Hi, I’m Molly. (Oliver is my middle name.)
I am 42 years old, born in Hartford, CT, and a New Yorker since 1999.
People, soil, and plants have been the connective tissues through my webbed explorations in farming, flowers, and teaching, since 2005. Values of equity, inclusion, sustainability and loving kindness, exemplified in nature, are my daily aspirations.
I found my way to flowers through organic farming starting in my early 20s. A year spent in South America after college, and several years working for an environmental justice non-profit in the South Bronx sharpened my understanding of how racial inequities show up in public health, treatment of the environment, education, housing, and food systems. Sustainable farming - and equitable access to food - became the nexus where I channeled my passion for building a more sustainable world.
In 2008, I moved to Santa Cruz, CA where I studied organic farming formally at UCSC, and then informally through work on a certified organic farm for 2 seasons.
I launched Molly Oliver Flowers (MOF) out of my apartment in 2011 in Brooklyn. The first 8 years of running this business, I worked simultaneously as a farm manager and educator at a 1-acre educational farm in Crown Heights. I continued to be deeply immersed in growing flowers, selling and marketing flowers to community consumers, restaurants, and florists, while teaching adults the ins and outs of producing food and flowers using sustainable practices. In 2019, after 15 consecutive growing seasons, I 'retired' from farming and went full time with Molly Oliver Flowers. It's been really fulfilling to continue to champion sustainability and local flowers, and to appreciate how nice it is to focus your energy in one direction.
The MOF team is made up of a diverse group of talented floral artists. Each brings a strong array of skills to the table; most have other artistic and professional passions and pursuits. We feed off of each other, and the work we produce is reflective of our collaboration and teamwork. We marry strong organization and communication skills with a fierce commitment to locally-sourced flowers and strong sustainable practices embedded along all phases of the farm to table design continuum.
Roles: Farm Liaison, Subscription Production Assistant, Studio Manager,
3 words to describe your personal style: Crafty, unbothered, botanical
What drew you to flowers: I grew up in Maine, picking summer wildflowers and learning about plants around me. I love working with my hands and I love touching fresh things, and making the world more beautiful (shoutout to the book Miss Rumphius for instilling this in me at a young age!)
Favorite flower so far this year: My favorite flower is the lilac— they have the best smell, and so much variety! I’m drawn to any plant with lots of little blossoms— Lupines, Foxgloves, Lily of the Valley, Hyacinths, you name it!
What you're enjoying about your job: I love so much about this job-- meeting new flower varieties every week, driving out of the city and seeing the hills and fields and farms just a few hours away, listening to our various podcasts in the studio while we all chat and process and bundle flowers, eating Bjorn Corn...It's hard to pick a favorite part.
Current listen, read or podcast: I just finished the Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion and I’m a religious Normal Gossip listener— we usually have the latest episode playing while we bundle flowers on Tuesdays in the studio.
Role: Sustainable Breakdown Captain
3 words to describe your personal style: Queer Maximalist Mechanic
What drew you to flowers: Most lines of work have a lot of negative externalities for the world. Working with flowers really maximizes beauty and joy without harming people or the planet, and keeps us in better contact with the wondrous Earth. Plus I get to give beautiful bouquets to all the old grannies and grandpas in my building.
Favorite flower so far this year: Peonies! Big as your whole head!
What you're enjoying about your job: I love getting to connect with the staff at all the venues we work with, getting to brighten up people’s evenings with beautiful flowers to take home, and getting to make the flower studio a more organized, usable, delightful space to work in.
Time offsite: I’m a long-time bike mechanic and educator, and am writing a bike repair book for people who have been kept out from mainstream mechanical education.
Current listen, read or podcast: Wake and Bake with Clay Pigeon on WFMU!
Roles: Subscription Production Manager / Event Breakdown Captain / Proposal Writer
3 words to describe your personal style: Cowboy / metalhead boyfriend / witch
What drew you to flowers: Favorite flower so far this year: Ranunculus, especially the unexpected freaks! Anytime we get a monstrous, fasciated one I’m in love! I also adore the cabbage ruffle of a “pon pon” variety and the spidery elegance of a butterfly ranunculus.
What you're enjoying about your job: I thrive on the combo of the expected rhythm of a Tuesday SFP bouquet making day + the different type of prep that happens with having new varieties every week. I’m learning so much about the needs of certain flowers + what makes them happiest.
Offsite life: My other life is as an artist who teaches printmaking so I’m always drawn to the surprising + specific tips + tricks of a craft. My artistic practice is concerned with our current ecological fate, so the sustainability model MOF follows really hits home + makes me proud of the work we're doing.
Roles: Seasonal Flower Project Subscription Coordinator / Lead Designer
3 words to describe your personal style: In an ideal world, "classic", "mod", and when it is really working for me the "tiniest-hint-of-punk".
What drew you to flowers: After years of sitting behind a desk, I was looking for ways to get creative, get moving, and get my hands dirty. Working with flowers provided the perfect place for me to do that.
Favorite flower so far this year: Tulips! There's so much variation and personality within the local varieties we source.
What you're enjoying about your job: A balance of organizational and logistics work with creative and physical work. And working with a wonderful and talented team!
Life offsite: Rock climbing, canoeing, camping... always trying to get outdoors when I can!
Current listen, read or podcast: Podcast - You're Wrong About