Episode 613: Island Flower Growers, a cooperative flower hub serving all of British Columbia’s Vancouver Island, with president Lorna Jackson and market manager Cara Scott
June 7th, 2023
I’m thrilled today to bring you an informative conversation about Island Flower Growers, an emerging flower hub based outside of Victoria, British Columbia, on Vancouver Island in Canada.
If you caught Episode 611 a few weeks ago, you met Julie Remy of Fleuris Studio and Blooms, a farmer-florist on Vancouver Island; we briefly discussed the Island Flower Growers Cooperative as her primary outlet for selling flowers wholesale. I visited the Island in early May when I interviewed Julie, and before I returned home, I stopped by the Metchosin Farmers Institute, a multiuse venue where I met the cooperative member farmers.
I was lucky to meet most of the growers on an early Wednesday morning, the regular day when flower farmers bring their harvest to this central hub where flowers are sorted and organized for client deliveries or pickup.
That’s where I met Lorna Jackson, co-founder and president of Island Flower Growers, and Cara Scott, the market manager, among many other talented and passionate island flower growers. I was thrilled to watch the buzzing of energy and the synergy as flower farmers compared their seasonal crops, discussed plans, and admired the collection of blooms ordered by area florists.
Here’s a bit more about Island Flower Growers:
Island Flower Growers is a producer-owned co-operative of cut-flower growers on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands of British Columbia, Canada. The co-op helps build the strength and vitality of Vancouver Island’s local flower community by:
- Operating a weekly, online wholesale market, which makes high quality, specialty blooms and foliage more accessible to our discerning clients
- Helping local growers build successful and rewarding businesses around their exceptional product
- Advocating for flower farming’s significant role in stewarding our region’s environmental and community wellbeing
It is so inspiring to learn how this regional flower hub is changing the way florists and their consumers engage with sustainably-grown, seasonal flowers! See below for Island Flower Growers resources that Lorna and Cara have shared:
Guide to Island-Grown Roses The “Rose Guide” provides education for members and potential Guest Growers. “We’re trying to do everything we can to provide excellent garden roses to our clients for weddings,” Lorna explained.
Island Flower Growers produced a “Better Photos” guide helps make their shopfront on the Open Food Network more attractive, more informative visually, more standardized, and connects with clients through beautiful images. “We aim to have each photo provide as much information as possible: what a bunch looks like, stage of openness clients can expect, accurate colours and textures,” Lorna says. “But we still want growers to be able to be artful with images, to have a personality, as in the photo of yellow baptisia.”
Find and follow Island Flower Growers on Instagram
Watch: Growing Slow, a feature from CBC Vancouver
News of this Week
Details Flowers Software, a Slow Flowers Podcast sponsor, is also a return sponsor of the Slow Flowers Summit and have been running a giveaway promotion for a full registration to the Summit. The drawing just took place and we learned that Polly Hutchison of Robin Hollow Farm, Slow Flowers member and past guest of this podcast, was drawn as the winner! Thank you, Details, and congratulations to Polly — so excited to welcome you to your first Summit!
And if you’ve been thinking of joining us in Seattle at the Slow Flowers Summit on June 26-27, coming right up, I encourage you to jump on our very last ticket promotion. Starting this week through Sunday, June 11th, take 10% off any ticket level with the code LETSDOTHIS. Remember, Slow Flowers Members, you already enjoy $100 off as a member benefit, so there’s a little more to save with this promotion.
And this Friday, June 9th, you’re invited to join me in the Zoom Room at our final Slow Flowers Member Meet-Up before our Summer Break. Our very special guest is Julio Freitas of The Flower Hat. He’s one of our keynote speakers at the upcoming Summit and I’ve invited Julio to give us a sneak peek preview to his presentation, as we talk flower farming for luxury weddings, floral design, growing dahlias, and so much more! The Meet-Up takes place at 9 am Pacific/Noon Eastern on Friday, June 9th.
Preregistration is required. Hope to see you there!
Thank you to our Sponsors
This show is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 850 florists, shops, and studios who design with local, seasonal and sustainable flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms. It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.
Thank you to our lead sponsor, Farmgirl Flowers. Farmgirl Flowers delivers iconic burlap-wrapped bouquets and lush, abundant arrangements to customers across the U.S., supporting U.S. flower farms by purchasing more than $10 million dollars of U.S.-grown fresh and seasonal flowers and foliage annually. Discover more at farmgirlflowers.com.
Thank you to The Gardener’s Workshop, which offers a full curriculum of online education for flower farmers and farmer-florists. Online education is more important this year than ever, and you’ll want to check out the course offerings at thegardenersworkshop.com.
Thank you to Details Flowers Software, a platform specifically designed to help florists and designers do more and earn more. With an elegant and easy-to-use system–Details is here to improve profitability, productivity, and organization for floral businesses of all shapes and sizes. Grow your bottom line through professional proposals and confident pricing with Details’ all-in-one platform. All friends of the Slow Flowers Podcast will receive a 7-day free trial of Details Flowers Software. Learn more at detailsflowers.com.
Thank you to CalFlowers, the leading floral trade association in California, providing valuable transportation and other benefits to flower growers and the entire floral supply chain in California and 48 other states. The Association is a leader in bringing fresh cut flowers to the U.S. market and in promoting the benefits of flowers to new generations of American consumers. Learn more at cafgs.org.
Thanks so much for joining me today! The Slow Flowers Podcast is a member-supported endeavor, downloaded more than one million times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much. As our movement gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of our domestic cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too. If you’re new to our weekly Show and our long-running Podcast, check out all of our resources at SlowFlowersSociety.com.
I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Show & Podcast. The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Brenlan. The content and opinions expressed here are either mine alone or those of my guests alone, independent of any podcast sponsor or other person, company or organization. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more Slow Flowers on the table, one stem, one vase at a time. Thanks so much for joining us today and I’ll see you next week!
Drone Pine; Flagger; Open Flames; Turning on the Lights; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
In The Field