Cosmos, regenerative agriculture, slow flowers, delicate blooms at Molly Oliver Flowers


Happy Friday all… and happy 20th week of the #seasonalflowerproject!! It’s amazing to say / write that! At any give time since May, we’ve had between 45 and 120 members per month. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again – it’s been such a joy to connect with so many people through locally grown flowers!

Cosmos, the featured bloom this week, in so many ways represents why I choose to invest in local flower farms. What sets this project apart is our fierce commitment to locally-grown. Every. Single. Purchase. since May has supported a small farm within 200 miles of NYC, often much closer. We can feature delicate blooms like Cosmos because we are so close the source – the farm where they are grown – and because they can be transported in water from field to studio within a couple hours.

Can you imagine a flower like this holding up in overseas shipments? Like many a delicate flower, Cosmos are not designed for all that handling and time out of water. This is why you’d rarely, if ever, see a true gem like Cosmos for sale at your local supermarket or bodega in today’s globalized economy.

80%+ of the flowers we buy in the US are grown abroad. Those flowers have been carefully selected and groomed for overseas transport – i.e. for durability and longevity. Think Chrysanthemums, Goldenrod, standard Roses, Hypericum berry… So yes, these tough blooms can last a good while, if they’re relatively fresh and well cared for at their retail location. However, the trade off is that we miss out on the diversity of flowers, as well as so many aromas and textures offered by the more delicate blooms. We miss out on whole MOODs. Cosmos are a mood. To me, their spirit conjures whimsy, carefreeness, quiet, positivity, and inspiration…

All this to say, I choose to buy and support local. Not merely because I spent 15 years as a grower. I believe that investing in local food and flower farms, and in local agriculture period, is the only true path out of the climate change nightmare we’ve been experiencing in greater and greater intensity since I was a kid.

Mother Earth began with whispers, that grew into yells. Now, with the most destructive wild fires the west has ever seen, on top of a horrific global pandemic fueled by globalization, urbanization and poor nutrition, she is screaming.

Regenerative agriculture, as people like to call it now, refers a handful of practices that protect and build healthy soil across the millions of acres of farmland on Earth. These practices collectively aim to build and keep Carbon in the ground, through use of less-intensive tillage practices in agriculture, crop rotation, cover cropping, and more. It was in fact the development of agriculture (and land clearing) roughly 12,000 years ago that led to carbon dioxide first being released. 20-30% of greenhouse gasses are caused by industrial agriculture these days. That’s a big chunk!

For a long time now, I’ve been thinking about how we can reverse some of the damage done to our planet through changing the way we farm our food. Of course this goes for flower farms, too! Most of the farmers I purchase flowers from – if not all – approach their farms with a low-till mindset. They rotate crops, plant cover crops to give back to their soils and to prevent off-gassing and erosion, and generally think about the planet every step of the way through their 12 month farming calendar. If you’re interested to read more on the solution to climate change through regenerative agriculture, head to the Rodale Institute here.

Thank you for supporting the Seasonal Flower Project these past 4 and a half months – it literally means the world!

September 11, 2020 — Molly Culver

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