Debra Prinzing

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Episode 530: Encouraging florists to consider a more sustainable business model, a conversation with Libby Francis-Baxter of Baltimore’s The Modest Florist

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2021
Watch my wonderful conversation with Libby Francis-Baxter of The Modest Florist

For our final week of October’s Member Appreciation Month, I recorded a terrific interview with longtime Premium member Libby Francis-Baxter, owner of The Modest Florist in Baltimore, Maryland. Libby is one of those constant IG presences in our lives, tagging Slow Flowers Society in her everyday floral posts that show the beautiful arrangements heading out the door of her neighborhood retail flower shop. She’s living her values through and through — and I really wanted to share Libby’s story with you.

Libby Francis-Baxter of The Modest Florist
Libby Francis-Baxter of The Modest Florist, posing with one of her popular holiday arrangements in a recycled vintage green glass vase.

Here’s a bit more about Libby and her cute shop:

Libby Francis-Baxter is known for supplying her community with locally-grown flowers, greens and live plants presented in vintage, reusable and biodegradable containers. Founded in 2013, The Modest Florist was created with sustainability at its core and is committed to environmentally-friendly solutions for the modern floral business. As the hometown florist in Baltimore’s Hampden neighborhood, it’s a source for a full range of floral services with a modern twist! The Modest Florist is the first florist to be recognized by and listed on the Maryland Department of Energy “Green Registry” and the owner is a LEED Green Associate.

Blue Suede Shoe-planters
Libby is proud of being quirky, a trait synonymous with the neighborhood where The Modest Florist is based.

You’ll also want to check out a few bonus resources, including a recent Q&A with Libby published in Voyage Baltimore

and a feature I wrote about The Modest Florist that appeared in the December 2018 issue of Florists’ Review, for our Slow Flowers Jounal “How I Do It” column — an ongoing feature sharing retail florists’ advice on sourcing locally.
Download the article here

Last week, Libby and I recorded a video interview and you can watch the full episode, including a short, fun video that Libby’s husband took on her farmers’ market shopping excursion. Find that in today’s show notes, too!

English Country Garden by The Modest Florist
Entirely Local! English Country Garden by The Modest Florist

After we recorded our conversation, Libby and I kept corresponding and I wanted to share portions of an email she sent me:

“The pandemic and the current, on-going supply chain issues have highlighted the importance of local sourcing. When the nation went into lockdown in March of 2020, the floral wholesalers shut down.  Conventional florists found themselves without the ability to get flowers from South America and other far off places. Supplies like glassware from China have nearly dried up. Many of our area florists shut down; some for good.

“My experience was exactly the opposite! I shut my door to the public and pivoted to contact-free delivery. I never missed a beat on having flower inventory as I was able to rely on my local greenhouse growers and field flower farmers to do COVID safe pickups. My community knows that I love reused vases. So many folks were stuck at home and cleaning out their kitchen cabinets that I have gotten more vases left outside the shop than ever before!

“I wanted to share my experience as a way to encourage florists to consider a more sustainable business model. As far as I know, I’m the only full-service retail flower shop on the east coast to source only local flowers and plants all year ’round. It’s a challenge and more work but I believe our world needs folks to put planet before profit.

Libby Francis-Baxter, The Modest Florist

 Bonus Interview: Ellen Frost, Local Color Flowers

On this topic, I want to share a bonus interview I also recently recorded with Ellen Frost of Local Color Flowers. Ellen is a past guest of this podcast, so she will be familiar with you. In keeping with the theme of my interview with Libby, I asked Ellen to talk about her upcoming online course offered through The Gardener’s Workshop. If you think this workshop has your name on it, vheck out the details for Ellen’s course, Growing Your Business with Local Flower Sourcing. The fee is $495, with registration taking place between November 5-9th. That’s coming right up! and the course begins January 3, 2022.


Slow Flowers Society Member Appreciation Month

We have just wrapped up October, our very successful Member Appreciation Month. The month focused on thanking you, our core community of motivated and mission-driven flower growers, designers, enthusiasts and pioneers in the Slow Flowers Movement.

There’s so much you can look forward to during the month of November, so if you haven’t opened up your Slow Flowers November newsletter, check it out here!

Thank you to our Sponsors!

This show is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 880 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 for 2021, Farmgirl Flowers. Farmgirl Flowers delivers iconic burlap-wrapped bouquets and lush, abundant arrangements to customers across the U.S., supporting more than 20 U.S. flower farms by purchasing more than $9 million dollars of U.S.-grown fresh and seasonal flowers and foliage annually. Discover more at farmgirlflowers.com.

sponsor logo bar
2nd sponsor bar

More thanks goes to:

Mayesh Wholesale Florist. Family-owned since 1978, Mayesh is the premier wedding and event supplier in the U.S. and we’re thrilled to partner with Mayesh to promote local and domestic flowers, which they source from farms large and small around the U.S. Learn more at mayesh.com.

The Gardener’s Workshop, offering a full curriculum of online education for flower farmers and farmer-florists, including Ellen’s upcoming course. Online education is more important this year than ever, and you’ll want to check out the course offerings at thegardenersworkshop.com.

Roadie, an on-demand delivery company offering affordable same-day and scheduled delivery. With a network of friendly, local drivers who handle each delivery with care, and one-on-one support from a designated account manager, Roadie guarantees a smooth and reliable delivery experience–from pickup to delivery. Sign up for your first delivery at Roadie.com/slowflowers and use promo code slowflowers–that’s one word–to get five dollars off.


Slow Flowers Podcast Logo with flowers, recorder and mic

Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 780,000 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.

We are a member-supported endeavor and I value our loyal members and supporters! If you’re new to this podcast, check out all of our resources at Slow Flowers Society.com and consider making a donation to sustain Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right at debraprinzing.com


Debra in the Slow Flowers Cutting Garden
Thank you for listening! Sending love, from my cutting garden to you! (c) Missy Palacol Photography

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Show & Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more Slow Flowers on the table, one stem, one vase at a time. 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.

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Brenlan. You can learn more about Andrew’s work at soundbodymovement.com

Music Credits:

For We Shall Know Speed; Hickory Interlude; Turning on the Lights; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

Lovely
by Tryad 
http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
audionautix.com

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Episode 477: Growing Your Business with Local Flower Sourcing with Ellen Frost of Local Color Flowers and Lisa Ziegler of The Gardener’s Workshop

Wednesday, October 28th, 2020
You can see Sarah’s 50-foot-long floral V-O-T-E display at 329 North Cherry Strees (along Hwy 20) in Burlington, Washington (c) Sara Welch Photo Co.

Before we jump into today’s main segment, I want to recognize that Election Day in the U.S. is coming up in just six days on November 3rd. I’ve been wowed by the creative gestures of floral activism from our Slow Flowers members around the country. I’ve invited one of those members to share what she’s doing in her community as a bonus interview. Let’s jump right in and meet Sarah Wagstaff of SUOT Farm & Flowers In Burlington, Washington.

This indeed has been a year in which I’m acutely aware that my business, career and personal acts need more meaning to reflect my values. I hope you find Sarah’s floral VOTE message as encouraging as I do.


Ellen Frost of Local Color Flowers in Baltimore, Maryland

Okay, let’s jump right into today’s wonderful conversation with Ellen Frost of Local Color Flowers and Lisa Ziegler of The Gardener’s Workshop.

Both women are past guests of the Slow Flowers Podcast, so I’ve added links to their earlier appearances in today’s show notes. And full disclosure, The Gardener’s Workshop is a financial supporter of Slow Flowers and we consider its founder Lisa Ziegler an important partner in furthering our mission in the Slow Flowers Movement.

When Lisa told me that she recruited Ellen to create an online business course to help florists learn her unique flower sourcing approach, I knew this was an important topic for the Slow Flowers Community. I’ve asked them to talk about their project today. The course is called “Growing Your Business with Local Flower Sourcing.”

And guess what?! We have another course giveaway today! Ellen is giving away a complimentary registration to her new online workshop. “Growing Your Business with Local Flower Sourcing,” is a six-week course that begins January 4, 2021. Valued at $495, this is a generous giveaway! For listeners of this Podcast, be sure to make a comment in the show notes below — and tell us one of your favorite ways to source locally-grown flowers. All comments posted by midnight Pacific on Sunday, November 8th will be entered into a random drawing for Ellen’s course. Click on the link below to sign up for notifications when registration opens Nov. 16-20. I’m excited for the winner already!

Here’s a bit more about Ellen Frost:

Ellen Frost loves flowers. Even more, she loves owning and operating a flower studio which exclusively sources local flowers. Ellen founded her company, Local Color Flowers, in 2008 as a part-time wedding floral business to provide Baltimore area couples a more sustainable flower option for their celebrations. Over the past 12 years, Ellen has grown Local Color Flowers into a thriving business adding floral design classes, corporate events, subscriptions, and retail as well as creative social and educational community events – all using 100% locally grown flowers. Ellen’s business is a vital contributor to Baltimore’s local economy and a vibrant community resource. 

Here is the outline for “Growing Your Business with Local Flower Sourcing”
Class 1 — Landscape of the Cut Flower Industry
Class 2 — Why Local Flowers: Motivations, Definitions and Goals
Class 3 — Building Relationships With Local Growers
Class 4 — Logistics of Local Flowers
Class 5 — Differentiating, Marketing and Selling Local Flowers
Class 6 — Making Your Business An Indispensable Community Asset

Local Color Flowers on Slow Flowers Podcast
Episode 163 (October 15, 2014)

Find and follow Local Color Flowers at these social places:
Local Color Flowers on Facebook
Local Color Flowers on Instagram

Lisa Ziegler at The Gardener’s Workshop Farm in Newport News, Virginia

Here’s a bit more about Lisa Ziegler:

What began as a small cut-flower farm producing for local markets has grown into so much more. Lisa has become a leader in the cut-flower growing industry, author, accomplished speaker, teacher, and the owner of The Gardener’s Workshop.

Lisa is the author of Cool Flowers in 2014 (St. Lynn’s Press) and Vegetables Love Flowers (Cool Springs Press 2018.)

In 2018 Lisa began creating online courses to share her programs and knowledge. This style of teaching with its convenience, cost effectiveness, and lifetime unlimited access has proven to be another wonderful educational tool. In 2019, embracing technology even further and building an amazing in-house administration and support team has allowed Lisa to produce online courses for others.

Lisa’s farm, known as The Gardener’s Workshop is still a small market flower farm (100% outdoor field grown), and an online garden shop. The online store sells the same seeds, tools, supplies, and seed starting equipment that Lisa uses as well as signed copies of her books.  Lisa’s simple, instructive, and delightful gardening messages are reaching far beyond any expectation she ever had.

The Gardener’s Workshop on Slow Flowers Podcast
Episode 159 (September 14, 2014)
Episode 391 (March 6, 2019)

Find and follow The Gardener’s Workshop at these social places:
The Gardener’s Workshop on Facebook
The Gardener’s Workshop on Instagram


Announcements

This is the final week you can sign up for my first online course, Slow Flowers Creative Workshop: Floral Storytelling. The course begins November 1st and you can take advantage of the $200-off introductory promo code, meaning you can enjoy this course for just $97. Sign up here and use SF97 for the discount. I’m excited to see you in the course!

And Head’s Up: This is the final week to participate in the 2021 Slow Flowers Member Survey. We will close the survey link and end the giveaway promotions on October 31st, midnight Pacific Time. To thank you for sharing your time to take the survey, we’d like to send you an etched Slow Flowers Society botanical bookmark – and enter your name into the drawing for one free registration to the 2021 Slow Flowers Summit, valued at $599! But you must give us your name and contact information to receive the bookmark and enter the drawing — if you choose to respond anonymously, we can’t bestow our gifts! Click here to complete the survey.

Quick announcement before we get started. Last week, we promoted a giveaway for one VIP Pass to the Fleurvana Virtual Summit – Holiday Edition, taking place online this week through today. The winner is a Podcast listener and aspiring flower farmer: Jenni Hulburt, a wellness coach and host of The WILD Wellness Podcast. Congratulations, Jenni! And thanks to Shawn Michael Foley of Fleurvana! Click on this link to purchase your own VIP All-Access Pass to the conference. You’ll enjoy more than 25 floral design and business presentations, including my new session called Taking Stock: Writing your 2020 Year in Review & 2021 Forecast with Creative Intention.

Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, nationwide online directory to florists, shops, and studios who design with American-grown flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

And thank you to Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. Read our stories at slowflowersjournal.com.

Longfield Gardens, which provides home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Check out the full catalog at Longfield Gardens at longfield-gardens.com.

Rooted Farmers, which works exclusively with local growers to put the highest-quality specialty cut flowers in floral customers’ hands. When you partner with Rooted Farmers, you are investing in your community, and you can expect a commitment to excellence in return. Learn more at RootedFarmers.com

Syndicate Sales, an American manufacturer of vases and accessories for the professional florist. Look for the American Flag Icon to find Syndicate’s USA-made products and join the Syndicate Stars loyalty program at syndicatesales.com.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 653,000 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 the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right.

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto iTunes and posting a listener review.

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.

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Brenlan. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.com

Music Credits:

Shift of Currents; Heliotrope; Turning on the Lights; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

Lovely by Tryad 
http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
audionautix.com

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ASCFG #4: Wild World of Weddings (Episode 171)

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

JeansBouquet_6969

Wedding bouquets: the ultimate design challenge

Today’s episode was recorded on October 20th at the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers conference held in Wilmington, Delaware – and it is our fourth featured segment from that event.

“Wild World of Weddings” is a panel showcasing four voices that may be quite familiar to listeners of this podcast.

You’ll hear Jennie Love, of Love ‘n Fresh Flowers, based in Philadelphia; Sarah Ryhanen of Brooklyn-based Saipua; Ellen Frost of Local Color Flowers in Baltimore and Sullivan Owen, owner of Sullivan Owen Floral & Event Design, also based in Philadelphia.

This free-ranging panel was left unstructured so that audience members could ask ANYTHING they wanted to know about growing, designing and selling local flowers to the bridal and wedding marketplace.

The panel wasn’t moderated per se, but you will first hear Jennie Love, who co-chaired the entire conference with Becky Devlin.

Remember, like all of our episodes from ASCFG, this one exceeds one hour in length. So I’ll keep my intro short and get right to the juicy material.

There’s amazing intel to learn from these four women — and you’ll hear a range of topics — from marketing your design business to navigating consultations to pricing and contracts.

Flower farmers and floral designers – and farmer-florists – will learn volumes from this panel.

Let’s get started with Jennie Love. After Jennie’s first remarks, I’ll interject to introduce each new voice who joins the conversation. You’ll begin to get used to the unique voices and points of view of each panel member as the segment continues.

Thanks for joining me and if you’re interested in learning more about any of these four talented designers, check out debraprinzing.com to find links to their social sites.

For the rest of December, my Slow Flowers Podcast episodes are very special and I’m thrilled to share two new voices with you.

On Dec. 17th, you’ll meet Molly Oliver Culver of Molly Oliver Flowers, a farmer-florist who’s growing her botanical ingredients right in the heart of Brooklyn!

And then on Dec. 24th, I’m very pleased to welcome Emily Thompson, owner of Emily Thompson Flowers, another New York star, a floral designer whose wild, rustic style is at the same time thoroughly elegant and timeless.

I recorded both interviews in person while spending a few days in NYC after attending the Cut Flower Growers Association conference and I’ve been eagerly waiting to broadcast them.

To wrap up the year, on December 31st, we’ll be looking to the future. I’ll host an episode that includes my 2015 forecast for the floral industry. Yes, I have a crystal ball and I’m going to gaze into it and share my insights with you.

peony_party_insert_print-page-002

If you’re hoping for something special to show up in your stocking or under the tree this year, be sure to send the gifters in your life to Peonyparty.com to buy you a space at the design table next July when Slow Flowers and the Field to Vase blog produce Peony Party.

You’ll join Christina Stembel and me over four fabulous peony-filled days focusing on the cultivation and design of Alaska Peonies.

Find all the details at Peonyparty.com. There are only 20 spaces so grab your spot soon!

My personal goal is to put more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. I promise that when you tune in next week, you’ll hear another insightful and educational episode of the Slow Flowers Podcast.

Listeners like you have downloaded the Slow Flowers Podcast more than 27,000 times. If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about their work at hhcreates.net.

 

 

 







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SLOW FLOWERS Podcast: Floral Microlending with Ellen Frost of Local Color Flowers (Episode 163)

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

This episode is dedicated to a sweet little girl named Shylah who’s dealing with some scary medical challenges. Please say a quiet prayer or send your sentiments into the universe for her healing, for her parents and brothers, and for the physicians who are caring for her.

I also want to share a special announcement:

We’ve reached our 400th member to join the Slowflowers.com online directory.

Here's a peek at The FloraCultural Society's storefront on College Ave. in Oakland - our 400th Member of Slowflowers.com.

Here’s a peek at The FloraCultural Society’s storefront on College Ave. in Oakland – our 400th Member of Slowflowers.com.

Thanks to Anna Campbell of  The FloraCultural Society in Oakland, for listing her urban flower farm, design studio and charming retail shop with our site. I was introduced to Anna by Stephanie Hughes, who I met at a Little Flower School workshop last spring – she’s now a director with The FloraCultural Society.

Expect to hear more from this creative team. I recently visited them in Oakland and have already scheduled a future Slow Flowers podcast episode about Anna’s creative business model, which will run later in the fall.

More than a year ago I hosted Baltimore-based floral designer Ellen Frost of Local Color Flowers, aka Lo-Co-Flo, as a guest of this podcast. I’ve been wanting to have Ellen back on the show due in large part to the innovative work she and her team are doing to support American flower farmers, while also promoting their mission to Local Color Flowers’ customers and the media.

Ellen and her husband Eric Moller, along with a savvy design and production team, specialize in weddings & events. They also lead hands-on workshops and classes and are vocal advocates for American grown flowers. I can’t tell you how impressed I am – continually – with all they are doing. And how often I hear from others in the Slow Flowers movement who wish to model their floral businesses on what Ellen and Eric are doing.

The Local Color Flowers design team - Ellen Frost is in the center.

The Local Color Flowers design team – Ellen Frost is in the center.

A few months back I heard from another florist friend that the duo had begun to invest in “flower futures” with some of their small grower-suppliers. The more I learned about LoCoFlo’s  micro-lending program, the more intrigued I was to hear from Ellen myself.

American Grown Floral Visionary, Ellen Frost.

American Grown Floral Visionary, Ellen Frost.

So when I had a chance to meet up with Ellen in August, at a very special field-to-vase dinner that Jennie Love hosted at Love ‘N Fresh Flower Farm in Philadelphia, I grabbed the recorder and asked Ellen for an update.

You will be inspired and her innovative thinking. If you are a florist who is in search of very special and/or hard-to-locate botanicals for your design work, this interview may prompt you to similarly invest in a flower farmer near you.

And if you’re a flower farmer, why not approach your florist-customers and invite them to brainstorm with you about what to grow for next season? Who knows? Maybe that will lead to a collaborative partnership of your own — one in which florists pre-purchase next year’s crops, giving the farmer up-front capital to buy bulbs, seeds and starts — all with the knowledge that those flowers will go for a fair price in the marketplace?

Emerging flower farmers recently attended the "Flower Power Hour," hosted by Local Color Flowers.

Emerging flower farmers recently attended the “Flower Power Hour,” hosted by Local Color Flowers.

My personal goal is to put more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. I promise that when you tune in next week, you’ll hear another insightful and educational episode of the Slow Flowers Podcast.

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about their work at hhcreates.net.







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SLOW FLOWERS Podcast: Local Color Flowers (Episode 106)

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

SLOW FLOWERS Podcast: Local Color Flowers (Episode 106)

Today’s interview will introduce you to Ellen Frost, a Baltimore-based floral designer who is committed to using only 100% locally-grown flowers in her work. I am so impressed with her business philosophy and her contagious enthusiasm for using flowers from farmers she knows and supports. 

Vote

Vote for your favorite SLOW FLOWERS florist: Ellen Frost’s Local Color Flowers of Baltimore, Maryland

 

Our Mission

Ellen_LoCoFlo

Creative florist Ellen Frost, founder of Local Color Flowers in downtown Baltimore.

Local Color Flowers is a Baltimore-based floral design business. We create personalized arrangements and bouquets from fresh, seasonal, and sustainable flowers cultivated by local specialty growers. We are committed to responsible use of resources, supporting the local economy and promoting neighboring farms. We provide our clients an environmentally and socially conscious alternative when purchasing flowers.

Our Vision

Local Color Flowers seeks to create and support a sustainable community; where people choose local products and services; where flower farms and farm families are thriving; where there is a diverse, strong local economy; and where people are connected to the living world around them.

Our Passion

We love flowers. We love our clients, growers, and partners. We are social entrepeneurs motivated by our relationships and the connections we create. We want our clients to know where their flowers were grown. We want our growers to know how our clients appreciate their products. We want all of our partners to know how we’re green. We want to share our joy and values through our flowers.

IMPORTANT LINKS:

Local Color Flowers’ web site

Home page for Local Color Flowers' web site.

Home page for Local Color Flowers’ web site. Note the compelling “promise” shared with customers who visit Locoflo.com

 

Martha Stewart's 2013 American Made Campaign.

Martha Stewart’s 2013 American Made Campaign.

Vote here for LoCoFlo on Martha Stewart American Made contest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ellen at Work

Ellen at work, designing one of 100 weddings and events on her calendar this year.







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