If you are reading this, maybe I don’t need to convince you why local, “slow” flowers matter. But I’m going to try anyway, because I think you should have good information about your flowers.
First, a couple of definitions. When I say “local” flowers, I mean flowers that are grown as close to the market (in our case, Seattle) as possible. Sometimes that means dahlias from my tiny backyard make it into your bouquet. Sometimes that means flowers grown 15-50 miles away in Woodinville or Mt. Vernon. While it may be really challenging to keep things truly local in winter, I want to flex my creativity a little and see if I can do it!
“Slow Flowers” is a movement started by Debra Prinzing (whom I recently met!!!!) that encourages us to use whatever is in season for our area. As slow flower people, we make conscious choices to source locally-grown materials and to know where our flowers come from. We celebrate the growers and farmers, and we take an “artisinal, anti-mass-market approach” to our floral creations. You can read a full blog post here by Debra about what Slow Flowers really means. She also created books, podcasts, websites, etc. for further learning!
So, why bother with slow local flowers when you can pick up a $10 bouquet at Safeway? (Spoiler alert: those grocery store flowers are not local or slow flowers.) Here are three good reasons.
1: Local slow flowers means supporting local farmers
When you buy my flowers, you are supporting me and my family, as well as everyone else in the local supply chain. You are supporting the local co-op where I shop, which is priced so that farmers can make a living selling their crops. You are supporting the family farms in Washington who supply the branches, greens, and flowers that I use. You are even supporting the local farm stores who sell products to those farmers. Every dollar spent in my store is going back into the local economy, and supporting local people. This is the kind of commerce we need if we want to sustain our local farming communities.
2: Local slow flowers are higher quality & more varied
Realistically, even flowers that are American-grown in other parts of the country might be flown in. I don’t know about you, but when I fly I get super dehydrated and cranky, and I’m pretty sturdy. Flowers are not. When they are flown in, they are dehydrated, wilted, and sad. Florists regularly jump through hoops to revive them. Their vase life is generally not good, and they are often sprayed with pesticides and fertilizers that you wouldn’t want in your house.
In contrast, consider the local flower: freshly cut maybe that morning, transported only 20 miles by car, not floppy. No revivification spells needed! And because they are local, they are so much more varied: fragile dahlias, feathery celosia, springy greenery, delicate cosmos. Especially in the summer, the bounty is endless, and I’m always discovering new textures, shapes, and smells. You’re going to see local products that are not only higher quality because of their freshness, but because of their variety. You simply can’t ship most of the flowers I use in my designs.
3: Local slow flowers have a positive environmental impact
The benefit of slow flowers is that we know exactly where our materials come from. We can connect with individual farmers to understand how they are growing, what products are being used, and how their land is managed. The farmers I buy from are practicing sustainable, regenerative agriculture. These farmers work hard to build healthy soil and encourage biodiversity on their farms. The flowers they produce may not be certified organic, but they are grown using organic practices. Their flowers also travel less far, and by doing so, have less of a carbon footprint compared to any flown-in flowers. When you support local farms, you are also supporting their efforts to manage land, water, and fossil fuels sustainably.
I hope this lonnnnng blog post helps you think a little bit differently about your flowers and where they come from. I’d love to hear your thoughts! If you are ready to get some amazing local flowers, check out the shop.