Debra Prinzing

Get the Email Newsletter!

Archive for the ‘Storytelling’ Category

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 474: A Flower Farmer Enters State Politics, with Stacy Brenner of Maine’s Broadturn Farm

Wednesday, October 7th, 2020
Stacy Brenner, co-founder of Broadturn Farm in Scarborough, Maine, a candidate for Maine State Senate’s 30th District

There is no denying that 2020 has been an insane year. I feel like the constant topics of conversation include resilience, reinvention, adaptation, innovation, not to mention pivoting or survival. UGH.

There’s also no denying that many of you, have, like me, been deeply moved by what’s happening in our world — from social and racial justice to saving the planet, as well as keeping ourselves safe from the ever-present threat of contracting COVID.

It has been so encouraging to hear from guests throughout the past seven months, who have generously shared their personal stories around resilience — flower farmers, florists and designers, and everyone touched by the wedding and events industry. The theme comes through in every episode and I’m grateful that the Slow Flowers Podcast has been a place to convene these conversations in a respectful and thoughtful environment.

Broadturn Farm, Scarborough, Maine
Broadturn Farm, Scarborough, Maine

The year is not over, especially as those of us in the U.S. are entering the final weeks of what I believe to be a life-and-death election season. Against the backdrop of taking action to change our world for a better place, I’m delighted to introduce you today to Stacy Brenner, organic flower farmer, nurse midwife and candidate for Maine State Senate’s 30th District.

Stacy joined me last February 2019 to discuss the theme of social entrepreneurship, and you listen to that episode here.

Here’s more about Stacy, excerpted from her Stacy for Senate about page:

Stacy Brenner is an organic farmer and small business owner who co-founded and now operates Broadturn Farm in Scarborough. She is a graduate of the University of Arizona, where she studied agriculture and plant sciences. Stacy holds two nursing degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. She spent her early working career as a nurse-midwife, tending to the births of hundreds of babies at Mercy Hospital in Portland. She is a board member of Maine Farmland Trust and Board Vice-President of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Organization (MOFGA).

Raised in a working-class suburb in New Jersey, Stacy spent her childhood romanticizing country life. When she wasn’t watching reruns of “Little House on the Prairie,” Stacy would escape the suburban chem-lawns of her neighborhood to explore the wooded edges of the development with her brother. She always wanted to be a farmer. Like so many other folks from away, she was drawn to the state of Maine by its verdant landscapes, its supportive business climate, its thriving agricultural network and the amazing, hard-working people she met.

John Bliss and Stacy Brenner of Broadturn Farm, with their daughters

In 2002, Stacy, her five-year-old daughter Emma, and her husband, John Bliss, moved to Maine to become first-generation farmers. They entered the MOFGA farmer journeyperson program designed to support new entry growers, and taught themselves how to be farmers. In 2006, Stacy and John opened Broadturn Farm, which produces cut flowers and organic vegetables, hosts weddings, and runs a summer day camp focused on connecting youth with sustainable agriculture. Now employing 30 people at the height of the season, the farm is a thriving example of economic development on farmland protected with an agricultural easement funded in part by the Land for Maine’s Future program.

I’ve been watching along on social media as Stacy’s campaign for Maine State Senate has gained traction, with amazing endorsements from a diverse group of supporters, including the Sierra Club, Emily’s List, Maine Conservation Voters, Maine Education Association, several unions, Emily’s List, Equality Maine, Planned Parenthood and other groups.

What follows is a fascinating discussion that to me, at its core, looks at the question: What can one person do to make the world a safer, more equitable, inclusive and healthy place for all?

Stacy’s path may not be your path, but I know you’ll be inspired by the way she and John have chosen to operate Broadturn Farm with a mission-focused approach that reflects their values. Thanks so much for joining me today. I was struck by Stacy’s comment: “What are you going to tell your kids when they ask: ‘Where were you, Mom, when the planet was burning?’ Do I say, ‘I was watching Netflix and drinking wine?’ I’ve gotta do something!”

Stacy Brenner on the campaign trail (left) and as a farmer-florist (right)

That hits home! Stacy’s strengths rest in her dedication to building meaningful relationships with people in her community. She understands that the first step in creating connection is by listening to the concerns of constituents. She promises that when elected, she will collaborate and engage with local community members to help build a strong, inclusive, prosperous Maine. Let’s wish Stacy all the success and do check out her campaign website for volunteer opportunities.

Organic and sasonal floral design and production at Broadturn Farm

Find and follow Broadturn Farm on Instagram and Facebook

Find and follow Stacy Brenner for Maine State Senate on Facebook

You’re invited to join me this coming Friday, October 9th, for our OCTOBER Slow Flowers Member Virtual Meet-Up! We started the Virtual Meet-Ups on a Weekly basis during the early days of COVID in late March.

After eight consecutive weeks of gathering with our community and special speakers through the end of May, we shifted to a monthly meet-up on the second Friday of each month.

Alicia Schwede of Flirty Fleurs (left) and Kath LaLiberte of Longfield Gardens (right)

This week, join me at 9 am Pacific/Noon eastern, Friday, October 9th — on Zoom — follow this link to join us!

Three of the growing Flirty Fleurs collection for Longfield Gardens

The topic is fall bulb planting — yay! I couldn’t be happier that it’s nearly time! My SPECIAL GUESTS include Slow Flowers member Alica Schwede of Flirty Fleurs and Kathleen LaLiberte of Longfield Gardens, a Slow Flowers sponsor. Bring your bulb selection, planting and design questions to the community! I’ve heard that we might be sharing some bulb collections as our giveaways — so you won’t want to miss that chance!

And speaking of gifts, did you see the beautiful etched Slow Flowers Society botanical bookmark we’re sending to each of you who responds to 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.

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. Deadline for participation is November 1, 2020.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 647,000 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.

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.

And now, all about the giveaway:
Listen for details at the end of this episode for entering the drawing for a free registration to The 2020 Tilth Conference, which will be Virtual this year on November 9-10. The theme is Challenging the Status Quo-Together, with two days of presentations tailored to farmers, food system professionals, researchers and educators have the opportunity to learn from one another and share best practices. I’ve waived my speaker honorarium in exchange for giving away one free registration to a Slow Flowers member! One of the benefits of turning an in-person organic farming conference into a virtual one means that you don’t have to be Pacific Northwest-based to enter!

I’ll be presenting along with some amazing speakers, including keynotes from Chris Newman, co-founder of Sylvanaqua Farms in Virginia’s Chesapeake watershed. He is a farmer and a member of the Choptico Band of Piscataway Indians. And I’m excited to also hear from Dr. Kathleen Merrigan, former assistant secretary of Agriculture in the Obama administration — who I had a chance to meet a few years ago, and Executive Director of the Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems at Arizona State University.

To enter our giveaway drawing, please comment in the show notes below about the one thing you are doing in your floral enterprise to address climate change. I’ll draw one winner from all those who comment on Sunday, October 11th, at midnight Pacific Time — and announce the name on next week’s episode.

(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:

Betty Dear; 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 468: Slow Flowers’ Social Media Maven Niesha Blancas of Fetching Social

Wednesday, August 26th, 2020
Niesha Blancas of Fetching Social, the talent and passion behind Slow Flowers’ social media

Whether we like it or not, establishing a social media presence is an essential business requirement. In any visually-driven marketplace, but especially in the floral world, we need to create Instagram and Facebook accounts that we want our brand, mission and values to be associated with.

I launched the first Slow Flowers business page on Facebook in 2013 when my book of that title was released. And I believe that I started the Slow Flowers Instagram account, called @myslowflowers, in 2015 (prior to that I had a personal account @dkprinzing — and it took Dani Hahn of Rose Story Farm to inform me that having a second account on Instagram was allowed!).

Debra and Niesha, photographed at the 2018 Slow Flowers Summit in Washington, D.C.

I muddled along for a few years posting a hodge-podge of images — all pretty, but there was no strategy. After meeting and working with today’s guest, things changed. As I discuss with her in this episode, she was definitely a game-changer, our secret sauce. Please meet Niesha Blancas of Fetching Social, the social media strategist and manager whose talents and creativity have magnified the message of Slow Flowers on Instagram and Facebook.

Niesha, on location at the Slow Flowers Summit in St. Paul, Minnesota (c) Missy Palacol Photography

Niesha and I first worked together as consultants to the Field to Vase Dinner Tour, a project I helped launch with Certified American Grown. We met up at a number of beautiful flower farms around the U.S. where I often hosted the VIP and media guests and Niesha managed the social media for each dinner.

Not long after I ended that contract in 2017, Niesha left her gig and started Fetching Social. I didn’t hesitate for a moment. I asked her to support Slow Flowers with a social media strategy. Niesha has been a vital member of the small but mighty Slow Flowers team and other than Andrew Brenlan, our podcast editor, Niesha been with me the longest. She basically acts as Slow Flowers Society’s freestanding social media department — and I’m so grateful for her talents.

Niesha manages all of Slow Flowers’ visual social media — on Instagram, Facebook and for our events, like the Slow Flowers Summit

Here’s a bit more about Niesha Blancas:
With a personality as colorful as her creativity, Niesha loves to think outside the box for new and exciting ways to showcase her clients’ stories. After graduating from Fresno State with a double major in Public Relations and Fashion Merchandising, Niesha has dipped her toes in various waters, many in which happen to be social-worthy: food, flowers, wine, travel, fashion, and events.

And more about Fetching Social:
Why settle for anything less than fetching? Fetching Social is your business’s ally. We understand that social media can be overwhelming and time-consuming, especially while you’re running your own company. Let us do what we do best so you can get back to business. If you want to compare bucket list adventures, debate the existence of unicorns, or talk one-on-one with Niesha for her branding advice, DM her on Instagram or email her at fetchingsocial@gmail.com.

Last summer, Niesha was a featured presenter at the 2019 Slow Flowers Summit in St. Paul. She presented on Social Media and I’ve got a bonus for you. You can watch Niesha’s presentation — VISUAL STORYTELLING FOR SOCIAL MEDIA – part of a 3-speaker panel with Kalisa Jenne-Fraser and Missy Palacol, below.

Find and follow Fetching Social:

Check out Fetching Social’s JumpStarter Package

Download Fetching Social’s JumpStarter Package below:

Fetching Social on Instagram

Fetching Social on Facebook

Niesha is a vital member of the Slow Flowers Community

Thanks so much for joining me today for my conversation with Niesha Blancas of Fetching Social. I hope you consider reaching out to Niesha to talk about your own social media needs. She has an extensive menu of services suitable for any budget or wish list you might have.

I can honestly say that Niesha’s expertise, professionalism and passion for the Slow Flowers Community is worth every penny — she is priceless and influences so much of what I undertake!

Coming up in just two weeks is the second annual Sustainable Flowers Workshop, led by Slow Flowers member Becky Feasby of Prairie Girl Flowers in Calgary, Alberta. I was so looking forward to being there in person with Becky, the other instructors and the attendees

Not to be deterred, Becky is proceeding with the workshop, September 8 & 9, which will be held in Calgary at the Rosemont Community Hall. She’ll be joined by fellow Canadian, floral designer, artist, photographer and author Christin Geall of Cultivated by Christin. Tobey Nelson and I will join virtually via Zoom. Not quite the same thing, but since Tobey and I cannot cross the U.S.-Canadian border, we’re going to make it as fun and engaging as the Zoom platform will allow!

There are a few spaces left for this awesome workshop. I’ll have the full itinerary and signup information in today’s show notes. I know it will be a smashing event!

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.

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 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.

Debra and Niesha together in Boulder, Colorado

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto iTunes and posting a listener review.

The content and opinions expressed here are either mine alone or those of my guests alone, independent of any podcast sponsor or other person, company or organization.

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Brenlan. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.com

Music Credits:

The Wooden Platform; Heartland Flyer; 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 466: Black Sanctuary Gardens with Leslie Bennett of Oakland-based Pine House Edible Gardens

Wednesday, August 12th, 2020
Left: Leslie Bennett in her Pine House Edible Gardens-designed Oakland backyard
(c) Rachel Weill

Today’s special guest returns to the Slow Flowers Podcast after her 2017 appearance. Leslie Bennett is an award-winning garden creator whose Pine House Edible Gardens designs and installs beautiful, productive edible landscapes that provide bountiful harvests of organic fruits, vegetables, cutting flowers and herbs — and that create space for more beauty, peace and connection in clients’ lives. Pine House also maintain gardens, harvests and processes garden-grown food, and teaches clients the skills to do it themselves.

Edibles and cut flowers (citrus, blueberries, fig, protea, poppies) flourish in anAlameda front yard (c) Caitlin Atkinson

As a Black woman owned business and multi-racial, queer inclusive, majority female team, Pine House Edible Gardens stands for more than just healthy food and beautiful landscapes, and this is one reason I invited Leslie back to the show — to discuss her firm’s commitment to making gardens accessible to all through its equity pricing program and the Black Sanctuary Gardens project. As Leslie writes on the company’s web site: “We believe an edible garden can be a transformative space to grow and practice the better ways and world we want for ourselves and for our communities.”

The 2017 Slow Flowers Summit presentation features (from left): Chantal Aida Gordon, Leslie Bennett, Riz Reyes and Nicole Cordier
The speaker lineup at our first Slow Flowers Summit, including Leslie Bennett (far right)

In 2017, Leslie joined the first Slow Flowers Summit in Seattle as a speaker on the topic of inclusion and representation in floriculture and horticulture. She is definitely a mentor of mine as I strive to make the Slow Flowers community an inclusive, supportive and accessible place for Black flower farmers and Black floral professionals.

The first Black Sanctuary Garden project, created for a community leader in East Oakland
(c) Rachel Weill

Slow Flowers has had the privilege of sharing our resources to support anti-racist programs and to support new members through our Professional Development Fund for Black Farmers and Florists. One of the programs we were moved to support financially is the Black Sanctuary Gardens program that Leslie began a few years ago through Pine House Edible Gardens. I wanted you to learn more about this program because I believe it is a model that anyone who wants their creative enterprise to be guided by values- and mission-. As I watch how Leslie uses her talents and resources to support her beliefs, it inspires me to want to do the same with Slow Flowers.

A front garden landscaped with edible plants in Atherton, Calif. (c) David Fenton

Thanks so much for joining my conversations with Leslie — our most recent one and the replay of Episode 302.

One thing Leslie said that struck me so powerfully and it needs to be restated: This is not charity. This is giving back what has been taken. Land, generational wealth, historic and systemic racism. Operating very humbly will take us forward.

The 2020 campaign page . . . with donations soon reaching the $30k goal!

The current Go Fund Me Campaign for Black Sanctuary Gardens is close to reaching its 2020 campaign goal of $30,000, but the fundraising continues because this will be an ongoing design/installation series. You can read more about Black Sanctuary Gardens at Pine House Edible Gardens’ web site, but I’d like to highlight a few details. Leslie writes:

“Inspired in part by Alice Walker’s naming of the garden as a site for black women’s spirituality, creativity and artistic work, landscape designer Leslie Bennett and her team work to design, install and care for a series of low to no-cost Black Sanctuary Gardens for Black women and Black communities. Visual curation and photographic documentation of the women and communities in their garden spaces is a secondary, integral part of the project as we create imagery that more accurately and inclusively reflects the relationship of Black women and communities with their gardens.

An entry garden in Los Altos, Calif., features low-water, edible and native California plantings (c) Caitlin Atkinson
Edible garden in Hillsborough, Calif. (c) David Fenton

The primary goal of Black Sanctuary Gardens is to create garden spaces for Black women to rest and be restored. This space is so needed, given the racism and sexism that Black women experience as part of daily American life. A further goal is to define, uphold and celebrate Black community spaces, amidst gentrification and displacement of historically Black communities in Oakland. 

Black Sanctuary Gardens is an exciting opportunity to develop gardens that are reflective of our brilliant Black community and supportive of our specific cultural experiences, while offering real sanctuary for Black people to commune, converse, collaborate, heal, rest, and be nourished.

Left: An enclosed kitchen garden with fruit trees and vegetable beds in Oakland Hills (c) Caitlin Atkinson; A bountiful planting from Pine House Edible Gardens

After we recorded today’s interview, Leslie and I continued to discuss the many important reasons for centering a business around Black wellness, creativity and community. It has inspired me to find words to state the importance of these values in the Slow Flowers movement. While I’m proud that our stated Manifesto values sustainability, local sourcing of flowers, and supporting family farms, I realize I want to more explicitly and actively support equity in our Black farming and floristry community. Look for an update to the Slow Flowers Manifesto in the coming days — as we put values and beliefs into words.  

Here’s how you can find and follow Leslie Bennett and Pine House Edible Gardens:

Pine House Edible Gardens on Facebook

Pine House Edible Gardens on Instagram

More about Black Sanctuary Gardens

Now, more than ever, your Slow Flowers Membership gives you an important story to share with your community and your customers.

Our monthly Slow Flowers Meet-Ups continue this Friday on August 14th (9 am PT/Noon ET) and you’re invited to join us – virtually – via Zoom.

If you missed last month’s Meet-Up, you can find  video from our July 10th Slow Flowers Member Virtual Meet-Up with featured guests wedding designer and stylist Joy Proctor, founder and creative director of Joy Proctor Design and Slow Flowers members and wedding and event designers Adam Rico and Alicia Rico of Dallas-based Bows and Arrows Flowers. Learn about the first @saytheirnamesmemorial in Portland, Oregon, installed on Juneteenth (June 19th) by Joy and a group of friends, artists, designers and craftspeople, and created in several other cities including Dallas and Atlanta by Bows and Arrows Flowers.

Gina Thresher (left) and Tonneli Gruetter (right)

This week’s guests include Gina Thresher of From the Ground Up Floral and Tonneli Gruetter of Salty Acres Farm — they’re among the instructors in a new virtual floral conference taking place in late August called Fleurvana Virtual Summit. You’ll hear more from Gina and Tonneli and learn how you can grab a free registration for the four-day conference August 23-26 — I’ll be speaking at Fleurvana, too. You’re invited to join us on Friday!

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 632,000 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.

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.

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.

(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:

Homegrown; 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 464: Petals & Politics — Natasha Harper-Madison’s story, from wedding and event designer to Austin City Council Member

Wednesday, July 29th, 2020
Natasha Harper-Madison, from floral entrepreneur to elected council member in Austin, Texas (all photos courtesy Natasha Harper-Madison)

Today’s guest is Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison, representing the city of Austin’s District 1. She may not seem like a typical Slow Flowers Podcast guest, but I know you’ll find our conversation inspiring, uplifting and a call to action. Natasha is a former floral entrepreneur and very early Slow Flowers member; I’ve been watching her path to public service on social media over the past few years and I just decided to reach out and ask her to share her amazing story.

Natasha now represents Austin’s District 1, the community where she grew up

As you will hear in the conversation that we recently recorded over Zoom, Natasha and I originally met when she joined Slow Flowers through her Austin-based wedding and event business Eco-Chic Flowers and Events, later rebranded as The Floral Engagement. Natasha was a sustainability pioneer and early adopter in the commitment to sourcing locally-grown flowers and to avoiding the use of any floral foam in her designs. You’ll hear us talk about her friendship with Mickey Blake, inventor of Floral Soil, a company here in Washington that had once developed a plant-based foam alternative to single-use plastic options on the marketplace. Mickey was a past guest of the Slow Flowers Podcast back in 2014, when we were huge supporters of her effort. Sadly that project is no longer operating, but I just wanted to mention it because it’s another thread that previously connected Natasha and me with a shared mission for sustainability.

The Harper-Madison family, including Natasha, her husband Tom Madison, and their “bigs” and “littles”

Inviting an elected official to be a guest on the Slow Flowers Podcast isn’t typical, but I am so grateful to learn from a “friend of Slow Flowers,” a former florist, who is now on the front lines of governing and addressing social and racial justice issues in a major U.S. city.

Here’s a bit more about Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison. She represents Austin’s District 1, the part of town where she was born and raised. Her upbringing endowed her with an intimate knowledge of her community’s strengths and its unique struggles. The lessons she learned as a successful small business owner on the Eastside led her down a path towards advocacy. She served as president of the East 12th Street Merchants Association and also founded East Austin Advocates, a nonprofit dedicated to connecting under-represented residents with the resources they need to succeed.

Her community-level activism sparked Council Member Harper-Madison’s interest in seeking public office, a goal she achieved with her first campaign for City Council in 2018.

She is the chair of the Health and Human Services Committee and sits on the Housing and Planning Committee, Judicial Committee, and Regional Affordability Committee.

As Natasha explains, the decision to run for public office was a family decision

In between championing the interests of her constituents, Council Member Harper-Madison is the proud wife of an Austin firefighter, the mother of four children, and a thriving breast cancer survivor.

Thanks so much for joining my conversation with Natasha Harper-Madison of Austin’s District 1. I was very struck by a few of her statements: “This gig is not for folks who need instant gratification.” and “Sacrifice is not synonymous  with suffering.”

I so admire Natasha for her willingness to, as she says: “sow the seeds of heirloom plants today — plants she may never personally see come to fruit or bloom.” I feel so moved to have had this conversation with a former colleague who’s taken a path of great personal sacrifice to address the inequities in her community — and I believe there is a ripple effect of Natasha’s actions and leadership, not to mention her ambitious vision to improve her community’s lives. That ripple effect may inspire you to take action about something you believe is hurting your community.

This conversation reminds me that we all can do better. Thank you, again, Natasha!

Follow the Council Member on Facebook

Follow the Council Member on Twitter

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. Learn more at shop.syndicatesales.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 627,000 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:

Welcome Home Sonny; 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; Acoustic Shuffle
Music from:
audionautix.com

Episode 463: REPLAY Soul Fire Farm’s Leah Penniman, author of Farming While Black

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020
Replay Episode with Leah Penniman of Soul Fire Farm and author of “Farming While Black.”

Today, we are celebrating the 7th Anniversary of the Slow Flowers Podcast. I want to take a moment and marvel at the significance and what this means to me — the significance of sharing so many wonderful conversations with listeners over the years, since launching this little project on July 23, 2103.

The timing of this podcast’s debut was just a few months after the publication of the book Slow Flowers: Four Seasons of Locally Grown Bouquets from the Garden, Meadow and Farm, when I introduced the first-ever podcast for the floral marketplace. I began to invite guests to share their voices, ideas and inspiration. From domestic flower farmers to designers taking a seasonal and sustainable approach to their floral art, I’ve have pursued unique programming for you.

For 362 consecutive weeks, this has been the podcast you can rely on to bring you stories of American flowers and the people who grow and design with them. This podcast actually pre-dates the launch in May 2014 of 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.  Slowflowers.com began with about 250 members across the U.S. and it has evolved into the Slow Flowers Society with 750 sustaining members across North America, members who, like you, care about making a conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

(c) Mary Grace Long

So we have a lot to celebrate and a lot to be grateful for. We’ve shared conversations on topics important to progressive, sustainably-minded floral entrepreneurs and I’m excited to continue the strong momentum as this show is more popular than ever. Episodes have been downloaded by listeners like you more than 625,000 times over the past seven years, and we currently enjoy 10k to 12k monthly downloads. So while metrics aren’t everything, they are one important indicator of the relevance of our content.

I want to pause and thank all of our current Slow Flowers Podcast sponsors, just to remind you that their contributions sustain the production and distribution of this show.

Thank you to:
Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers
Longfield Gardens
Rooted Farmers
Syndicate Sales
Johnny’s Selected Seeds
Mayesh Wholesale Florist
The Gardener’s Workshop
Florists’ Review

Meet Leah Penniman, Soul Fire Farm

We are in a season of challenge and change, and I want to bring you what I believe is a very special and timely replay episode from our archives. It has always been my goal to produce a fresh new episode every week, and but for a few exceptions, I’ve been able to do so. But with the heightened awareness about the fight against systemic racism and Slow Flowers’ stated commitment to support Black flower farmers and florists, we want to turn the focus on their voices, including revisiting past interviews you may have missed. In the coming months, we want to shine a light on Black pioneers and leaders in the Slow Flowers Community, members and friends. We have several new guests booked for the coming months, but today, I want to re-introduce you to Leah Penniman.

Pollinator flowers at Soul Fire Farm

I am so incredibly excited to rebroadcast my January 23, 2019, conversation with Leah as we discussed her new book, “Farming While Black, Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land,” published October 2018 by Chelsea Green Publishing.

Leah Penniman is a Black Kreyol educator, farmer, author, and food justice activist from Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, New York. She co-founded Soul Fire Farm in 2011 with the mission to end racism in the food system and reclaim an ancestral connection to land. As co-Executive Director, Leah is part of a team that facilitates powerful 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 – a life-giving hub for education, advocacy and activism

Leah holds an MA in Science Education and BA in Environmental Science and International Development from Clark University. She has been farming since 1996 and teaching since 2002. The work of Leah and Soul Fire Farm has been recognized by the Soros Racial Justice Fellowship, Fulbright Program, Omega Sustainability Leadership Award, Presidential Award for Science Teaching, NYS Health Emerging Innovator Awards, and Andrew Goodman Foundation, among others. All proceeds from the sale of Farming While Black will be used to support Black Farmers.

Soul Fire Farm is a Black, indigenous, and people of colorcentered community farm committed to ending racism and injustice in the food system. Soul Fire Farm raises and distributes life-giving food as a means to end food apartheid.

With deep reverence for the land and wisdom of ancestors, the farm works to reclaim its collective right to belong to the earth and to have agency in the food system.

Soul Fire brings diverse communities together on its healing land to share skills on sustainable agriculture, natural building, spiritual activism, health, and environmental justice. Leah and her colleagues are training the next generation of activist-farmers and strengthening the movements for food sovereignty and community self-determination.

Please buy this book and educate yourself about the Black farming community.

Thanks so much for joining my conversation with Leah Penniman of Soul Fire Farm and Farming While Black, originally broadcast as Episode 385 on Wednesday, January 23, 2019. As I mentioned in the interview, Farming While Black is required reading for all farmers, and for anyone who wants to have a deeper insight into the racism and injustice in our country’s agricultural history. I highly recommend it — Leah’s passion and spirit jumps off the page as she inspires, informs, instigates and shares her important life’s work as well as her incredibly smart farming advice.

I invited Leah to return to the Slow Flowers Podcast this week and give us an update about Soul Fire Farm’s work, but due to the demands of farming and activism, her schedule didn’t work with ours. I’m grateful that Soul Fire Farm sent us an extensive list of new resources and action items to help the Slow Flowers Community get more involved in social justice work to support Black-owned farms.

Soul Fire Farm on Facebook

Soul Fire Farm on Instagram

Their message read as follows: We are humbled by the outpouring of support we have received from you in the last couple weeks, instilling us with hope for a more just future amidst the grief we feel about the continued legacy of anti-Black police violence in our nation.

Here is a list of action steps you can take right now.

Additional resources:

FAQ page

COVID-19 response

2019 annual report

Policy demands

Food and Land Sovereignty Resource List for Covid-19

BIPOC-led How To Videos, Gardening Projects, and Online Learning Resources

As a show of support from the Slow Flowers Podcast, we have made a $250 donation to Soul Fire Farm and sent Leah and her team a one-year membership in Slow Flowers. We are eager to learn and listen — and I invite you to join me in this important endeavor.

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:

Bombadore; Skyway (acoustica); 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; Acoustic Shuffle
audionautix.com

Episode 460: Meet The Big Flower Fight’s head judge Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht, owner of Seattle-based design studio Wild Bloom

Wednesday, July 1st, 2020
Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht on the set of “The Big Flower Fight” (c) Netflix

I’m so thrilled to introduce you to floral celebrity Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht, the savvy and charismatic head judge on Netflix’s The Big Flower Fight and owner of Seattle-based design studio Wild Bloom.

After binging on all eight episodes of The Big Flower Fight when it debuted in late May, I have to say that Kristen is the heartbeat of this fun, new reality floral and garden design competition. He sets the tone for “friendly” competition by offering each design team his advice, guidance and sometimes painful but necessary reality-checks.

On location with Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht, floral influencer and head judge of “The Big Flower Fight”

I really enjoyed Kristen’s presence on The Big Flower Fight. He served as the resident floral design expert, as well as the show’s stylish personality whose commentary moved things along during each one-hour episode. When the show launched I didn’t know much about Kristen, although I had been following his Wild Blume Instagram account once I discovered him through other Seattle florists I followed.

Watch Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht on Mornings with Mayesh

Several weeks ago, Mayesh Wholesale’s Yvonne Ashton invited Kristen to be her guest on her Facebook show, Mornings with Mayesh. It was so great to virtually meet Kristen during that interview. You can watch the Facebook Live replay above.

Florist to the Stars, Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht (photo, courtesy of KGV)

I appreciated Kristen’s transparency and authenticity as a black floral professional, especially since that interview took place right after George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police. It was and is such an emotionally wrought time, and Kristen didn’t deflect any questions from Yvonne and those posed by the Mornings with Mayesh audience. He gained my immense regard and respect by speaking directly to these issues.

Later, I messaged Kristen and asked if he would be open to my interviewing him for a Florists’ Review article. Look for my profile and Q&A with Kristen, coming up in the August issue, which you can find online at floristsreview.com. Please enjoy our extended conversation, recorded via Zoom last month.

Episode Two of Netflix’s “The Big Flower Fight,” featured botanical fashion.

First, here’s a bit more about Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht of Wild Bloom:

Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht specializes in the creation of unique floral arrangements that celebrate enchanting flowers and natural beauty. He is the owner and creative director of Wild Bloom by Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht. His career began in New York City where he worked for some of the top designers in the industry. Since opening his own studio, Kristen’s flowers have been in major publications across the US, including Martha Stewart Weddings, Traditional Home Magazine, and The Knot, and seen on Good Morning America and E! Network. His flowers for actress Julianne Hough were featured on the front cover of People Magazine.

Kristen describes his design philosophy as a combination of editorial with a sensibility for distinctive and organic perspectives. He has an exquisite and rich design eye which has helped to transform the role that florals play in weddings and events. In addition to his extensive portfolio, his studio also provides private classes and workshops for emerging floral artists and enthusiasts.

Kristen views floristry as a gateway to a happier more sustainable life that focuses on bridging the gap between nature and modern living. He continues his work towards elevating the artistry of floral design as a fine art while expanding his design portfolio to include gardening, house plants and home decor. 

Wild Bloom design services are available worldwide for weddings, events, workshops, private classes, advertising campaigns, product shoots and fashion featured in print and digital publications.

Season One Trailer of “The Big Flower Fight”

Thanks so much for joining today’s conversation. You can follow Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht on Instagram.

If you’re as eager as I am to see The Big Flower Fight “season two,” be sure to post your favorite photos from the show and tag Netflix, Kristen, and use the hashtag #thebigflowerfight. Let’s do what we can to ensure that the mainstream media continues to provides programming for people like us: lovers of flowers and plants!

The sixth annual American Flowers Week is underway and we have lots of fun content to share with you, socially distanced, of course.

Kim’s peony gown for American Flowers Week 2020

Earlier this week, on Sunday, June 28th, I went LIVE on Facebook to visit Kim Herning of Northern Lights Peonies in Fairbanks, Alaska, as we toured her peony fields and learned more about Kim’s botanical couture peony gown, created for American Flowers Week.

Watch Part One of our Live Interview Here

Watch Part Two of our Live Interview Here

On Monday, June 29th, our social media manager Niesha Blancas brought Filoli Historic Home & Garden to us LIVE via Instagram. That was just one of the stories and videos Niesha captured as our field correspondent. She was at Filoli to commemorate what was to be the 4th annual Slow Flowers Summit. With concerns over travel and large group gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we rescheduled the Slow Flowers Summit to June 28-30, 2021 — the exact same dates one year from now. But thanks to Niesha only living a few hours away from Filoli, she drove to this beautiful location just for us. . . and you can find links to her posts in today’s show notes.

On Tuesday, June 30th, I hosted a group conversation with Tammy Myers of LORA Bloom and her collective of Seattle area florists who collaborated on an American Flowers Week promotion. It was so fun to hear from several of LORA Bloom florists who, like Tammy, are Slow Flowers members. They created this promotion to help raise awareness about the importance of domestic flowers, and to raise funds for important charities — including the Seattle nonprofit Solid Ground.

Watch the LORA Bloom-Slow Flowers LIVE segment here

And more great things continue through July 4th.

You can find the full schedule of activities at americanflowersweek.com. Please join me in sharing your seasonal and local flowers to elevate awareness about domestic flowers. Get involved and support this initiative to promote and educate consumers about the source of their flowers. Download free American Flowers Week graphics, badges and other resources at americanflowersweek.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 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.

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

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

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 620,000 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; Pinky; 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

Revisiting our Stylish Sheds

Thursday, June 11th, 2020

Published in 2008, Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways is more relevant than ever!

In 2008, after a year of scouting the country for “stylish sheds” with my wonderful collaborator, Seattle photographer Bill Wright, and after months of interviewing shed owners, designers and builders, then writing 50k words or some ridiculous amount of text, Clarkson Potter (Random House) published Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways.

We loved that book so much. We loved how beautiful Bill’s photography was, capturing the personalities and stories of each shed owner, not to mention unique geographical and architectural characteristics of each shed. We loved storytelling through my interviews, conversations that dug deep into the psyche of hideaways, retreats and shelters.

Bill and I were truly ahead of our time. We saw around the corner and we believe that Stylish Sheds captured a shift in how people viewed their gardens and the once-neglected huts or sheds that stood there.

Our book documented that lovely shift toward viewing sanctuary not as somewhere you have to travel to, but somewhere that exists just steps away from your backdoor.

Stylish Sheds Well, 2008 was a financial disaster and the bottom fell out of the real estate market. Our timing could not have been predicted. Ten years later, a number of copycat books emerged on the marketplace. And Bill and I just sat their and thought: Wow, we were visionaries! The promotional machine we needed in the lifestyle media marketplace was in its own crisis when Stylish Sheds was published. That was the era when magazines like House & Garden, Cottage Living, Domino and others suddenly folded.

Eventually, nearly 20k copies of Stylish Sheds were shipped to booksellers, more than any other book I ever wrote. But then, it went out of print a few years later. You can still find this special title on your library shelf and through online sellers of used books.

We were quite suprised recently when Lyda Kay Ferree, a lifestyle writer for a group of magazines in the South, contacted us to see if she could excerpt a few of Bill’s photos and interview me for an April 2020 Home & Garden feature for VIP Jackson Magazine and one of its sister publications.

Lyda Kay definitely “gets” this book. When she contacted me to set up the phone interview, she wrote: “I am fortunate to live in an historic district in a 100-year-old home, complete with the original potting shed with brick walls. (It has electricity but no running water.) I had saved an article about your book as I am getting ideas for my potting shed.”

Well, we had a lovely conversation about Stylish Sheds, and Lyda Kay’s article appears here, with photography graciously provided by Bill. Seeing those beautiful and diminutive structures we documented brings back a flood of memories of that year — between summer of 2006 and summer of 2007 — when Bill and I produced 35 photo shoots in 52 weeks.

Itinerant seekers of inspiration, we felt like we were on a treasure hunt, gathering the best tiny architecture and design ideas to share in our book’s pages.

Lyda Kay has shared the PDF of her article and you can download or read it here. We’re so pleased that she reached out and helped to remind us of this special book and the memories of creating it. Thank you, Lyda Kay!

Solidarity and Social Justice

Monday, June 1st, 2020

We are watching our cities in crisis as people struggle for justice during what feels like endless and senseless acts of violence (and worse, murder) against people of color.

There is no other way to say this: The killing of black people by police has to stop.

Until those in white privilege (myself included) address generations of neglect, ignorance, unwillingness to understand, and acceptance of systemic racism in our country. This is the world we brought our children into and this is the world we absolutely have to confront and change.

Along with many friends and colleagues in the Slow Flowers community and the larger horticulture and floriculture community, I feel like I need to do more than speak out. I need to act.

To start, I’ve decided to donate $5,000, all of the Slow Flowers revenue for the month of May, to the Equal Justice Initiative, Bryan Stevenson’s amazing nonprofit legal organization that works in criminal justice reform, racial justice and public education. Based in Montgomery, Alabama, they are literally working on the front lines to end mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenge racial and economic injustice, and to protect basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.

We care about “Stories of Resilience” here, on the podcast and in the larger Slow Flowers community. I thank you for reading this post and encourage you to make a human gesture of support for the marginalized and disenfranchised in your community.

I ask you to join me and find ways to do more than nod or shake your head. I urge you to act in doing this essential work. Let’s do some justice with our flowers. Here is a list of organizations you may wish to consider for your donations, volunteer efforts, and – most importantly – personal education.

This list was compiled by the Slow Flowers Team and will be updated:

Equal Justice Initiative
@eji_org
The Equal Justice Initiative is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.

Campaign Zero
An online platform and organization that utilizes research-based policy solutions to end police brutality in America.

Black Visions Collective
A black, trans, and queer-led organization that is committed to dismantling systems of oppression & violence, & shifting the public narrative to create transformative, long-term change.

We also recommend you use this valuable tool when considering a charity to support. Charity Navigator.

Episode 449: Walt Krukowski of Vermont’s Mountain Flower Farm and his Story of Resilience; plus Lisa Ziegler of The Gardener’s Workshop

Wednesday, April 15th, 2020
Hydrangea harvest with Walt Krukowski of Mountain Flower Farm (c) Taken by Sarah

This is the 350th episode of the Slow Flowers Podcast 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.  

In feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about how the coronavirus pandemic will alter our beloved floral marketplace, perhaps forever, it soon became clear to me that sharing individual stories from our members is one way I could help our community. I don’t have many answers and each voice you hear on the Slow Flowers Podcast may not either, but collectively, as we continue to speak honestly about our challenges and successes, we hope to encourage and support one another.

Walt Krukowski of Mountain Flower Farm, leading a tour of his growing fields in late September 2019 (c) Taken by Sarah

Our featured guest this week is flower farmer-entrepreneur Walt Krukowski of Mountain Flower Farm in Warren, Vermont. Walt joined me via Skype to talk about his amazing farm and I’m honored to add his voice to our Stories of Reslience series.

I met Walt last September when I joined a floral sourcing workshop hosted by Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore and Mary Kate Kinnane of The Local Bouquet. A group of 10 of us gathered for two days of education, including a full day with Walt as he walked us through the beautiful rows of late-summer ornamental crops grown for flowers and foliages. Hydrangeas, viburnum and forsythia for miles, it seemed. A stunning setting and an organic farm where bespoke flowers are grown with care. Sarah Collier of Taken by Sarah photographed the workshop and design sessions and she’s shared some lovely photographs of Walt, his farm and his flowers.

A selection of hydrangeas grown by Walt Krukowski (c) Taken by Sarah

Here’s a bit more about Mountain Flower Farm:
Nestled in The Green Mountains of Vermont’s Mad River Valley, the family farm is focused on quality, sustainability, and community. For over 20 years Mountain Flower Farem have served discerning floral designers nationwide with grower direct overnight shipping. Our reputation has been founded on producing exceptional quality seasonal crops, like Peony, Lilac, Snowball Viburnum, and Hydrangea.

The farm adheres to sustainable agriculture techniques like cover cropping, companion planting, and nurturing beneficial insect habitat to provide the backbone of our #beyondorganic farming operations. Crops are grown in vibrant, healthy soil, with a balanced biological ecosystem, certain to contain abundant nutrients, minerals, and live soil microbes. Chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides are never used.  

Mountain Flower Farm is located in Vermont’s Mad River Valley (c) Taken by Sarah

Mountain Flower Farm’s bloom schedule is delayed by Vermont’s slow-to-come, cooler summers. When most sources for seasonal cuts have finished for the year, Walt and his crew are just getting started! Of particular note, the farm’s peony crop is harvested from mid June – mid July. 

COVID 19’s disruption in our world coincided at almost the same time Walt typically announces Mountain Flower Farm’s seasonal crop availability and opens up the pre-order system for peonies. His communication with his customers via email really struck me as extraordinary and I asked him to join me on the podcast to discuss Mountain Flower Farm’s present, past and future. I know you’ll find it encouraging.

One exquisite bloom (c) Taken by Sarah

Thank you so much for joining me for this special conversation! I believe that now, more than ever, the messages of sustainability and seasonal and locally-available flowers is top of mind — among consumers, flower farmers and florists. Walt wrote this in his first newsletter of the season, dated March 31st: ” . . . one thing for certain is that we will be here toiling away, with our hands in the dirt, flowering fiercely for the future. Mountain Flower Farm is already in action, and we will be here doing whatever it takes to safely put flowers in your hands. Our model of grower direct overnight shipping was made for these times! Social distancing. Door to Door Delivery. Top quality product. Consistency. Value. 

“These are not new themes for us . . . in fact, this is what we have trained for and what we have been streamlining and perfecting for over 20 years! We stand ready to help our customers succeed through challenging times.”

The tour continues with Walt at Mountain Flower Farm (c) Taken by Sarah

Just one week later, he continued the story, and this is what inspired me o invite Walt to share more with you today.

“A week ago, in the midst of great uncertainty, we stuck to our schedule and published this season’s cut flower availability. Sending that email was for me, a moment that I was dreading. Questions and doubts were bountiful. We all know by now, life has been turned upside down. The economy is reeling, and the floral industry is one of many hard hit segments. 

“It brings me incredible comfort and hope to be able to check in today and report that the response we’ve received has been nothing short of incredible. For that, I am absolutely thankful and humbled. Our community is strong. There is hope, not only for @mountainflowerfarm, but for all of us trying to make it through this time. Thank you all for your generous orders. For your faith in our farm, our team, and our collective future. 
One thing that really struck me, that I want to share, is the nature of the orders we received.”

He continued, “As many of you know, we preceded our cut flower inventory release with a sliding scale discount offer created to help floral designers persevere. Customers could choose which level of discount they needed. I was very happy to see people taking advantage of this offer. I was also surprised, when I started to receive orders with notes attached saying ‘Thank you so much for this offer. I don’t need any flowers for my shop, but I’m placing this order for peony roots for our home garden,’ or others saying ‘Thank you for thinking of us florists and trying to help . . . I’ve placed orders for the season, but chose to not use any of the discount offers.'”

Walt Krukowski, presenting at last September’s floral sourcing workshop (c) Taken by Sarah

In the 24 hours after releasing Mountain Flower Farm’s discount offer, Walt received literally hundreds of emails. All of them full of appreciation, hope, and positivity. He responded, writing, “For that, I want to stand on the tallest peak and shout “THANK YOU!!!” “THANK YOU!!!” “THANK YOU!!!”
We’ve come to a point where, it’s really not abount sales or money anymore. It’s about humanity. It’s about hope. It’s about resilience. Like everyone, I have legitimate fear and worry right now. The outpouring of support that has been received this past week has helped to calm my worries and point my focus towards the future. Our floral community is strong. We are all connected, and for that I am absolutely grateful.”

Find and follow Mountain Flower Farm here:

Mountain Flower Farm on Facebook

Mountain Flower Farm on Instagram

Field-grown Tulips
Tulips grown by Gonzalo Ojeda of Ojeda Farms, a farmer I know and trust.

As I said last week, I want the Slow Flowers Podcast to be a companion to those of you in isolation, away from your physical community of peers, neighbors, customers and friends. I hope today’s interview was as inspiring to you as I found it to be for me.

The Gardener’s Workshop Cut Flower Farm: Lisa Ziegler and her family and crew.

Before we wrap today, I want to share a bonus interview with Lisa Ziegler of The Gardener’s Workshop, our newest Slow Flowers Podcast sponsor, announced last week. Lisa is a fellow garden writer, author of Cool Flowers, published by St. Lynn’s Press, the same publisher behind my books, Slow Flowers and The 50 Mile Bouquet. Lisa is a flower farmer, based in Newport News, Virginia, where The Gardener’s Workshop is also home to an online shop offering seeds and supplies for home gardeners and a growing curriculum of online courses for flower farmers and farmer-florists. I invited Lisa to give us an overview and update on The Gardener’s Workshop.

Sign up to be notified about future course releases here

Follow The Gardener’s Workshop on Facebook

The Gardener’s Workshop on Instagram

Thanks so much for joining me today as we heard from two flower farmers who have developed their businesses to reflect their passions and fit their lifestyles. And truly, that is what I wish for each of you and your floral enterprise.

Last week we held our third Virtual Member Meet-Up on April 10th. We had a great group in attendance and I thank you for joining us; A special thank you to Holly Chapple of Chapel Designers, Holly Chapple Flowers and Hope Farm, for her guest appearance to talk about how she is adapting during the Coronavirus. You can find the link to the Zoom replay video here. Thank you to each of you who attended!

Join us! Here is the Zoom Replay Video from April 10th

Please join this week’s Slow Flowers Virtual Meet-Up on Friday, April 17th at 9 am Pacific/Noon Eastern. Please join here. We’ll also share the Zoom Meeting Link in our Instagram Profile and on Facebook (Slow Flowers FB Page and Slow Flowers Community Group).

Thank you to our Sponsors

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.

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  https://shop.syndicatesales.com/.

Rooted Farmers. 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 596,000 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:

Falaal; Heartland Flyer; Gaena; Glass Beads
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