & Agriculture and gave us a preview of the conference. I want to thank Shannon, a Slow Flowers member, Stone Barns Center’s resident flower growing expert, farm liaison manager and co-director of the Arts & Ecology Lab for inviting me to gather together and moderate a flower-focused panel — and I’d like to share the audio of that presentation with you today episode.

You’ll hear from four Slow Flowers members each of whom discussed her or his unique approach to agricultural entrepreneurship. They include Aishah Lurry, Patagonia Flower Farm, Julio Freitas, The Flower Hat, Taij Cotten and VC (Victoria) Edwards-Cotten, Perry-winkle Farm, and Julius Tillery, Black Cotton U.S.
As I said at the beginning of our panel, clearly, I am not a YOUNG FARMER, but through my passion for the Slow Flowers Movement I hope to shine a light on several of our members: flower farming pioneers you’ll meet today.

VC and Taij with flowers and little Titus in a baby pack

Taij & Victoria (VC) Cotten, of Perry-winkle Farm in Pittsboro, North Carolina

After responding to a Craigslist ad for Valentine’s Day in 2017 at Preston Flower Shop, Taij and Victoria were hooked on flowers. They quit their jobs and traveled North Carolina’s Piedmont farming region, talking with any farmer that had time for them. They quickly realized they wanted to farm. 

Above left: Michael Perry and Cathy Jones with Taij & VC Cotten; the Cotten children above right

Now farming alongside their mentors and “farm-ily,” Michael Perry and Cathy Jones of Perry-winkle Farm, the young couple helps sustainably farm 4 acres in Northern Chatham County, North Carolina, specializing in seasonal vegetables, specialty cut flowers and pasture laying hens. Perry-winkle farm attends 3 regional farmers’ markets: Fearrington Village (a seasonal market) and 2 Carrboro Farmers markets (one seasonal and one year round). Taij and Victoria reside in Chatham County, NC with their two adorable, flower-loving children: Carleigh (6) and Titus (1)

I first met Taij and Victoria at the 2018 Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers annual conference in Raleigh, when destiny made sure we were seated together at the same banquet table. I’ve been following their adventures on social media ever since and am delighted to welcome them today.

Find and follow Perry-winkle Farm and Taij & Victoria

Perry-winkle Farm on Facebook

Perry-winkle Farm on Instagram

Taij & Victoria on Instagram


Julius Tillery of Black Cotton U.S.

Julius Tillery, founder and CEO of Black Cotton U.S. Julius is the NC State Coordinator for the Black Family Land Trust. He is a 5th Generation life-long row crop commodities producer (cotton, soybeans, peanuts) from Northeastern, North Carolina. He has worked as an advocate and resource provider in the North Carolina agriculture and environmental sectors since 2009. Julius has also worked at Rural Advancement Foundation international and The Conservation Fund. He currently serves on the Southern Administrative Council for SARE (that’s the Sustainable Agriculture, Research and Education Council) and the North Carolina Forestry Advisory Council.

Black Cotton U.S. branding and product selection

Julius is a rural economic development advocate and is also known for his entrepreneurial business role as Founder of BlackCotton U.S. You can find Julius anywhere between his farm working on producing crops, on another farmer’s farm helping consult with new enterprise development, or any meeting that is focused on improving the lives of farmers and farming communities across the USA. Julius is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in Economics and minor in Entrepreneurship in 2008.

Find and follow Black Cotton U.S.

Follow Black Cotton U.S. on Facebook

Follow Black Cotton U.S. on Instagram


Aishah Lurry of Patagonia Flower Farm

Aishah Lurry, founder and CEO of Patagonia Flower Farms based in Patagonia, Arizona. She is an artistic florist who combines her love for water-wise and organic farming techniques to produce affordable, healthy, and fresh-cut flowers.

Aishah Lurry designing with flowers she grows in the high desert area of Arizona

As a gardener who began her flower farming career in 2017, Aishah started her micro-farm on her home’s property after getting tired of driving 20miles out of town to buy overpriced and imported flowers that she didn’t like. By merging her expertise and knowledge of crop planning, propagation, harvesting, drying, and arranging, Aishah was able to turn her beloved hobby into a thriving business that celebrates eco-consciousness and the local economy. 

A selection of Patagonia Flower Farm varieties

Aishah has taught several classes about sprouts, micro-greens, and propagation and today serves with Borderlands Restoration Network to further its native species and public education programs.

She considers her flowers a local, affordable, and well-deserved luxury. Each flower in Aishah’s hand-picked bouquets are lovingly grown to ensure health, vibrancy, and longevity of the ingredients.

Find and follow Patagonia Flower Farm

Patagonia Flower Farm on Facebook

Patagonia Flower Farm on Instagram

Listen to our past Slow Flowers Podcast episode with Aishah Lurry of Patagonia Flower Farm


Julio’s armfuls of flowers is a joyous and infectious expression of local flowers.

And finally Julio Freitas, owner of The Flower Hat. The Flower Hat is a floral design studio and flower farm nestled in the beautiful mountains of Gallatin Valley in Bozeman, Montana. The Studio is headed by internationally published designer Julio Freitas, whose design style embraces the seasons to create a loose, natural aesthetic that has graced hundreds of events, including many high profile and celebrity weddings.

Julio with his popular dahlia crop

In an attempt to provide his clients with the best blooms, Julio decided to incorporate a Flower Farming component to the business operation. He started his growing operations on 1,800 sq ft and quickly leased ¼ acre plot for a few years, where he was able to grow and harvest thousands of flowers by using high intensity techniques. These locally grown flowers are truly the treasures that make his designs so spectacular.

Today, The Flower Hat is a thriving company that stays busy during the summer with weddings, selling flowers to florists and wholesalers. The company is also known for its coveted dahlia tubers that sell out in a matter of minutes that go on sale on February 1, 2020. Julio regularly hosts on-farm summer workshop intensive that go deep into the business model that makes The Flower Hat such a successful little company. The classes combine hand-on floral design experience, the business behind weddings and events and small scale flower farming.

Julio also finds room in his schedule to share everything he knows with others through floral design demonstrations as well as presentations about his high-intensity flower farming techniques on his Facebook Group The Flower Hat Exchange.

Find and follow The Flower Hat

The Flower Hat on Facebook

The Flower Hat on Instagram

Listen to our past Slow Flowers Podcast episode with Julio Freitas of The Flower Hat

Flowers grown and designed by Julio Freitas of The Flower Hat

I posed three questions for discussion:
1. First, I asked each panelist to share an overview of their floral enterprise. Who they are, what do they produce/grow? where are they located and how long have they been farming.

2. Next, we talked about how flowers are part of their farm’s business model, how they sell and what market do they serve?

3. Finally, why flowers? Why grow flowers instead of food OR why integrate flowers in into a food-growing operation


Thanks so much for joining us today. What a great session. We did have some audio and technical challenges, so I promise to bring Julius Tillery from Black Cotton U.S. for a full episode in the near future, and I hope to also host a longer podcast conversation with Taij and Victoria.

Coming up, we have just two more episodes for 2020. Next week, on December 23rd, is our annual Slow Flowers Holiday Music Special Episode, featuring the talents of a Slow Flowers member whose life is influenced by both music and flowers. And on Wednesday, December 30th, the final episode of 2020, I’ll share our Year in Review with you. On the horizon, the first episode of 2021 will feature our 2021 Slow Flowers Floral Insights and Industry Forecast.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 669,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

Asking for your Support

Tulips in the #slowflowerscuttinggarden from Longfield Gardens (c) Missy Palacol Photography

As our movement gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of our domestic cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too. 2020 has been a challenging year for all of us and we have continued to deliver fresh, original content to you through the Slow Flowers Podcast, week in and week out — since 2013!

Not counting all of the time invested in developing the topics, guests and content, we spend more than $10k annually to bring you this award-winning internet radio program. Your financial support can ensure we continue into 2021. If every listener contributes just $2, those funds would add up quickly to cover our out-of-pocket costs to record, edit, host and promote the Slow Flowers Podcast. Would you consider making a year-end donation? I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right at debraprinzing.com

Thank you to our Sponsors!

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, nationwide online directory to florists, shops, and studios who design with local, seasonal and sustainable flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

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. Visit them at seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.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.

The Gardener’s Workshop, which offers a full curriculum of online education for flower farmers and farmer-florists. Online education is more important this year than ever, and you’ll want to check out the course offerings at thegardenersworkshop.com.

I am in love with my greenhouse, designed and built sustainably by Oregon-based NW Green Panels (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:

Open Flames; Turning on the Lights; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

Lovely by Tryad 
http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 482: All about the 2020 Young Farmers & Cooks Conference and Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020
Jessica Galen (left) and Shannon Algiere (right) – two of the leaders at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture

I’m really excited for this week’s episode – and happy to introduce you to my two guests, Shannon Algiere co-founder of the farm at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture and currently the Farm Liaison manager, and Jessica Galen, Stone Barn’s Communications Manager.

I’ve invited them to give us a snapshot of the history and work of Stone Barns Center and then we’ll preview the upcoming Young Farmers & Cooks Conference, a three-day, all-virtual event produced and hosted by Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture and Blue Hill at Stone Barns Restaurant on December 8-10. That’s coming right up next week and you’ll want to take advantage of the extremely affordable pricing to register. 

This is an important conference about sustainable farming and food systems, and yes, the subject of Floral and Fiber Agriculture has a role.

Our fabulous Slow Flowers panel, clockwise from top left: Julius Tillery, Taij & VC Cotten, Julio Frietas and Aishah Lurry

On Wednesday, December 9th (8:30 am Pacific/11:30 am Eastern), I’ll be moderating a panel called  The Regional Flower Economy: Flower Farming as a Viable and Profitable Facet of Agriculture, featuring a fantastic lineup of Slow Flowers members. They include Aishah Lurry, Patagonia Flower Farm, Julio Freitas, The Flower Hat, Taij Cotton and VC (Victoria) Edwards-Cotten, Perry-winkle Farm, and Julius Tillery, Black Cotton U.S.

Whether you’re a farmer, cook, butcher, miller, preservationist, processor, or anyone else in the food (and floral) chain, this conference is for you. 

Here’s a bit more about Jessica and Shannon ~

Jessica Galen is the communications director at Stone Barns Center. In this role she manages relationships with the media and partner organizations, and provides editorial support for programming for young farmers and other key audiences.

She launched her career in branding and communications at a nonprofit consulting firm and an education reform organization. While in graduate school at NYU for a M.A. in Food Studies she worked in the cheese caves at Murray’s Cheese as well as for an organic produce farm and a raw farmstead cheesemaker. She served as the general manager at Lucy’s Whey, then the Upper East Side’s largest artisanal cheese shop, and as wholesale director at New York Shuk, a small-batch producer of Israeli and North African pantry items.

Jessica published an article in the Graduate Journal of Food Studies based on her Master’s thesis entitled “Cheesemongers Over Fearmongers: Toward Data-Driven Cheese Recommendations for Pregnant Women” and was a contributor to the James Beard Award-winning “Oxford Companion to Cheese.” She is on the Advisory Board of Equity Advocates, which provides policy education, advocacy training, and coalition building services to improve healthy food access in urban communities. In addition to her Master’s degree, she has a B.A. From Harvard University in Yiddish and Latin American Studies.

Shannon Algiere, a co-founder of the farm at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture brings over 20 years of experience in holistic farm design, crops production, garden and greenhouse management and farm-based education. Alongside her husband Jack Algiere, Shannon has served many roles at Stone Barns Center in its development.

Most recently as Farm Liaison Manager, Shannon partnered with the center’s farm and programs staff to oversee farmer training, internships and volunteer programming.

She attended University of Rhode Island, was an outdoor educator at the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center, Greenhouse Manager at Meadowbrook Biodynamic Herb Farm and White Gate Farm, and a volunteer for the Costa Rican National Park Service.

In 2017 Shannon started a floral design and horticultural services business, Potter & Prune, promoting sustainable models in the floral design industry by celebrating the elegance and ecology of connecting regional grower economies with event design. She has taught workshops on growing and marketing cut flowers at NOFA, SBC’s Young Farmer’s Conference, and Oregon State University Small Farms conference. She has also written articles and been interviewed for her work at the intersection of farming and health and wellness. Along with her husband Jack, Shannon is raising two boys and serves on the board of Hearthfire and  Ayer’s Foundation.

Find and follow Shannon on Instagram here

Find and follow Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture on Instagram here

I hope you’re inspired to register and join the Young Farmers and Cooks Conference, taking place next week, December 8-10th. You can attend the conference for just $25 and you’ll be wowed by the program offerings and speakers.

UPDATE: We’ve just received a $10 off coupon code from Young Farmers and Cooks Conference! When you register, use: YFCCPROMO

You may have heard Jessica mention that the conference is being built around an anti-racist frame, and we fully support these values. When Shannon and her colleagues first approached me to curate a Slow Flowers panel, they explained that sessions are designed in a way that will honor the contributions of Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color throughout history who have shaped the agricultural and culinary topic the program addresses. Programs within the Young Farmers and Cooks Conference are designed to acknowledge the historical and cultural significance of topics; acknowledge and serve the diverse, international audience that will participate; and give space for voices and perspectives that have often been overlooked or underrepresented, especially in the realm of sustainable agriculture. Additionally, no panel will feature only white or male presenters.

And speaking of panels, in addition to our panel on the Regional Flower Economy, here are some of the other presentations I’m excited about:
Beauty in Food: Incorporating Edible Flowers in the Kitchen
Over time, the farm at Stone Barns Center has developed a robust flow of floral materials from greenhouse, fields, pastures and gardens into the creative hands of artisan chefs at the on-site Blue Hill Restaurant. This panel features demonstrations and encouragement on incorporating the beauty of flowers into dishes, beverages and cakes, presented by growers and artisan makers as they share tips, variety suggestions and artistic technique.
Bones, Pigments, Paper and Process
This panel introduces three artists applying ecological consciousness to their work and craft. They will take us through their process of land acknowledgement and working with land based materials as well as the steps that transform those materials into cultural objects. 
Natural Dyes for Farmers and Cooks
How can natural dyes both connect us to our complicated histories and serve as a teaching tool? From the blemish of African enslavement to grow both cotton and indigo in the United States to modern textile practices that demand speed and slave wages, we have never gotten textiles right for people and planet. So what are we going to do about it and what are the most logical, equitable and environmental next steps? Join us for a discussion with four leading voices in the natural dye world.
Seed Companies, COVID-19, and Our Fragile Foodshed   
Seeds are a critical first node in every food supply chain, so the people who run seed companies have a unique vantage point when major disruptions occur. The COVID-19 shutdowns led to the same sort of panic buying of seeds as happened in supermarkets with food. This huge increase in demand forced some seed companies to temporarily shut down or curtail operations as seed stocks diminished and experienced workers became harder to muster (with fears of the virus keeping many workers home). Now seed inventories are depleted, demand is higher than ever, and companies are struggling to maintain the diversity and quality of seed their customers expect. At the same time, most companies sold much more seed in 2020 than anticipated, leading to unexpected financial windfalls that allow for expansion, growth, and special projects. This panel features seed luminaries from a range of different companies, each offering their particular perspective and plans for moving forward into an uncertain future.  

I hope you’re as inspired as I am. What a great opportunity to expand our understanding  of sustainable agriculture at the intersection of art and design! Let’s all strive to be Food AND Flower System Changemakers!

Thank you to our sponsors

As our movement gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the Slow Flowers Movement, 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.

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, nationwide online directory to florists, shops, and studios who design with local, seasonal and sustainable flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

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. Visit them at seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.com.

Longfield Gardens, which 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. Check out the full catalog at Longfield Gardens at longfield-gardens.com.

Rooted Farmers works exclusively with local growers to put the highest-quality specialty cut flowers in floral customers’ hands. When you partner with Rooted Farmers, you are investing in your community, and you can expect a commitment to excellence in return. Learn more at RootedFarmers.com.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 664,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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:

Glass Beads; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

Lovely by Tryad 
http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 479: Branding the Sustainable Floral Business with Pilar Zuniga of Berkeley’s Gorgeous and Green

Wednesday, November 11th, 2020
Pilar Zuniga of Gorgeous and Green – all photography (c) Lauren Edith Anderson

In 2013, during the first year of the Slow Flowers Podcast, I interviewed a young floral designer from the San Francisco East Bay who at the time was one of the only voices talking about sustainable design practices. I called her “Berkeley’s Eco-Floral Maven” and said this: “Pilar Zuniga is blazing a new trail and is the TRUE definition of a LOCAL FLORIST. She has a hometown, Main Street flower shop that goes the full distance to source from local flower farms in her own backyard.”

Remember, this was in the early days of Instagram. When it came to visually exciting storytelling, at least online, individual bloggers still reigned. As early as 2008 when she launched Gorgeous and Green as an event floral business, and later as a local Berkeley retail floral and gift store (2010-2016), Zuniga used her blog to write about sustainability concerns, including chemical-free design techniques and mechanics. “I don’t use sprays, glues or floral foam at all,” she explains.

Seasonal and sustainable floral design by Gorgeous and Green

Today, Instagram is home to Pilar’s online presence, where followers are drawn to her vibrant aesthetic, often portrayed against a distinctive turquoise-teal wall, a color rarely found in flowers.

The flowers and foliage she selects are locally grown, and when available, are organic or non-sprayed as well.  Gorgeous and Green supports local growers and farms who are doing their best to continue to keep local crops available in the Bay Area.

A floral palette as colorful as its designer

I’m so pleased to welcome Pilar Zuniga as a return guest to the Slow Flowers Podcast. I really can’t believe that seven years have transpired since early listeners of this show met her. You’re in for a treat, but as a bonus, here is the link to her first appearance in Episode 116, from November 2013) and a link to the feature about Gorgeous and Green that I wrote for the November 2019 issue of Florists’ Review.

An early “green” service: Flowers delivered by bicycle a la Pedal Express

Before we get started, here’s a bit more about Pilar Zuniga, excerpted from her web site:

A California Native, Pilar came to the Bay area to attend UC Berkeley.  Her interests then and now include biology, art and culture. She is fond of painting, drawing, ceramics, sewing and embroidery, remaking old things, finding vintage goods, gardening and ballet. She is a feminist, a Latina and a colorful individual who loves dogs and smiles often.  Her floral design is born out of a desire to be creative and to support a local movement of flower growers.

Find and follow Gorgeous and Green at these social places:

Gorgeous and Green on Facebook

Gorgeous and Green on Instagram

Gorgeous and Green on Pinterest

Thank you so much for joining this lovely and uplifting conversation with a kindred spirit – one who is a role model for how to honor your mission and values through the way you build your business.

You are in for a real treat next June, because Pilar is one of the featured presenters at the 2021 Slow Flowers Summit, taking place June 28-30, 2021 at Filoli, in Woodside, California. We will soon resume promotion and registration for the postponed 4th annual Slow Flowers Summit and I’m thrilled that our host venu, Filoli, has done everything right to accommodate a safe, socially-distanced experience.

Pilar will present: BRANDING THE SUSTAINABLE FLORAL BUSINESS

She will discuss building an enduring brand around sustainable design and using her studio and  platform to advocate for beautiful sustainability, including chemical-free design techniques and mechanics. You’ll learn more about how Pilar’s personal values have shaped Gorgeous and Green’s brand and mission in the marketplace. And, you’ll be wowed as she demonstrates her signature floral style using all-local botanical elements.

In our show notes, you’ll find a link to more details about the Summit, and to sign up for notices as we roll out an expanded speaker lineup, COVID-safe policies and more.

And a Podcast post-script. I’m recording the intro for today’s episode on Sunday, November 8th. In the U.S., we have endured a long, drawn out and agonizing political season, and I’m so pleased with the result of the presidential ticket that prevailed. Joe Biden is our president-elect and Kamala Harris, our vice president-elect, the first woman, the first Black woman and the first person of Asian descent to be elected to this office. I am exhaling, and I’ve heard from so many of you who are doing the same. If you didn’t support the Biden-Harris ticket, my wish for you is to have an open-mind, and to join me in a pledge to listen, speak my own truth, and show compassion for all humans.

Slow Flowers is committed to sustainability in all its forms, including sustaining dignity, equity and inclusion for people like us and not like us.

Stacy Brenner of Broadturn Farm, Maine’s new State Senator & Flower Farmer!

And, as long as we’re talking about elections, we want to congratulate Slow Flowers member and recent guest of this podcast, Stacy Brenner of Broadturn Farm in Scarborough, Maine. On November 3, Stacy posted this message on social media: I’m so grateful to announce that the voters in Buxton, Gorham, and Scarborough have voted for me to be the next State Senator for our district. I congratulate my opponent on a well-run campaign, and I promise to do my very best for our community in Augusta. Congratulations to Maine’s newest state senator and flower farmer, Stacy Brenner!

It’s time to announce two giveaways:

The winner of complimentary registration to Ellen Frost’s new online workshop — Growing Your Business with Local Flower Sourcing is: Zoe Dellinger of Dell Acres Farm and Greenhouse in Edinburg, Virginia! Congratulations, Zoe. You’ll hear from Ellen Frost with all the details very soon!

And congratulations to Amy Stoker of Lucky Bee Cut Flowers of Longmont, Colorado! As one of more than 200 respondents of our annual Slow Flowers member survey, your name was randomly selected for the BIG PRIZE — full registration to the 2021 Slow Flowers Summit, valued at $599. You’ll get to meet us at Filoli in late June, and meet Pilar Zuniga, today’s podcast guest in person! We’ll be sharing the insights from the member survey in the coming months — it was a huge success with more than 25% member participation.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 657,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

As our 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 column to the right.

Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, nationwide online directory to florists, shops, and studios who design with American-grown flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

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.

Longfield Gardens, which 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. Check out the full catalog at Longfield Gardens at longfield-gardens.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. Visit them at seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.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:

Lanky; Molly Molly; Turning on the Lights; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

Lovely by Tryad 
http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 478 Portland Wedding Designer Joy Proctor on creating the Say Their Names Memorial + a Bonus Conversation with Karen Thornton of Avenue 22 Events

Wednesday, November 4th, 2020
Joy Proctor, Joy Proctor Design

I’m so honored today to welcome Portland wedding designer Joy Proctor, owner of Joy Proctor Design. Joy is internationally-recognized and named a top wedding designer by Harper’s Bazaar and Bride’s Magazine.

The first Say Their Names Memorial was installed in Portland, Oregon, where Joy is based
(c) Jessica G. Mangia Photography
Joy Proctor’s activism has sparked a grassroots effort to honor the lives lost to racial injustice (c) Jessica G. Mangia Photography

In June, Joy and a group of friends, artists, designers and craftspeople came together in a grassroots effort to create the first Say Their Names Memorial in Portland, Oregon.

The photographic and floral tribute used art to honor hundreds of Black men, women and young people whose lives were taken unjustly by systemic racism and racial injustice. It was first installed on June 19th, also known as Juneteenth or Freedom Day, a holiday celebrating the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States.

Joy Proctor at the Kirkland, Wash., Say Their Names Memorial
(c) Morgan Petroski Photography

The “Say Their Name Memorial” has grown into a nationwide initiative and it has been put up in over 25 locations nationwide since then. Joy’s aim is to use the memorial to facilitate conversation around systemic racism while honoring those whose lives have been taken by it.   

Say Their Names Memorial at Germany Park in Dallas, spearheaded by Bows & Arrows Flowers (c) N. Barrett Photography

I also want to acknowledge the amazing work and passion of Dallas creatives Alicia and Adam Rico, fellow wedding designer friends and colleagues of Joy’s, and Slow Flowers members who own Bows & Arrows Flowers. I first learned the Say Their Names Memorial project through their efforts in Dallas, Austin and other communities. 

Corporate Event Planner and Slow Flowers Operations, Membership and Events Manager Karen Thornton of Avenue 22 Events (c) Missy Palacol Photography

You’ll also meet a second guest, Karen Thornton of the Slow Flowers team, who was inspired to bring the Say Their Names Memorial to the Seattle Area. On October 20th, Karen and I finally met Joy, her sister Elise Proctor and their colleague Stacy Feder when they drove from Portland to Kirkland, outside Seattle, to spend a day lending their support to the local production.  

For this Podcast, I’ve invited Joy and Karen to speak about this project and share how they, as passionate and gifted wedding and corporate event professionals, respectively, are using beauty and art to raise awareness, change attitudes and protest injustice in their communities and beyond.  

A photo shoot for Flutter Magazine, designed by Joy Proctor (c) Jose Villa, with florals by Amy Osaba Events

Before we get started, here’s more about Joy Proctor:

Since starting in the wedding business in 2007, Joy’s reputation and projects have led to her current reputation as one of the most highly sought after creative directors in the world, known for producing original, inventive concepts. She has designed for many brands and publications in search of new, beautiful and innovative ideas. From concept to creation, Joy and her team produce visual campaigns, branded content and editorial features for elegant and discerning clientele. As a well regarded prop and photo stylist, Joy is known for the styling of details for photo and prestigious publications. 

Joy served as creative director and designer for “The Beauty of Rice,” an editorial photo shoot in Thailand (c) D’arcy Benincosa

With the aim of styling everything like it were a magazine feature, she takes photo design very seriously, creating a timeline, shot list and production plan to ensure the best shots. 

She provides props and backgrounds to perfectly capture the client’s design in its best light.  

Joy’s styling work appears on the cover of the first Style Me Pretty book, Style Me Pretty Weddings

She has designed and styled weddings and events in Madagascar, Italy, Provence, France, the resort town of telluride, the Cotswolds, Thailand and beyond.

Joy planned and designed the 2019 wedding of Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas (c) Corbin Gurkin

Find and follow Joy Proctor at these social places:

Joy Proctor Design on Instagram

Joy Proctor Design on Facebook

Joy Proctor Design on Pinterest

Thousands have witnessed the memorial tributes to lives lost to systemic racism across our country. What Joy’s story reveals is the power of a single idea, and the potential of community grassroots action.

Say Their Names Memorial web site

Say Their Names Memorial on Instagram

Karen Thornton of Avenue 22 Events at the Kirkland, Wash., Say Their Names Memorial
(c) Morgan Petroski Photography

Next up, I want to share a short interview with my dear friend and colleague Karen Thornton, owner of Seattle-based Avenue 22 Events. Karen has served as Slow Flowers’ event manager since 2018 and in 2020, she assumed our operations and membership.

Hundreds of beautiful black-and-white portraits honored with individual floral tributes (c) Morgan Petroski Photography in Kirkland, Washington

You’ll hear more about the Kirkland, Washington, Say Their Names Memorial, which continues on display through November. You are invited to view the Memorial where portraits and flowers are on display at six places of worship across the community of Kirkland:

Memorial Locations
Holy Spirit Lutheran Church, 10021 NE 124th St, Kirkland, WA 98034
Kirkland Congregational United Church of Christ, 106 5th Ave, Kirkland, WA 98033
Lake Washington Christian Church, 343 15th Ave, Kirkland, WA 98033
Lake Washington United Methodist Church, 7525 132nd Ave. NE, Kirkland, WA 98033
Northlake Unitarian Universalist Church, 308 4th Ave. S, Kirkland, WA 98033
Saint John’s Episcopal Church, 105 State St., Kirkland, WA 98033

In her consulting business, Karen brings a distinctive and comprehensive skill set to event planning and management. Her background in experience design and business consulting and her ability to execute on detailed logistics help ensure satisfying, meaningful events. Karen deeply understands how to develop engaging programs and invests the effort to ensure that all the event details are in place. From visioning and honing objectives to budget management and marketing to selecting the venue and securing vendors, Karen confidently, competently does it all.

Find and follow Avenue 22 Events:

Avenue 22 Events on Instagram

Here is a list of resources and supporters for the Kirkland Say Their Names Memorial. Thank you!

Photography

Morgan Petroski Photography @morgpetphoto 

Graphic Design and Sign Printing

Blue Ink @blueinkcreates   

Printing (Portraits)

Woodinville Print             

Flowers Provided and Procured by:

Slow Flowers @myslowflowers

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market @seattlewholesalegrowersmarket

Floressence @floressencellc

Lora Bloom @lorabloom.flowers

Flori @flori.flowers

Bad Weather Farm @badweatherurbanfarm

Hazel Designscapes @hazeldesignscapes

Rentals (tables, tents)

Grand Event Rentals @grandeventrentals  

Catering + Sweets (for volunteers day-of)

Anonymous

Lady Yum @ladyyum   


Thanks so so much for being present with me for these two important conversations. It means so much that Slow Flowers as a community provides these diverse channels for advocacy, education, outreach and activism.

And the conversation will continue, of course, as we move into 2021.

It’s your final chance to enter the generous course giveaway offered by last week’s guest Ellen Frost of Local Color Flowers. Ellen is giving a complimentary registration to her new online workshop — Growing Your Business with Local Flower Sourcing to one listener of the Slow Flowers Podcast. The six-week course begins January 4, 2021 and the course value is $495. What a generous giveaway! To enter, make a comment in the show notes at debraprinzing.com for episode 477 (and be sure to listen to my conversation with Ellen while there)  — and tell us one of your favorite ways to source locally-grown flowers. All comments posted by midnight Pacific on Sunday, November 8th will be entered into a random drawing for Ellen’s course. And for everyone, click on this link to sign up for notifications when registration opens Nov. 16-20. I’m excited for the winner already!

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 655,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

As our 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 column to the right.

Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, nationwide online directory to florists, shops, and studios who design with American-grown flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

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. Find the full catalog of flower seeds and bulbs at johnnysseeds.com.

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.

The Gardener’s Workshop, which offers a full curriculum of online education for flower farmers and farmer-florists. Online education is more important this year than ever, and you’ll want to check out the course offerings at thegardenersworkshop.com.


(c) Mary Grace Long 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:

Basketliner; Bridgewalker; Donnalee; Turning on the Lights; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

Lovely by Tryad 
http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 477: Growing Your Business with Local Flower Sourcing with Ellen Frost of Local Color Flowers and Lisa Ziegler of The Gardener’s Workshop

Wednesday, October 28th, 2020
You can see Sarah’s 50-foot-long floral V-O-T-E display at 329 North Cherry Strees (along Hwy 20) in Burlington, Washington (c) Sara Welch Photo Co.

Before we jump into today’s main segment, I want to recognize that Election Day in the U.S. is coming up in just six days on November 3rd. I’ve been wowed by the creative gestures of floral activism from our Slow Flowers members around the country. I’ve invited one of those members to share what she’s doing in her community as a bonus interview. Let’s jump right in and meet Sarah Wagstaff of SUOT Farm & Flowers In Burlington, Washington.

This indeed has been a year in which I’m acutely aware that my business, career and personal acts need more meaning to reflect my values. I hope you find Sarah’s floral VOTE message as encouraging as I do.


Ellen Frost of Local Color Flowers in Baltimore, Maryland

Okay, let’s jump right into today’s wonderful conversation with Ellen Frost of Local Color Flowers and Lisa Ziegler of The Gardener’s Workshop.

Both women are past guests of the Slow Flowers Podcast, so I’ve added links to their earlier appearances in today’s show notes. And full disclosure, The Gardener’s Workshop is a financial supporter of Slow Flowers and we consider its founder Lisa Ziegler an important partner in furthering our mission in the Slow Flowers Movement.

When Lisa told me that she recruited Ellen to create an online business course to help florists learn her unique flower sourcing approach, I knew this was an important topic for the Slow Flowers Community. I’ve asked them to talk about their project today. The course is called “Growing Your Business with Local Flower Sourcing.”

And guess what?! We have another course giveaway today! Ellen is giving away a complimentary registration to her new online workshop. “Growing Your Business with Local Flower Sourcing,” is a six-week course that begins January 4, 2021. Valued at $495, this is a generous giveaway! For listeners of this Podcast, be sure to make a comment in the show notes below — and tell us one of your favorite ways to source locally-grown flowers. All comments posted by midnight Pacific on Sunday, November 8th will be entered into a random drawing for Ellen’s course. Click on the link below to sign up for notifications when registration opens Nov. 16-20. I’m excited for the winner already!

Here’s a bit more about Ellen Frost:

Ellen Frost loves flowers. Even more, she loves owning and operating a flower studio which exclusively sources local flowers. Ellen founded her company, Local Color Flowers, in 2008 as a part-time wedding floral business to provide Baltimore area couples a more sustainable flower option for their celebrations. Over the past 12 years, Ellen has grown Local Color Flowers into a thriving business adding floral design classes, corporate events, subscriptions, and retail as well as creative social and educational community events – all using 100% locally grown flowers. Ellen’s business is a vital contributor to Baltimore’s local economy and a vibrant community resource. 

Here is the outline for “Growing Your Business with Local Flower Sourcing”
Class 1 — Landscape of the Cut Flower Industry
Class 2 — Why Local Flowers: Motivations, Definitions and Goals
Class 3 — Building Relationships With Local Growers
Class 4 — Logistics of Local Flowers
Class 5 — Differentiating, Marketing and Selling Local Flowers
Class 6 — Making Your Business An Indispensable Community Asset

Local Color Flowers on Slow Flowers Podcast
Episode 163 (October 15, 2014)

Find and follow Local Color Flowers at these social places:
Local Color Flowers on Facebook
Local Color Flowers on Instagram

Lisa Ziegler at The Gardener’s Workshop Farm in Newport News, Virginia

Here’s a bit more about Lisa Ziegler:

What began as a small cut-flower farm producing for local markets has grown into so much more. Lisa has become a leader in the cut-flower growing industry, author, accomplished speaker, teacher, and the owner of The Gardener’s Workshop.

Lisa is the author of Cool Flowers in 2014 (St. Lynn’s Press) and Vegetables Love Flowers (Cool Springs Press 2018.)

In 2018 Lisa began creating online courses to share her programs and knowledge. This style of teaching with its convenience, cost effectiveness, and lifetime unlimited access has proven to be another wonderful educational tool. In 2019, embracing technology even further and building an amazing in-house administration and support team has allowed Lisa to produce online courses for others.

Lisa’s farm, known as The Gardener’s Workshop is still a small market flower farm (100% outdoor field grown), and an online garden shop. The online store sells the same seeds, tools, supplies, and seed starting equipment that Lisa uses as well as signed copies of her books.  Lisa’s simple, instructive, and delightful gardening messages are reaching far beyond any expectation she ever had.

The Gardener’s Workshop on Slow Flowers Podcast
Episode 159 (September 14, 2014)
Episode 391 (March 6, 2019)

Find and follow The Gardener’s Workshop at these social places:
The Gardener’s Workshop on Facebook
The Gardener’s Workshop on Instagram


Announcements

This is the final week you can sign up for my first online course, Slow Flowers Creative Workshop: Floral Storytelling. The course begins November 1st and you can take advantage of the $200-off introductory promo code, meaning you can enjoy this course for just $97. Sign up here and use SF97 for the discount. I’m excited to see you in the course!

And Head’s Up: This is the final week to participate in the 2021 Slow Flowers Member Survey. We will close the survey link and end the giveaway promotions on October 31st, midnight Pacific Time. To thank you for sharing your time to take the survey, we’d like to send you an etched Slow Flowers Society botanical bookmark – and enter your name into the drawing for one free registration to the 2021 Slow Flowers Summit, valued at $599! But you must give us your name and contact information to receive the bookmark and enter the drawing — if you choose to respond anonymously, we can’t bestow our gifts! Click here to complete the survey.

Quick announcement before we get started. Last week, we promoted a giveaway for one VIP Pass to the Fleurvana Virtual Summit – Holiday Edition, taking place online this week through today. The winner is a Podcast listener and aspiring flower farmer: Jenni Hulburt, a wellness coach and host of The WILD Wellness Podcast. Congratulations, Jenni! And thanks to Shawn Michael Foley of Fleurvana! Click on this link to purchase your own VIP All-Access Pass to the conference. You’ll enjoy more than 25 floral design and business presentations, including my new session called Taking Stock: Writing your 2020 Year in Review & 2021 Forecast with Creative Intention.

Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, nationwide online directory to florists, shops, and studios who design with American-grown flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

And thank you to Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. Read our stories at slowflowersjournal.com.

Longfield Gardens, which 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. Check out the full catalog at Longfield Gardens at longfield-gardens.com.

Rooted Farmers, which works exclusively with local growers to put the highest-quality specialty cut flowers in floral customers’ hands. When you partner with Rooted Farmers, you are investing in your community, and you can expect a commitment to excellence in return. Learn more at RootedFarmers.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.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 653,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

As our 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 column to the right.

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:

Shift of Currents; Heliotrope; Turning on the Lights; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

Lovely by Tryad 
http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 476: Extending the Season with a From-the-Farm Product Line, with Natasha McCrary of 1818 Farms in Mooresville, Alabama

Wednesday, October 21st, 2020
Natasha McCrary of 1818 Farms (right), with Shea Cream from the farm’s product line

Today’s guest, Natasha McCrary, and I first met when we started following one another on social media. Naming her business 1818 Farms was a brilliant move, because it’s kind of unforgettable. And her IG feed is filled with lots of charming images of flora and fauna — by fauna, I am specifically talking about the Olde English Babydoll Southdown sheep who reside at 1818 Farms in Mooresville, Alabama.

These animals are so prominent at 1818 Farms, there’s an illustration of one on the farm’s branding and logo. Natasha will tell the story in much more detail, but here’s a bit:

Miniature Southdown sheep originated on the South Down hills of Sussex County, England in the 1700s. In 1986-91, after becoming almost extinct, 350 sheep with the original bloodlines were located and a registry was formed. The name Olde English Babydoll Southdown can only be used for sheep that have been accepted by the registry. Babydolls are outstanding pets that produce fleece that is in the class of cashmere, a hand spinner’s delight. They provide organic weeding and make excellent companion animals. Their gentle nature makes them a joy to own!

Some of the sheep at 1818 Farms — too cute for words!!!

Natasha writes more about the sheep at 1818 Farms on her website:

“The idea for this family project originated with my eight year old child, who fell in love with the Babydoll Southdown Sheep that he met at a petting farm we visited in October 2011. Owning a Babydoll was all he could talk about, so, thinking this would be fun and educational for our family to do together, I began researching where to buy a few lambs to raise as a family project on our land here in Mooresville. And then, as Gamble, my 8 year-old entrepreneur, began to plan what he was going to do with his sheep: sell the wool, sell the manure to garden shops, charge for photographs, and even stage a Nativity scene at the church if he could find a baby, I began to dream my own plans for a small profitable farm where we could teach our children to appreciate the land and animals and to be good conservationists. We also wanted to teach them the importance of being self-sustaining.”

The pavilion (left) and Natasha (right)

Located on three acres in the northwest corner of the historic village of Mooresville, AL (pop. 58), 1818 Farms is named for the year Mooresville was incorporated, one year before Alabama became a state. Events of all types have been hosted in the garden, under the pavilions and in the adjacent Garden House. Pre-COVID, the events included Bloom Strolls, supper and garden club gatherings, and “Farm to Table” dinners hosted by some of the area’s top chefs all take place on our farm.

The popular flower truck

The Garden House has been home to a series of classes including: raised bed gardening, food preservation, seed starting, raising backyard chickens, wreath making and flower preparation and arranging. Natasha moved some of that education to the new 1818 Farms’ You Tube channel during COVID and you’ll hear us discuss that in our conversation.

The flower fields at 1818 Farms

1818 Farms’ bath and beauty products have evolved as an important facet of the McCrary family’s farm-based business. that really work. The farm’s popular animals appear on the labels of products including Farrah Fawcett’s Bath Tea, Clover’s Lip Smack and Sweet Pea and her scented Shea Creme. In 2019, Natasha’s hard work was recognized with 1818 Farms winning Amazon’s United States Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year.

I know you’ll enjoy our conversation and be inspired by Natasha’s tips and suggestions, especially for adding a non-perishable product line to create a revenue stream year-round.

Natasha during flower harvest

Find and follow 1818 Farms at these social places:

1818 Farms on Facebook

1818 Farms on Instagram

1818 Farms on YouTube

Thanks so much for joining us today for another fun conversation. Hey, time is running out to participate in the 2021 Slow Flowers Member Survey.  For sharing your time complete the survey, we’d like to send you an etched Slow Flowers Society botanical bookmark – and enter your name into the drawing for one free registration to the 2021 Slow Flowers Summit, valued at $599! But you must give us your name and contact information to receive the bookmark and enter the drawing — if you choose to respond anonymously, we can’t bestow our gifts!


Registration is open for my first online course, Slow Flowers Creative Workshop: Floral Storytelling. The course begins November 1st so check out links and take advantage of the $200 introductory promo code, meaning you can enjoy this course for just $97. It includes three modules, 11 lessons, six worksheets and three writing templates. I’m excited to see you in the course! And a shout-out to our first two students who registered last weekend! I’m eager to have you join me to boost and refine your floral storytelling skills and enhance your own message with the power of words.


Fleurvana Holiday Summit: Registration Giveaway!


As I mentioned, the Fleurvana Virtual Summit for which I taught in late August, is returning with a “holiday edition.” It takes place from Sunday, October 26 to Wednesday, October 28 and my presentation is scheduled to air Monday, October 26th at 7 am Pacific/10 am Eastern.

I’ve developed an entirely new presentation called Taking Stock: Writing your 2020 Year in Review & 2021 Forecast with Creative Intention.

As with last time, you can register for a free pass to attend Fleurvana during October 26-28. But many people are purchasing a VIP Pass to access private speaker roundtables and watch the presentations at their own pace. Shawn and I will draw one free VIP Pass for one of you — just sign up to register at the link below. Everyone who registers through this link will be entered into a drawing for a VIP Pass. The deadline is Midnight Eastern Time on October 24th. We’ll draw the winner on October 25th and let you know ASAP so you can join all the private speaker roundtables (online, of course). And as I mentioned, everyone who registers will be able to watch the sessions in real time, starting next Sunday. I’ll see you there!


Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, nationwide online directory to florists, shops, and studios who design with American-grown flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

And thank you to Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. Read our stories at slowflowersjournal.com.

The Gardener’s Workshop, which offers a full curriculum of online education for flower farmers and farmer-florists. Online education is more important this year than ever, and you’ll want to check out the course offerings at thegardenersworkshop.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.

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. Visit them at seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.com.


The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 651,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

As our 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 column to the right.

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; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

Lovely by Tryad 
http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field; Mountain Sun
Music by:
audionautix.com

Episode 475: How the COVID shutdown inspired Postal Petals, a conversation with founder and floral entrepreneur Talia Boone

Wednesday, October 14th, 2020

I met today’s guest, Talia Boone, when two other Slow Flowers members reached out to tell me about her and her new floral venture. As soon as I learned about Talia and her Los Angeles-based company Postal Petals, I thought — “we need her to join Slow Flowers” because her mission is i100% alignment with ours. Thank you to Yoni Levenbach of Flowers Without Borders and Whit McClure of Whit Hazen, who separately connected me with Talia earlier this summer.

Talia is a veteran marketing, communications and branding strategist whose background is in professional sports and entertainment. About three years ago, she formed INTER:SECT, a creative, tactical solutions agency that serves as a catalyst for pioneering ideas, collaboration and creative opportunities at the intersection of sports, business, technology, consciousness, culture and the arts, with the goal of promoting socially and culturally relevant conversations and collective action.

Up until now, Talia’s focus has been the intersection of sports, business, culture and social impact. And now, FLOWERS. Her new business, Postal Petals, has a social impact mission and I’m excited to share her story in our conversation today.  Talia is a self-described floral enthusiast and DIY floral arranger. Since she’s based in Los Angeles, she often shopped at the Los Angeles Flower Market during public hours, bringing home flowers to arrange and enjoy — as part of her personal creativity and mental health practice.

You’ll hear how COVID is to blame for Talia’s newest venture, provoked by the closure of the Los Angeles Flower Market and her search for farm-direct flowers to fill her flower fix.

Postal Petals’ origins began with that search. Launched online in September, here’s how Postal Petals is described: Think of us as a farm-to-table produce box, but for fresh flowers! Postal Petals connects flower lovers directly to farms to receive fresh flowers at a competitive price point when compared to the retail marketplace. Each stem is handpicked and cut just hours before they are carefully packaged and shipped to you for delivery within 36 hours of harvest, ensuring quality and freshness. Once you open your Petal Box, you can build those beautiful loose blooms into stunning arrangements with a quick video tutorial or virtual hands-on workshop with one of our professional florists. Each Petal Box includes vibrant flowers sourced domestically from eco-friendly farms. From calla lilies to cheery sunflowers to picturesque peonies, there’s a new floral adventure inside every Postal Petals box.

Follow #blackfloristfriday to meet designers who are part of Postal Petals’ Black Florist Directory

Follow Postal Petals at these social places:

Postal Petals on Facebook

Postal Petals on Instagram

Postal Petals’ #blackfloristfriday series on Instagram — it’s a wonderful addition to the floral community.

Talia Boone, Postal Petals’ founder and CEO

Thanks so much for joining us today. There is so much inspiration packed into a conversation with Talia Boone! I jotted down one of her references, and it’s worth restating here: If you want to go fast, to alone; if you want to go far, go together. That is the true message of Slow Flowers and for everyone who is part of our community!

As I mentioned, you can read more about Talia in today’s show notes. Today we also posted a feature story about Postal Petals in Slow Flowers Journal — that’s at slowflowersjournal.com. Earlier this week, we started a six-part editorial series called New Floral Marketing Models & Platforms, beginning with Amelia Ihlo of Rooted Farmers on Monday and Rachel Heath of Flora Fun Box yesterday. After today’s feature on Postal Petals, the series continues for three more days as we profile: American Grown at Home, a project of Kelly Shore and Petals by the Shore; Zap Bloom, Sally Vander Wyst’s new venture, and Tammy Meyers of LORABloom. I know this series will interest you because there’s inspiration for flower farmers, florists and designers to consider diversification in their own enterprises. And, I am pretty sure this series will prompt others to reach out and let me know who they are and tell me about their new models!

Okay, whew. Does October seem like the year’s busiest month so far? I feel it and you might, too. Flowers are still blooming in my garden – so far! Our expected first-frost date won’t come for another few weeks. One flower farmer recently told me that October 15th is his “frost date,” whether the thermometer is down to freezing or not. He’s ready for a break and I don’t blame him. The zeitgeist of anticipation in our lives is undeniable, and some (maybe most) of it comes with a side order of anxiety. How do we move forward with so much uncertainty? Taking positive action is sometimes the best antidote to that feeling.

The first Say Their Names Memorial in Portland, Oregon

To that end, I’m thrilled to share that next week on October 20th, our friend Karen Thornton of Avenue 22 Events is leading the installation of a new Say Their Names Memorial in Kirkland, Washington, a suburb of Seattle. Karen is Slow Flowers’ operations and special events manager — many of you have met her during our regular Zoom Meet-Ups or in-person at the past two Slow Flowers Summits. Karen also recently took over Slow Flowers membership management from Lisa Waud, who has taken a step back for other important projects.

I want to let you know about the Say Their Names Memorial because it continues the good work of Portland-based wedding and event designer Joy Proctor, who began the memorial on Juneteenth when she and others mounted black-and-white portraits of more than 200 Black women and men whose lives were lost due to racial injustice. Flowers play a role in the powerful and sobering gallery of faces and names, as each portrait is commemorated with a small bouquet.

Slow Flowers and several of our member florists and farmers are supporting the October 20th installation. Here is Karen’s Go Fund Me link and I invite you to contribute, and provide support.

More announcements

Before we get started, I want to announce the winner of our 2020 Tilth Conference registration giveaway, announced last week. I asked you to post a comment in last week’s show notes to tell us the one thing you are doing in your floral enterprise to address climate change. Our winner, Aishah Lurry, past guest of this podcast, commented: Patagonia Flower Farm is located in the high desert of Arizona; when we first started thinking about flower farming, the most important thing to us was water conservation. We have found that using landscape fabric slows down evaporation and has allowed us to use a minimal amount of water. It does this by blocking the sunlight In turn keeping the soil moist for a much longer period of time. Thanks for the great comment — and congratulations, Aishah! You’ll be attending – virtually – the 2020 Tilth organic farming conference on November 9 & 10! I’ll send you all the details for your complimentary registration.

First, there’s still time to complete the 2021 Slow Flowers Member Survey!

To thank you for sharing your time to take the survey, we’d like to send you an etched Slow Flowers Society botanical bookmark – and enter your name into the drawing for one free registration to the 2021 Slow Flowers Summit, valued at $599! But you must give us your name and contact information to receive the bookmark and enter the drawing — if you choose to respond anonymously, we can’t bestow our gifts!

Tomorrow, October 15th, registration begins for my first online course, Slow Flowers Creative Workshop: Floral Storytelling. You can learn more details and watch a video message from me here. The course begins November 1st so check out link above and take advantage of the $200 off introductory promo code — SF97 –, meaning you can enjoy this course for just $97. It includes three modules, 11 lessons, six worksheets and three writing templates. I’m excited to see you in the course!

On Friday, October 16th, the 2020 Flowerstock, Virtual Edition launches. A combination of live presentations and pre-recorded presentations from a wide range of florists, designers, and more, Flowerstock is the brainchild of our friend and Slow Flowers member Holly Chapple. I’ve developed new module for my session “A Bouquet of Words,” recorded specifically for Flowerstock attendees. Follow this link to see the full program and register for just $297.

From Sunday, October 25th to Wednesday, October 28th, I’ll return to Fleurvana, a virtual floral conference that first took place in late August. Fleurvana Holiday Summit follows much of the same format, but has all new presentations and a combination of new and returning speakers. I’ve developed an entirely new presentation called Taking Stock: Writing your 2020 Year in Review & 2021 Forecast with Creative Intention. As with last time, you can register for a free pass to attend Fleurvana during October 26-28. And you can purchase a VIP Pass to access private speaker roundtables and watch the presentations at your own pace.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 649,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

As our 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 column to the right.

Thank you to our sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, nationwide online directory to florists, shops, and studios who design with American-grown flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

And thank you to Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. Read our stories at slowflowersjournal.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. Find the full catalog of flower seeds and bulbs at johnnysseeds.com. We have a new Slow Flowers article that dropped last week in Johnny’s Advantage, Johnny’s monthly newsletter. It’s all about Pricing and Profitability and features advice from five Slow Flowers growers. You’ll want to read it!

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 am in love with my greenhouse, designed and built sustainably by Oregon-based NW Green Panels (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.

Music Credits:

Alustrat; Skyway; Turning on the Lights; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

Lovely by Tryad http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 473: Reinventing the Bucket Route with Jamie Rogers of Missoula-based Killing Frost Farm

Wednesday, September 30th, 2020
Jamie Rogers and Carly Jenkins of Killing Frost Farm, with me (right)

The conversation I recorded recently with today’s featured guest began much earlier this year. I learned so much from flower farmer Jamie Rogers, one half of Killing Frost Farm, while pulling together a segment of a lecture about flower farm diversification. And much of what Jamie and I discussed when I called him back in February was in some ways prophetic. At the time, we could not have predicted the COVID-19 pandemic and what it would mean to the floral marketplace.

Jamie and his partner Carly Jenkins founded Killing Frost Farm in Missoula, Montana, in 2012. Carly shared some of their story when I first interviewed her for the Slow Flowers Podcast, episode 296, aired in May 2017. I’ll be sure to share a link to that episode, and to a subsequent appearance when she and I discussed the woodland-inspired lichen and moss gown for American Flowers Week 2018, episode 355

Jamie Rogers and Carly Jenkins of Killing Frost Farm

Here’s a bit of their background, which originally appeared on their website a few year’s back: In 2012, Carly and Jamie bought a house on a single city lot in Missoula’s Westside neighborhood. The soil was rocky, ant-infested and barren. They tilled, weeded, and with a truckload of compost, began growing tomatoes, herbs and flowers.

In 2014, the house next door went on the market, and after a bit of financial finagling, the couple made an offer. With more soil to work, their gardening ambitions grew, and before long, taking care of their plants was not only tough on schedules, but hard on the wallet. A financially savvy friend recommended Carly and Jamie find a way to form an LLC, sell some of what they grew and treat those mounting gardening expenses as a business expense. By the fall of that year, they grew their first batch of microgreens. A week after the ground was frozen, they delivered some to a neighborhood restaurant, and Killing Frost Farm was born.

When I first posted that introduction to Jamie and Carly, back in 2017, I concluded: A lot has happened since then, including forming established relationships with local chefs and growing other types of produce for them. Carly and Jamie also upped the number of flower beds and sold edible flowers . . .  before narrowing their focus to cut flowers for floral arrangements.

As they wrote on their web site: “It has been a frightening, stress-inducing, humbling ride so far, but it’s allowed us to quit our old jobs and spend our days working in dirt, together.”

Love this adorable illustration of Jamie and Carly, by Portland artist Ryan Bear (shared with his permission) @ryanbearart

Today’s episode will catch you up on what Jamie and Carly have been up to in the past few years. They moved to Potomoc, a town about a 30-minute drive east of Missoula, where Killing Frost now has 2-plus acres for its cut flower production.

Carly and Jamie of Killing Frost Farm.

As you’ll hear in this conversation, the couple now focuses almost entirely on selling flowers wholesale through their weekly Market in Missoula, where florists can shop off the floor and pick up pre-orders. To grow, they began in earnest delivering flowers to customers (studio and retail florists) in Butte, Bozeman, Helena and often to other markets when supply allowed.

They just wrapped up the 2020 season for running a Montana-grown delivery program, marketing Killing Frost’s fresh flowers as well as crops grown by a number of other farms. Spearheaded by Jamie, the program will not stop just because dahlia season is over. As he discusses in our interview, there are plans to add dried flowers and holiday greenery to the product availability list moving forward through the end of the year.

Jamie Rogers modeled Carly’s red-white-and-blue floral bikini during American Flowers Week 2016! What a guy!

I think you’ll pick up on the fact that Jamie is personable, committed to excellent customer service, and a whole lot of fun. As he shares, the Killing Frost model is based on one originated by Ralph Thurston and Jeriann Sabin, founders and former owners of Bindweed Flower Farm.

Our conversation is an honest one and I appreciate Jamie’s transparency about the challenges of building a bucket truck route in a marketplace where customers have not had access to locally-grown flowers for decades. As he told me earlier: “We need them more than they need us. If you get that notion, Jamie said, you’ll be rewarded, because remember: they have just been buying flowers from someone else for nine months of the year.

Find and follow Killing Frost Farm on Instagram

Thank you so much for joining me today! At the end of our interview, I had a big grin on my face — Jamie has a way of lifting my spirits. I hope you pick up on his enthusiasm and passion for getting more Montana-grown flowers in to the hands of the state’s florists on a regular basis. As he told me about his sales and customer service strategy: “We have to make it as convenient for them as possible. We are really lucky that they want to buy our flowers.”

Before I close, I want to highlight a couple of items and ask you to keep an eye out for our October happenings. Our October newsletter launches this week, as does our 2021 member survey. I hope you take a moment to click on the survey if it lands in your in-box — we are eager to glean insights and input from you to help shape the coming year’s themes and programs. To sweeten the deal and thank you for your investment of valuable time, we will send a special gift to everyone who completes the survey. And all respondents who complete the survey and share their contact information with us will be entered into a drawing for a full registration to the 2021 Slow Flowers Summit, valued at $599.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 645,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

As our 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 column to the right.

Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, nationwide online directory to florists, shops, and studios who design with American-grown flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

And thank you to Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. Read our stories at slowflowersjournal.com.

The Gardener’s Workshop, which offers a full curriculum of online education for flower farmers and farmer-florists. Online education is more important this year than ever, and you’ll want to check out the course offerings at thegardenersworkshop.com.

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.

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.

(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; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

Lovely by Tryad 
http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field; River Meditation
audionautix.com