Episode 620: Celebrating our 10th Anniversary! From the Slow Flowers Podcast Archives – an Encore with sustainable brands expert Kierstin DeWest and organic flower farmer Joan Thorndike of LeMera Gardens
July 26th, 2023
Today is red letter day — the 10th anniversary of the Slow Flowers Podcast! I launched the first-ever podcast about flowers on July 23, 2013 with Episode 100! Little did I know that this audio storytelling project — it was called internet radio back then — would take off and resonate with so many listeners!
Commemorating our 10-year-mark is so significant. It recognizes that the Slow Flowers Podcast is the longest, continually-running podcast in the floral design and flower farming space. We invite you to help us celebrate by sharing your stories of how the Slow Flowers Podcast has been an inspiring companion to you over the years! Post or send us a video tagged #slowflowerspodcast and we may feature you in our Slow Flowers social media feed!
And, we’re having a contest! Check out our IG stories on @SlowFlowersSociety, which we will run for the next 10 weeks — you could win one of two priceless prizes! We’ll select two winners among eligible entrants:
1 – win a featured guest spot on a future episode of the Slow Flowers Podcast; and
2 – win a chance to co-host an upcoming monthly Slow Flowers Member Meet-Up. We’ll post the details on social media for you to follow along and participate.
I have spent several weeks looking back over the 520 episodes we’ve produced in the past decade, trying to find a good way to honor our expert guests and their stories. So, starting today, for the next 10 weeks, we will highlight one episode from each year of the past decade and bring the best of the Slow Flowers Podcast to you. If you’re a longtime listener, you might recognize these flower folks; if you’re new to the Slow Flowers Podcast, I’m excited to introduce you to them for the first time.
Today, we’re starting with Episode 100 — our very first episode. It’s a fitting place to begin our retrospective.
First, in PART ONE of this podcast you’ll hear from Kierstin De West, CEO and founder of Ci (Conscientious innovation), a market research and consulting firm known for its early embrace of the sustainable marketplace, which Kierstin led 2004 to 2018. As I mentioned in the original episode, I met Kierstin in 2011 when we were seated at adjacent tables in a restaurant at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. We struck up a conversation and the beginnings of a friendship over the course of one hour . . . before we both had to race to our respective flights. Later, I invited Kierstin to talk about her research into consumer attitudes regarding sustainability as the keynote speaker for the Garden Writers Association annual symposium in 2011, now known as GardenComm International.
Kristin and I discussed the research she conducted for her former company called The Shift Report, an omnibus study of 5,000 consumers in North America. What jumped out at me in this report was the idea of LOCAL values surpassing other topics that you might consider ranking higher on consumers’ sustainability checklist….such as Organic or Global Warming. Listen as Kierstin and I discuss this fascinating research and hear how insightful and prescient it was 10 years ago — it is equally important today!
In PART TWO of this podcast, join my conversation with veteran organic flower farmer Joan Thorndike, owner of Le Mera Gardens in Talent, Oregon, which is near Ashland. We talked about what LOCAL means to Joan’s floral customers while taking a walk from Joan and Dan’s home to the vibrant farmer’s market in downtown Ashland. Many of you were introduced to Joan in the “Grower’s Wisdom” section of The 50 Mile Bouquet. In that short section, Joan’s articulate, insightful perspective resonated with me. She is a grower-ecologist. Joan operates on a world view that is highly inclusive and optimistic. My favorite quote from our original interview goes this way: “When I sell my flowers, I believe I am appealing to my customer’s deeply visceral desire to observe the cadence of Nature.”
A post script about my guests!
Kierstin De West is still leading marketing for mission-driven organizations. In 2018 she joined lululemon as VP Global Brand Management and Strategy. Three years later, she joined Alpha Foods as Chief Marketing Officer. Most recently, I heard from Kierstin that she’s off to a new adventure in Paris, so best wishes to her!
Joan Thorndike is still pumping out uncommonly beautiful organic flowers at LeMera Gardens. Last year, we featured Joan as a Slow Flowers Hero in the fall 2023 issue of Slow Flowers Journal. Click below for the free PDF that you can download and read.
Don’t forget to check out our IG stories for invitation to enter our giveaway promotions to celebrate our 10 year anniversary!
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, 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, 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.
Thank you, Store It Cold, creators of the revolutionary CoolBot, a popular solution for flower farmers, studio florists and farmer-florists. Save $1000s when you build your own walk-in cooler with the CoolBot and an air conditioner. Don’t have time to build your own? They also have turnkey units available. Learn more at storeitcold.com.
I love all this floral goodness and I am so happy you joined 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!
Color Country; Heartland Flyer; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
In The Field