Debra Prinzing

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Episode 501: The Wild Mother of Oklahoma City, on floral art, activism and storytelling. Meet floral siblings Lauren Palmer, Leah Palmer and Callie Palmer

Wednesday, April 14th, 2021
the wild mother team
The Wild Mother Creative Studio, based in Oklahoma City; from left, Callie Palmer (seated, left); Lauren Palmer (standing) and Leah Palmer (seated, right) | All photography (c) Rachel Maucieri @maucierivisualsco

Today, I have a very special episode for you and I’m thrilled to share it! Please meet the three siblings who together are called The Wild Mother: Leah Palmer, Lauren Palmer and Callie Palmer. They are based in Oklahoma City and call their enterprise a Creative Studio, which encompasses their tagline “More than Just Flowers.”

flowers and designers
The Creative Studio is multidisciplinary and collaborative across other art forms, most often expressed to the public through floral design

Here’s a bit of an introduction, adapted from their website’s “About” page:

The Wild Mother Creative Studio is owned by Afro-Indigenous sisters and floral artists Lauren Palmer and Leah Palmer, located in the heart of Arts district, Downtown, OKC. Their love and honor of culture, storytelling, and their affinity for natural elements and color theory lend themselves to producing their “Floral Stories.” It’s an added bonus that they get to work alongside their younger sister, Callie. The Wild Mother’s offerings include full service wedding and event floral, curbside carryout floral for large-scale events, and holiday floral offering.

the wild mother in studio
The Wild Mother women and their studio space, based in the Oklahoma City Arts District

The Wild Mother has positioned their entire business as a legacy project—using flowers and floral art installations to heal their lineage forwards and backwards; to send honor to their ancestors whose experiences in America were tragic; and to build a world for their future descendants that is more beautiful, more equitable, and more just.

I first learned about The Wild Mother from Susan McLeary who encouraged me to attend a free webinar hosted by the studio at the beginning of this year. Called “More than Just Flowers,” the webinar was outlined as: A Panel Discussion for Creatives on Building Affirming, Equitable and Just Brands. Moderated by Leah and Lauren, with help from Callie, the session covered meaningful representation in the wedding & creative industry; a discussion of exploitation versus appreciation; goals for building an anti-racist brand and considerations for BIPOC clients. 

A number of floral community voices participated, including Sue McLeary and Kristin Griffith-VanderYacht, who you’ve met here on the Slow Flowers Podcast. Other panelists included a number of people from related disciplines such as event planning, marketing and branding and fine art curation. It was a powerful gathering with honest and open dialogue designed to inspire and challenge attendees who want to be intentional and inclusive with the way they shows up in the world.

Next, The Wild Mother launched The Lay of the Land, an online course for creatives interested in digging deeper in the topic of building an affirming, equitable and just brand.


send flowers to greenwood social media graphics

I’m eager for you to meet Leah, Lauren and Callie. One of the reasons I asked them to join me today was to introduce their upcoming project called Send Flowers to Greenwood. This is an ambitious series of floral installations that will commemorate the Greenwood Massacre of 1921.  Oklahomans and the rest of country are only now beginning to acknowledge what took place 100 years ago in Tulsa, when the vibrant, successful Black-owned Greenwood District, known as “Black Wall Street,” was destroyed and many of the people who lived there lost their homes, businesses, and lives due to an attack by Klan members and others who wanted to eliminate the existence of brown and black people in their city.

send flowers to greenwood graphics

Taking place at the end of May, The Wild Mother’s  #SendFlowersToGreenwood will be both a virtual and physical outpouring of love, light, and life for Greenwood Tulsa and the descendants of victims of the Greenwood Massacre of 1921.

Wow. Just wow. I’m so pleased we had this conversation today and I  thank you for joining us. There are so many small and large ways to get involved and support The Wild Mother and Send Flowers to Greenwood you can find those details in our show notes.

donate to send flowers to greenwood

The Wild Mother encourages all of us to post images of flowers on social media from May 10 through June 7 and dedicate that post with the hashtag #sendflowerstogreenwood. I love this pure gesture of respect and humanity and I am eager to participate. I hope you will, too.

Find and follow The Wild Mother at these social places:
The Wild Mother on Instagram

The Wild Mother on Facebook


Join me for a BONUS Slow Flowers Event on April 16th

Ellen Frost

A couple of other Slow Flowers opportunities are coming right up. On Friday, April 16th, we have a BONUS Meet-Up scheduled at 9 am Pacific/Noon Eastern with Ellen Frost of Local Color Flowers. The topic: Domestic Flower Sourcing Strategies When Supplies are Limited. Considering the current panic around floral availability and product supply-chain in the floral industry, Ellen and The Gardeners’ Workshop are reintroducing their online course Ellen “Growing Your Business With Local Flower Sourcing” and in anticipation, Ellen is joining Slow Flowers this Friday to answer your questions about flower sourcing when supplies are limited.

The names of all Slow Flowers members who attend will be entered into a drawing for one free registration to the course (valued at $495) which begins April 26th. Ellen has added new content to the 2021 curriculum, including a Bonus Session: “What we can do NOW during this unprecedented global flower shortage.”


By the way, if you missed last week’s April Meet-Up on Sustainable Floral Design with Tobey Nelson and Becky Feasby, you can find the replay video above. On EARTH DAY, Thursday, April 22nd, I’ll host an interactive Q&A with these two passionate women as part of an IG Live session about sustainable floristry at noon Pacific/3 pm Eastern. You’re invited to join us there!


Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 850 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.

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.

For each Podcast episode this year, we will also thank three of our Major Sponsors. Our first thanks goes to 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.

Our next sponsor thanks goes to 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.

Our final sponsor thanks goes to 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.


Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 714,000 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


(c) Mary Grace Long Photograph

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more Slow 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:

For We Shall Know Speed; Turning on the Lights; 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 500: Celebrating Episode 500 and the publication of Where We Bloom, with BLOOM Imprint’s Robin Avni and designer Cynthia Zamaria of Toronto’s House & Flower

Wednesday, April 7th, 2021
Here’s the COVER with the book jacket flap fully opened to reveal Cynthia Zamaria’s charming floral studio. (c) Robin Stubbert

Welcome to a very special episode of the Slow Flowers Podcast — Episode 500 — in our weekly podcast series about Slow Flowers and the people who grow and design with them. Since we launched this special program in July 2013, I have regularly featured the voices of influencers, stylemakers, pioneers and heroes in the Slow Flowers Movement — and today we celebrate an impressive milestone with Episode 500!

Meet Cynthia Zamaria, looking so content in her creative space, featured in Where We Bloom (c) Robin Stubbert

It’s been a busy and exciting week here at the Slow Flowers Society! In January, I introduced you to creative director Robin Avni, my partner and co-founder of BLOOM Imprint, the book publishing branch of Slow Flowers Society. You can listen to our conversation from January’s Episode 490 here, in which we discuss the goal of telling stories by and about Slow Flowers members through the medium of books!

BLOOM Imprint’s first title is at the printer right now and we can’t wait to tell you all about it. Where We Bloom is an information and idea-packed volume filled with 37 intimate and inspiring floral studios, workshops, storefronts and growing spaces like greenhouses and barns — all home to creative floral enterprises of Slow Flowers members.

You may have seen the cover art because I’ve shared a few sneak peeks across social media and in Slow Flowers’ newsletter, but today I’m excited to introduce you to the woman responsible for the delightfully engaging space featured as our cover destination to illustrate the concept of Where We Bloom.

Please meet Cynthia Zamaria, Toronto-based designer, flower grower and stylist whose studio is called Cynthia Zamaria House & Flower. Cynthia will share a bit about her journey with flowers and the three of us will discuss the central themes of Where We Bloom, about which I write in the introduction:

  • The importance of devoting space to the pursuit of one’s art
  • The way environments can inspire individual expression and reflect one’s aesthetic style
  • The ways one’s studio or workshop can inspire the senses.

There is also the intangible feeling of security and comfort that creative individuals may feel when they can escape to a destination where their ideas flourish and, yes, blossom!

Debra Prinzing, where we bloom

Let me tell you a bit more about Robin and Cynthia:

Based in Gig Harbor, Washington, Robin Avni is a creative veteran in the media + high-tech industries. Her experience includes more than 15 years in the publishing industry and eight years at Microsoft in design and creative management. She has successfully managed innovative, award-winning design teams and high-profile projects as well as received numerous national design awards and photo editing honors for her own work. Robin has produced 10 books, including collaborating with Debra on the Slow Flowers Journal.  

Robin Avni, co-founder and creative director of BLOOM Imprint

In 2004, following Microsoft, she founded bricolage*, a consultancy specializing in creative strategy, content development, and trend analysis for home + garden. She has worked with Fortune 500 companies, national advertising agencies and award-winning media properties, applying timely actionable insights to their businesses. ​

Robin received a BA in journalism from Indiana University, Bloomington and a Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellowship at the University of Michigan; she holds a Master of Communication in Digital Media from the University of Washington. 

Find and follow Robin Avnia & BLOOM Imprint at these social places

Robin Avni on Instagram

BLOOM Imprint on Instagram


Cynthia Zamaria (c) Lisa MacIntosh

Based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Cynthia Zamaria is an interior and floral designer known for character-filled spaces and carefree flower displays. With an infectious creative spirit and a belief that we all need more beautiful in our lives, Cynthia shares inspiration as an interior and floral editorial stylist, content contributor, writer and workshop teacher. Her work is regularly featured in leading lifestyle media. ​

An advocate of the Slow Flower Movement, Cynthia sustainably grows small-batch speciality blooms and designs unfussy seasonal arrangements. This soulful aesthetic spills into Cynthia’s interiors which are true-to-the-space, trendless mash-ups of scale, texture and colour.​

Cynthia and her husband Graham Loughton share a passion for saving forgotten houses and have restored a range of period properties. A former public relations executive, Cynthia now devotes her time to family and creative projects from her home base in Toronto.

Find and follow Cynthia Zamaria at these social places:

Cynthia Zamaria on Facebook

Cynthia Zamaria on Instagram

Cynthia Zamaria on Pinterest


Sneak peek to more inside pages:

“Modern Homestead,” owned by Lori Poliski of Flori (c) Missy Palacol
“Backyard Room of her Own,” owned by Maura Whalen of Casablanca Floral
(c) Alessandra Brescia
“Arizona in Bloom,” owned by Aishah Lurry of Patagonia Flower Farm (c) Kayla Simpson Lewis
“Living Among the Lavender,” owned by Jennifer and Adam O’Neal of PepperHarrow
(c) PepperHarrow

Thanks so much for joining me today. You can pre-order a signed copy of Where We Bloom at BLOOMImprint.com and we are offering bulk discounts to retailers — so reach out if you’re interested in quantities. Don’t forget to join Robin and me, along with many of the talented Slow Flowers members featured in Where We Bloom at our Virtual Book Launch party on Tuesday, April 27th at 4 pm Pacific/7pm Eastern. We’ll be sharing some giveaways and introducing you to a few creatives featured in our pages. Join us via this link!

If you’re in the Seattle area, please come out and say hello, at two upcoming booksigning events — we’ll be wearing our masks and observing careful social-distancing practices! On May 1st, 2-4 p.m., Gillian Mathews and Ravenna Gardens, Seattle’s boutique home and garden emporium, will host a signing and we expect that some of the creatives featured in Where We Bloom will join us! On May 8th, 1-3 p.m., we’ll be at PaperDelights in Burien, just outside Seattle, where we are joining Teresa Rao of Belle Petale at her Mother’s Day floral popup. Teresa is featured in the pages of Where We Bloom so we’re thrilled to share this event with her!

To find out what’s next for BLOOM Imprint, sign up for our newsletter and follow us on social media – I’ll have the links for you in today’s show notes. Later this year, BLOOM Imprint will publish two exciting books by Slow Flowers members. First, we’ll release an essential guide to rose growing from Felicia Alvarez of Menagerie Farm + Floral; and then we’ll publish Holly Chapple’s long-awaited first book, A Life in Flowers. And we have four other titles in the catalog for 2022, including as you heard, Cynthia Zamaria’s book, House & Flower. What a dynamic lineup of creativity!


Above: Tobey Nelson (left) and Becky Feasby (right),
photographed at the 2019 Sustainable Flowers Workshop Photos by Ian Gregory: @ianmgregory

And save the date for this Friday’s April member meet-up for the Slow Flowers Community. That’s right, on Friday, April 9th, join our monthly meet-up via Zoom. The time is always 9 am Pacific/Noon Eastern. This month, we welcome two Slow Flowers leaders who will share their approach to Sustainable Floral Design and green practices. Learn more about the definition of “sustainability” in floral design and gain insights about how you can adapt your floral enterprise to be safe, healthy and beautiful!.
You’ll learn from Tobey Nelson of Tobey Nelson Events & Design and Sustainable Floral Design (Whidbey Island, Washington) and Becky Feasby of Prairie Girl Flowers and Sustainable Flowers Workshop (Calgary, Alberta, Canada). You can find the Zoom link to join us in today’s show notes and come prepared to ask your important questions about this important shift in floristry. We’ll have some fun giveaways, and you might win one of our drawings! See you there!

Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 850 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.

For each Podcast episode this year, we will also thank three of our Major Sponsors:
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.com.

Red Twig Farms, based in Johnstown, Ohio. Red Twig Farms is a family-owned farm specializing in peonies, daffodils, tulips and branches, a popular peony-bouquet-by-mail program and their Spread the Hope Campaign where customers purchase 10 tulip stems for essential workers and others in their community. Learn more at redtwigfarms.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.


Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 711,000 times by listeners like you. We wrapped up the month of March with 13.5k downloads — wow — that’s the highest in the past year. 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 Slow 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:

One Little Triumph; Turning on the Lights; Color Country; Loopy; 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 493: What is Fleurvana? Join Debra Prinzing’s Conversation with co-founders Shawn Michael Foley and Gina Thresher

Wednesday, February 17th, 2021

My conversation with today’s guests is helping me to turn my gaze to spring 2021, with a new version of the Fleurvana Online Summit, a multi-day online floral conference that Shawn Michael Foley and Gina Thresher debuted in August of 2020. I’ll tell you more about them before we jump to the full episode, but first, the headlines:

This is the third Fleurvana conference and the theme is “Regeneration and Sustainability,” entirely fitting for a new year and a new season of growth. Fleurvana is dedicated to producing easy-to-obtain education in floral design, business, marketing and other creative topics. Launched with a mission to help fellow florists and designers during the COVID-19 Global Pandemic in 2020, Fleurvana continues to share a virtual beacon of hope for this profession. And moving into 2021, the series continues with a goal of regeneration, rebuilding and sharing inspiration with others — connected through a mutual love of flowers.

With more than 20 presentations from leaders in the floral industry and related fields, the upcoming Fleurvana takes place online, March 5-7. Read on to learn how you can sign up for a FREE registration ticket and enter our book giveaway!

Shawn Michael Foley (left) and Gina Thresher (right)

Here’s a bit more about Shawn and Gina:
Shawn Michael Foley is a floral artist, life coach, photographer, and transformational author who helps designers and creatives navigate through their career and personal roadblocks. Shawn has been in the floral industry for over fourteen years, and his floral art is internationally recognized and published. He has worked heavily in the wedding and event industry and has designed and worked on hundreds of weddings.

Shawn is an accredited member of AIFD and PFCI. He is well known for his Human Form Project, an anthology showcasing unique and sensual floral designs enhancing the natural beauty of the human body. He was also selected as one of the 2016 Mayesh Design Stars. He has presented, showcased and taught on both national and international platforms to the design community including State Associations, The Philadelphia International Flower Show, AIFD National Symposium and his own high-level workshops.

By fusing his floral design background and his Reiki Master Teacher training, Shawn created his coaching platform the Artistic Journey, which guides creative minds to re-fall in love with their art and their business. He now lives in Fort Worth, TX, where his design and coaching practice is based.

Shawn is joined by Gina Thresher of From the Ground Up Floral. She’s a returning guest of this Podcast, and a Slow Flowers member who is accredited by AIFD and EMC, European Masters Certification. Gina co-created Fleurvana with Shawn and has collaborated on the development and curriculum of the conference series, as well as presented at each of them.

The Journey from Blog to Book: with Debra Prinzing (left) and Robin Avni (right)

I credit Gina for inviting me to join Fleurvana as an instructor and Regeneration will be my third appearance in this unique educational format. As I mentioned, I’m super excited for you to join the course Robin Avni and I are co-presenting: The Journey From Blog to Book. 

BLOOM Imprint is the floral book publishing arm of Slow Flowers!

The course is designed for every creative person we’ve met who dreams of sharing their art, craftsmanship and aesthetic in a book. As a tangible “artifact,” there is amazing social validation that comes with having a book about your work. A book can narrate your story, teach your concepts and document your work. We believe successful books are driven by a Passion that answers the following: What are you compelled to share? What do you have to offer that will make the world a better place? What is your unique point of view? This course will introduce you to the basic checklist to guide you through our book development idea process and cover our Visual & Verbal Storytelling philosophy at BLOOM Imprint.

The first 10 listeners who register for a Free Ticket to attend Fleurvana will receive a signed copy of Shawn Michael Foley’s new book, I Just Want To Design: The Designer’s Survival Guide to Falling in Love with Your Business.

We will run that promotion through Sunday, February 28th and announce the winners on March 3rd, right before the next Fleurvana Virtual Summit begins.

And as Shawn and Gina discussed, you can attend Fleurvana LIVE for free if you register via the course ticket link in my show notes. Those free sessions are open only for a small window each day of the conference, so if you think you want to enjoy at your leisure, you can purchase the VIP bundle for a modest amount. That gives you all-access to the 20+ presentations but an invitation to an exclusive Q&A roundtable with instructors each day, March 5-7. I hope to see you there!


Last week, we hosted Sean and Allison McManus of Spoken Garden and authors of The First-Time Gardener: Growing Plants and Flowers. We invited listeners to share their comments following the show notes at debraprinzing.com for episode 492 and all those who took the time to comment were entered into a drawing for a giveaway of The First Time Gardener. We had a random drawing of names and our winner is: Leigh James, who wrote this: “I wish I had known about propagation earlier. I could’ve had so many more plants by now.”

Ah, so true, Leigh! Thanks to Quarto Books for the donation and we’ll get your address to them this week!


Thank you to our Sponsors!

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 830 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.

For each Podcast episode this year, we will also thank three of our Major Sponsors:

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.

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.

Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 691,000 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 Slow 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:

Daymaze; Highride; Vienna Beat; Turning On the Lights; 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 492: For Beginning Flower Gardeners, a conversation with authors and podcasters Allison and Sean McManus of Spoken Garden

Wednesday, February 10th, 2021

GIVEAWAY Details Below — Share a Comment and Your Name Will Be Added to the Drawing for The First-Time Gardener: Growing Plants and Flowers 

I don’t know about you, but I’ve got spring gardening on my mind! The hellebores are already blooming; the daffodil bulbs are pushing out of the soil an inch or so. I can even see the tiniest bump of my peonies’ deep maroon tips at the crown of each plant. So, sure we’re still 39 days until spring arrives, but who’s going to let the calendar hold us back, right?

A major spring ritual for me has always been participation in local and national garden and flower festivals. Sadly, this year, the closest thing to an indoor spring garden show is going to be over Zoom. Gain inspiration from the replay video of our February 5th Slow Flowers Member Virtual Meet-up, featuring two of our members who are major hellebore experts.

Thank you to Pam Youngsman of Poppy Starts Inc. and Riz Reyes of RHR Horticulture for a fantastic presentation. They share volumes about what to grow, how to grow, how and when to harvest and how to design with hellebores.

Sean McManus and Allison McManus of Spoken Garden

Another perennial ritual of spring is the arrival of a new crop of gardening books. Here at Slow Flowers Podcast, we know we have as many gardener-florists as farmer-florists who listen and learn. And today, I’m happy to welcome first-time authors, Sean and Allison McManus of Spoken Garden. This talented husband-wife duo are busy behind the microphone and camera, teaching ornamental gardening to beginning and curious home gardeners. They have spent the past year writing The First-Time Gardener: Growing Plants and Flowers 

The book will be released in March and one lucky listener will win a copy for their bookshelf! Listen to the end of the episode to hear how to add your name to our random drawing and giveaway.

Sean and Allison are the gardening pros behind the popular website, YouTube channel and podcast Spoken Garden. They offer clear, fact-based information, presented in a friendly and accessible way. With step-by-step instructions and full-color illustrations, new gardeners will learn how to select, plant and tend for outdoor plants, the best techniques, how to mulch correctly, pruning do’s and don’ts, tips for effective, eco-friendly gardening, and much more.

Peek inside the pages of their new book:

Here’s a little bit more about Sean and Allison:

Sean has a Master’s in Environmental Horticulture from Washington State University and possesses several other horticulture, landscaping, or gardening-related certificates. Sean has over 8 years of experience in Industrial Garden Maintenance and 12+ years operating a private landscape and consulting company. With over two decades in the field, he dreams to fulfill his lifelong passion for educating others about horticulture and gardening.

Allison has a Master’s in Teaching and is a National Board certified middle school science educator. Through trial and error over the past 10+ years, she has successfully maintained several vegetable gardens and beds full of flowers. She loves attracting all kinds of pollinators and is proud of the fact that their yard is a Certified Wildlife Habitat. She has a passion for photography, animals, writing, traveling, creating content, and lifelong learning.

You can learn more from this talented duo by subscribing to the Spoken Garden Podcast.

and watch their Daily Garden Content on Spoken Garden’s YouTube Channel.

Sign up for Sean and Allison’s 30-day Garden Bootcamp.

Find Spoken Garden on Facebook

Follow Spoken Garden on Instagram

I know you’ll enjoy their story and be inspired to add to your ornamental garden this spring. Thanks so much for joining me today as Sean and Allison McManus shared their encouragement for beginning gardeners, and actually anyone who wants to develop a more enriching and fulfilling ornamental garden! If you want to be added to the giveaway drawing for their new book, The First-Time Gardener: Growing Plants and Flowers , be sure to post a comment in the show notes below — please share what did you wish you knew when you were a beginning gardener?


Coming up on Thursday, February 18th at 2 pm Eastern, Slow Flowers is teaming up with Johnny’s Selected Seeds to produce a free webinar for flower farmers, farmer-florists and floral designers interested in knowing more about our Floral Insights and Industry Forecast for 2021.

I’ll be joining Johnny’s flower team, Hillary Alger and Joy Longfellow, as we dive into current and upcoming themes in the floral marketplace. We will review four of the top Insights from the Slow Flowers 2021 Forecast and hear more from Hillary, who will share findings from Johnny’s recent survey of flower seed customers — commercial cut flower farmers. We’ll share a nice back-and-forth discussion and as a bonus, Hillary plans to share an update about seed supply and new floral variety breeding programs. You may already have registered – and if so, I’ll see you there. As of today’s air date, the event may be full, but Johnny’s will have a complete recording available on Monday, February 22nd — and I’ll share it with you in a future episode.


And registration is open for the Fleurvana Virtual Summit (March 5th-7th), focusing on Sustainability and Regeneration, which also takes place online. Robin Avni, my partner in BLOOM Imprint, have developed a new course for aspiring floral book authors with a presentation called The Journey From Blog to Book. Our course is designed for every creative person we’ve met dreams of sharing their art, craftsmanship and aesthetic in a book.  Registration is free and there are also options to purchase larger packages.


Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 830 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.

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 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.


Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 688,000 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 Slow 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:

Horizon Liner; These Times; Turning On the Lights; 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 490: The launch of BLOOM Imprint, Slow Flowers’ new publishing venture, with co-founders Debra Prinzing and Robin Avni

Wednesday, January 27th, 2021

It’s a very exciting day for Slow Flowers and this episode is devoted to some BIG NEWS. I’m thrilled to tell you all about it! I’ve invited Robin Avni, past guest of this podcast, to join me as together we tell you all about our new collaboration — the formation of a boutique book publishing project called BLOOM Imprint.

Debra Prinzing (left) and Robin Avni (right)

BLOOM Imprint emerges from our 15-year professional relationship and friendship. A decade ago, Robin and I collaborated with a talented group of women on a multi-year content and lifestyle consulting project, “Real Women, Real Life.” During that time, we also teamed up to give a presentation on The Female Gardener: Mommy to Maven for the Independent Garden Center Show and co-authored white papers and trend reports about female consumers. 

Fast-forward to 2019-2020, when Robin and I produced Slow Flowers Journal – Volume One, a compendium of the “best of” editorial stories and imagery featured in the “Slow Flowers Journal” section of Florists’ Review magazine. That’s where I previously served as contributing editor and Robin served as managing editor of books, producing 10 book titles related to the floral industry.

We’re announcing the launch of BLOOM Imprint today, with me serving as editorial director and Robin serving as creative director. This venture is committed to developing books that express visual and verbal storytelling in equal measures. By pairing my love of the written word and editorial narrative and Robin’s visually strong creative direction talent, we are pretty jazzed about what we have in store for sharing the people, places, flowers and art of our Slow Flowers Community through a new lineup of books.

Read our Press Announcement Here:


Where We Bloom: Our first title

We believe that “setting” is an important facet to making art — and nothing could be truer for floral designers and floral artists. This book profiles the people, art and creative work spaces of designers and makers.

The subtitle is: Thirty-Six Intimate, Inventive and Artistic Studio Spaces Where Floral Passions Find a Place to Blossom

Step inside the personal environments where flowers come to life. “Where We Bloom” showcases beautiful plant- and flower-filled settings of Slow Flowers designers, farmer-florists and growers. Each setting reflects the personality and aesthetic style of its owner, offering great ideas to inspire the design, decor, organization, and of course, functionality of your creative space.

Publication Date: April 2021
Pre-ordering information will be shared soon!


Between us, Robin and I have produced and published more than 20 lifestyle, design, architecture, floral and gardening titles. We formed BLOOM Imprint as a boutique publishing company with the mission of identifying creative entrepreneurial book ideas and growing them — from the seed of an initial concept to a finished product. As we publish new authors and consult with aspiring ones, we believe that producing a book is ultimately one of the most affordable marketing endeavors available to creatives.

From our “Who We Are” page on BLOOMImprint.com — learn about our backgrounds and experiences, and read what people say about working with us!

Let me tell you a little more about Robin Avni and then we’ll jump right in and get started:

A creative veteran in the media + high-tech industries, Robin’s experience includes 15+ years in the publishing industry and eight years at Microsoft in design and creative management. She has successfully managed innovative, award-winning design teams and high-profile projects as well as receiving numerous national design and photography editing awards for her own work. Robin has produced 10 books, including collaborating with Debra on the Slow Flowers Journal. 

In 2004, following Microsoft, she founded bricolage*, a consultancy specializing in creative strategy, content development, and arts advocacy. She has worked with Fortune 500 companies, national advertising agencies and award-winning media properties, applying timely actionable insights to their businesses.  ​Robin received a BA in journalism from Indiana University, Bloomington and a Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellowship at the University of Michigan; she holds a Master of Communication in Digital Media from the University of Washington. 

Listen to my December 2018 Slow Flowers Podcast Episode with Robin — a segment called “How creatives can be authentic in a digital age.”

Anticipation! Here are our first five books in the BLOOM Imprint catalog, with titles from Debra Prinzing, Felicia Alvarez, Holly Heider Chapple, Teresa J. Speight and Cynthia Zamaria!

Thanks so much for joining Robin Avni and me as we shared a conversation about BLOOM Imprint.

Follow BLOOM Imprint at these social places:

BLOOM Imprint on Instagram

BLOOM Imprint on Facebook

BLOOM Imprint on Pinterest

Listen to our fun Floral-Inspired Playlist, created to commemorate the launch of BLOOM Imprint.

And remember, you can join us at the Fleurvana Virtual Summit March 5-7, focusing on Sustainability and Regeneration, where Robin and I will present an original new course, From Blog to Book Proposal. The course is designed for every creative person we’ve met dreams of sharing their art, craftsmanship and aesthetic in a book. As a tangible “artifact,” there is amazing social validation that comes with having a book about your work. A book can narrate your story, teach your concepts and document your work. We believe successful books are driven by a Passion that answers the following: What are you compelled to share? What do you have to offer that will make the world a better place? What is your unique point of view?


Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 830 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.

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.

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.


Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 683,000 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 here 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 Slow 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:

Heartland Flyer; Turning On the Lights; 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 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 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

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.