Beginning Wednesday June 28th, #slowflorists and #farmerflorists around the country will be celebrating #americanslowflowersweek, a promotional campaign to raise awareness about buying local flowers grown here in the US. I want to thank Ecocult and The Good Trade for shouting out ‘sustainable’ florists in the Brooklyn area, who are working to support local growers, and as an indirect but hopeful result, our local economy and the earth. If you’re looking for a “slow florist,” here are two great sources:
The first is Ecocult’s roundup of “The Best Sustainable Wedding Florists in NYC.” I had the pleasure of designing flowers for Ecocult founder Alden Wicker’s wedding this past April! We had actually met as a result of Debra Prinzing‘s Slow Flowers gathering in 2014 in Brooklyn. So how about that for coming full circle? If you don’t know Ecocult, you need to! I head there for all kinds of practical info on sustainable fashion, recycling, composting and lots more green living tips!
The Good Trade also came out with a well timed article earlier this week: “5 Sustainable NYC Florists for Showstopping and Ecoconscious Bouquets” – so exciting to see slow flowers making the social media feeds in a big way just in time for Slow Flowers week!
Why “slow” flowers, you might be wondering? There are lots of great reasons… just read back through my Slow Flowers for Valentines Day post for some.
When I began learning how to farm flowers in earnest, in 2008, at 26, I joined a relatively small but incredibly talented contingent of surviving domestic flower growers — flower farms around the country that hadn’t succumbed to the global market forces that allowed cheap flowers to flood the local market and undercut prices. As you might have learned by now, 80% of the flowers we have access to purchase here in the US are imported from countries overseas” in the US, primarily Ecuador and Columbia, but also as far afield as South America, Japan, Vietnam and elsewhere. Of course, that doesn’t make those foreign flowers bad – in fact, they’re quite amazing. One stroll down 28th Street in New York City is a testimony to the incredible skill of flower growers around the world. As a result, the flowers we see in our corner stores, supermarkets and most florist shops have that impeccable (almost too perfect, in IMHO) look to them. They’re nice, but somehow not as transcendent as those fresh garden roses, complete with their intoxicating aroma and thorns that we see in a neighbor’s garden plot or the Brooklyn Botani’s Rose Garden. We don’t know who grew these stems; we often don’t know what conditions workers were in; and we often can’t tell whether those flowers were grown using organic or sustainable methods.
While the US used to have a thriving local flower economy – (yes, even here in New York State, mostly in eastern Long Island and in the surrounding tri-state area), most of us probably do not have a connection to a local flower farmer, much like how the majority of people living in this country are likely unable to afford or purchase fresh food directly from a local farm. Access to fresh, nutritious food has become a luxury. Access to organic food has become even more of a luxury, when farming without synthetic chemicals used to be the norm… And as many have felt the urge to reconnect with soil and our food in our highly industrialized and digitized society, so too have some farmers, florists and conscious consumers begun to work to raise their voices and raise awareness about the option of buying local stems. I began doing events and weddings in 2011, and found a need to offer a locally sourced option to the design world.