Molly Oliver Flowers is a sustainable floral design company founded in 2011 by farmer/educator, Molly Oliver Culver.
(photo credit: Victoria Jane Photography)
Hi, I’m Molly.
A desire to help grow social justice and care for our beautiful planet led me to community organizing around food justice, then to rural organic farming, and eventually, to education and flowers. I’m proud to say I’ve helped to nurture soil, and have grown my own food and flowers, on my own and with others, for the past 15 years.
I love that floral design allows me to meet fun, loving and mindful clients and connect them with seasonal flora and our local flower, herb, perennial and foliage farmers. I’ve had many lives in my 38 years: Audrey Hepburn/NYC-obsessed teenager; literature major; novice journalist and ESL instructor in Santiago, Chile; urban farming educator and farmers market manager; community garden outreach coordinator; compost educator; urban farm manager…and now, a business owner and floral designer.
Throughout these many experiences, the connective tissue has always been people, soil, and plants. At core, I care deeply about equity, inclusion, sustainability and loving kindness and works to help these values emanate through this business.
I continue to be deeply inspired by all of the local blooms and foliages, from cultivated to wild and foraged, that any given season has to offer. Our region’s climate and four-season evolution offers something just right for every occasion, all year round. I am interested and inspired by my clients’ vision, and whenever they are needing guidance, I’m happy to share my love of wild, natural designs. In other words, I love to bring your vision to life using the gorgeous product we have available locally.
I love to connect my clients with locally grown flowers, to share the fun of learning about what’s in season at the time of their event, and to create gorgeous arrangements that evoke time, place, mood and my clients’ individual style.
I source 90-100% of the flowers we use within 200 miles of New York City, from both regional and urban farms. An organic grower of 10+ years myself, I love supporting the talented community of dedicated farmers who grow an incredible diversity of beautiful flowers, cut days or even hours before, and delivered at peak quality to the city. Collaborating with these new growers to share experiences, discuss trending varieties and colors, and celebrate our successes is one of the most exciting aspects of this work.
Did you know that 80% of the flowers we buy currently are grown abroad? Like so many industries, the US flower growing industry has shrunk to a relative handful of small scale growers across the country. Inspired by the beauty of flowers and the ingenuity of the tight knit network of surviving domestic flower farmers I came to know as I began growing flowers in 2008, I was motivated and excited to bring a more seasonal, sustainable approach to floral design to Brooklyn, and to see how I could support the renaissance of a regional flower growing community in the Hudson Valley, New Jersey, Long Island and elsewhere.
Our local farmers are contributing to our communities’ health by preserving farmland, creating meaningful new jobs and increasing dollars circulating in our local economy. I also work with veteran wholesalers on 28th St. (our local wholesale flower district) who enjoy sourcing the freshest seasonal blooms from from many longstanding regional growers.
Emphasis on waste reduction and composting:
It’s par for the course in the NYC event world to throw away much of the decor at the end of the night — this waste (vases, flowers, candles, etc.) winds up in a landfill.
Unfortunately, many flower studios still rely heavily on floral foam and other synthetic, non-biodegradable products to create designs — all of this goes into landfills as well. Need I go on?
There are a number of ways I work to reduce waste, both in my day-to-day work in the studio and on event days. Some of those ways:
- I offer a variety of vessels as rentals, and re-use these as long as possible.
- I make complimentary ‘grab and go’ bouquets for your guests, and generally ensure you and your guests go home with as many peak quality flowers at the end of your event as desired.
- All unclaimed flower waste is composted locally at urban farms; this becomes nutrient-rich soil amendment for this wonderful educational farm in Crown Heights.
- Much of the cardboard and paper packing and packaging from vessel shipments is re-purposed or recycled.
- I avoid all use of synthetic floral foam or other non-biodegradable products and chemicals.
You can learn more about my work as a ‘farmer-florist’ and slow flower activism in my 2015 interview with Debra Prinzing, of Slow Flowers.com.
MOF offers full-service floral design for special events and weddings large and small.
We marry strong organization and communication skills with fierce commitment to caring for our planet and supporting local farms, and an aesthetic bent towards the wild and whimsical, aiming to produce unique, natural feeling arrangements.
We also support the DIY’ers out there: if you want to get hands-on and design your own, I’ll source and prepare you fresh, seasonal flowers, delivered a day before to your chosen design team.