Farm to Florist...It's a Thing – and We're Doing It!
Ok, so we've all heard by now about the Farm to Table movement, oui? It is all about sourcing food locally, promoting greater sustainability, healthy eating, and local food economies. Following in the footsteps of these same principles is the Farm to Florist movement, and we are 👏 all 👏 about 👏 it!
Farm to Florist is a no-brainer approach to us. As farmers, we care deeply about climate change and sustainable practices. I mean, you can't live and work on a farm every single day without feeling deeply connected to and responsible for the land you occupy.
In 2019, the total worth of cut flowers sold in Canada equalled $133.55 million. A huge chunk of those flowers sold would have come from the world's biggest flower producing countries: the Netherlands, Ecuador, Columbia, Kenya and Ethiopia. Flowers are shipped quickly using a "cold-chain" – refrigerated farms, trucks, planes and boats. Those roses you received last Valentine's Day were probably from Kenya. Your peonies likely came from the Netherlands or Alaska. Needless to say, the carbon footprint of cut flowers is exceedingly high.
The risk to flower freshness with shipping cut flowers is high too. Every day a cut flower spends in transit, it's value decreases. This problem was further complicated to supply chain issues caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Many trucks and flights that normally transport flowers were grounded, causing the entire industry to come to a grinding halt. In April 2020, flower exports from Kenya dropped 85% and 50,000 Kenyans lost their jobs, creating a severe humanitarian crisis (you can read all about it in this BBC article.)
We know that at Queen Bee we can't grow everything, but we can grow plenty! There are so many incredible perennials and annuals we can produce beautifully right here in Ontario. Our farm has pretty perfect growing conditions for perennials like peonies, lilac and hydrangea. And there are an abundance of hardy annuals we can grow too, extending our growing season with low and high tunnels for maximum production. We even forage evergreens like juniper, pine, spruce and cedar off our land for Christmas arrangements! We know we will probably never be able to grow roses like they do in Kenya, but we can provide flowers and greens a-plenty that are fresh, local and most of all, gorgeous. It's not too hard to get on board with that, right?