Debra Prinzing

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Episode 540: Slow Flowers Society’s 2021 Year in Review

Wednesday, January 12th, 2022

It’s that time again — our chance to review and reflect on all we achieved and experienced in the year that’s just come to a close — this time, 2021. I’m joined by two key members of the Slow Flowers Team — Karen Thornton, our operations and events manager, and Niesha Blancas, our social media manager, who helped review our highlights and wrap things up for 2021. As historians have taught us, you can’t plan for the future without knowing the past, right?! 

Karen and Niesha are such valuable members of our team and I’m so grateful for their talents and commitment to the Slow Flower Mission! This year, rather than taking a chronological, month-by-month walk through 2021, we thought it would be useful to touch on each of our programs, channels and activities by topic. 


In 2021, we achieved our highest level of membership since the launch of in 2013 — 880 members in all 50 states and most Canadian provinces. What a wonderful growing community of progressive, sustainably-minded, flower people. 

Our monthly Member Meet-ups were a highlight for me — beginning last January when we hosted Rachel Johnson of Simply Grounded, who led our session on Sogetsu Ikebana. The monthly meet-ups averaged 50 attendees all year long — some more, some less. Sometimes we had a number of presenters; other times we included break-out sessions. The meet-ups began in 2020 as a way to connect with each other during the early days of the COVID pandemic. None of us realized how valuable these Zoom calls would become over the ensuing months. In 2021, we averaged 50 attendees each meet-up, and the replay videos have been watched more than 1,200 times.

Continuing with Membership, one of my favorite accomplishments of the year was designing and producing the Member Marketing Toolkit, a digital 42-page booklet that answers all the questions our  members might have regarding ways to participate and get the most out of your membership. And more recently, during October Member Appreciation Month, we produced a special Member Benefits Booklet with discounts and coupons from Slow Flowers Society and our sponsors. 

Member Survey:

The Slow Flowers Member Survey informs our planning and forecasting for the year to come. Here are some highlights:

  • Annual member survey
    • 4.6 satisfaction rating
    • 2021
      • 75.26% (73 people) rate the value of their Slow Flowers membership as high value or very high value
      • 78.35% (76 people) are very satisfied or extremely satisfied with their Slow Flowers membership
      • 82.48% (80 people) are very likely or extremely likely to renew their membership in the upcoming year

Congratulations to our Winners! Everyone who completed the Survey and shared their details was included in a special drawing for two prizes. 

Complimentary Slow Flowers Premium Membership for 1 year ($249 value): April Vomfell, Flathead Farmworks 

Free Slow Flowers Dinner at Blue Hill at Stone Barns – June 27, 2022 in Pocantico Hills, New York ($350 value): Jennifer Kouvant, Six Dutchess Farm

At, our original home online, we invested in some important upgrades to the software platform. Just unveiled in December, we’re calling it 3.0. It was our goal to improve user experience for the consumer and functionality for our members. We are planning a virtual “spring cleaning” later in January to share some of the ways our members can maximize their profile and brand through 3.0, so keep an eye out for that in the coming weeks. We’ll be sure to record the tutorial for replay viewers.

American Flowers Week

  • American Flowers Week –  June 28-July 1
    • 12 botanical couture looks
    • # of downloads of the Botanical Couture Webinar: 45
    • local and national press generated
    • Plus, we celebrated Canadian Flowers week – 7 day Instagram series  July 15-21, 2021

The American Flowers Week looks were featured in the digital edition of Slow Flowers Journal “Botanical Couture.” This was the debut of a digital flip book, and we’re excited to launch the quarterly magazine in 2022, with our winter edition coming later this season. Our members have contributed articles to the website over the past few years — a popular feature — and now we expect to get more members involved in the new project, which we’re publishing in conjunction with BLOOM Imprint (more on that later).

Slow Flowers Summit

Two years in the making, the Slow Flowers Summit was our 4th annual gathering. When I asked Karen to share her feedback, she gave it in one word: Wowzer

What a memorable and successful gathering last June at Filoli Historic House & Garden in Woodside, California.

I have to thank Niesha Blancas for going to Filoli in June 2020, during what would have been our Summit there, and taking beautiful video and photography, as well as filming a design session with Emily Saeger and my IG live interview/tour with Jim Salyards — all while masked, of course! You pulled of a social media feat in 2020 and again in 2021 when the rescheduled Summit took place!

We are especially grateful to our friends at Filoli, who were incredibly supportive in welcoming Slow Flowers and the Summit to their amazing grounds.

Social Media and Communications

Ninety-one percent of our members follow Slow Flowers Society on Instagram, while more than 45 percent follow us on Facebook.

We renamed our Instagram home: @slowflowerssociety

  • Followers: 39.1K
  • Reach: 2.4 Million
  • Impressions: 2.6 Million

We launched a new Instagram account: @slowflowerssummit

  • Reach: 18.5K
  • Impressions: 17K

New Video

There are so many ways that we share inspiring news and resources with you. In 2021, we invested in a short 3-minute Slow Flowers video to introduce the organization to potential members, strategic partners and supporters.
The video was filmed and edited by Alayna Erhart of Alayna Erhart Studio. It features me clipping flowers in the Slow Flowers Cutting Garden, the fabulous gathering of members at Filoli Historic House & Garden at the recent 2021 Slow Flowers Summit and a visit to the UW Farm with member Riz Reyez of RHR Horticulture. Special thanks to the members who share their voices of endorsement and support, including Sarah Reyes of Wildflower & FernTobey Nelson of Tobey Nelson Events and Design and Laura Gonzales of Swallows Secret Garden! Look closely – do you see yourself here in our community!? We’re ready to welcome you as a member!

Storytelling, Newsletter, Original Content

We love producing our monthly newsletter to send to you at the beginning of each month. The Slow Flowers newsletter is a popular resource for our members — in fact, in the recent survey, more than 3/4 of you tell us you usually or always read it! Our content is rich, informative and inspiring — and newsletters keep you up to date on events and PR opportunities available to members. I like to treat the newsletter as a chronicle of all we’ve achieved from month to month, and the archives are easy to find in the footer of Subscribe to the newsletter here.

Stories about our Members: Whenever I’m asked to write for another floral or farming publication, I make it a priority to feature our members and their expertise as my sources. In 2021, that meant including you in several articles for Johnny’s Seeds’ newsletter called JSS Advantage; a guest piece for Details Flowers Software; guest articles for Florists’ Review, Growing for Market and Longfield Gardens, among other outlets.

You could file these stories under Slow Flowers advocacy and outreach, and I’m especially excited about our partnership with the National Gardening Association and to include cut flower questions in the 2021 National Gardening Survey.

The findings were published in April, revealing encouraging national attitudes about local and domestic cut flowers. And in 2022, we’re joining with NGA to dig deeper into attitudes and consumer behavior — this time about where people buy their local and domestic flowers — can’t wait to share with you!

Our ongoing commitment to Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

  • Ongoing support of women business owners
    • Updated Slow Flowers Manifesto
    • BIPOC and LGBTQ+ presenters and speakers at meet ups and Summit
    • Female BIPOC AFW artist
    • BIPOC botanical couture models

To proactively pursue equity, inclusion and representation in the floral marketplace, intentionally valuing Black floral professionals (farmers, floral designers and vendors) in our business practice with as much support as we give to environmental sustainability.

new Slow flowers manifesto statement (2021)


In addition to our Monthly Member Meet-Up, other educational offerings include offering you free access to webinars with our partners, including Johnny’s Seeds, Bloom Imprint, AIFD and Fleurvana Floral Summit. We also taught the Slow Flowers Creative Workshop in January and helped so many aspiring writers flex their writing muscles and learn new skills.

BLOOM Imprint

In 2021, we launched our publishing branch of Slow Flowers — BLOOM Imprint. As a boutique publisher, we are committed to producing floral lifestyle books by and about our Slow Flowers members.

  • Where We Bloom published (May)
    • Virtual book launch
    • Garden Design magazine webinar
    • Mornings with Mayesh webinar
  • A Life in Flowers published (Oct)
  • Growing Wonder & Black Flora coming up and more books to follow with Slow Flowers members like Adam and Jennifer O’Neal of PepperHarrow Farm and Cynthia Zamaria of House + Flower

Slow Flowers Podcast

Finally, we must note all of our Podcast achievements. If you watched this conversation that Niesha, Karen and I are having on Facebook Live or YouTube, you’ll realize this is one of our new initiatives for 2021 — since our 8th anniversary in late July, we have added video interviews aka Vodcasts to the mix.

  • Podcast… and vodcast!
    • GardenComm Silver Award
    • # of Vodcast views: 2,375 (5 months, July-Dec)
    • Lifetime downloads: 801,000
    • 2021 downloads: 96,383

Thank you to our Sponsors

This is the weekly podcast about Slow Flowers and the people who grow and design with them. It’s all about making a conscious choice and I invite you to join the conversation and the creative community as we discuss the vital topics of saving our domestic flower farms and supporting a floral industry that relies on a safe, seasonal and local supply of flowers and foliage.

This show is brought to you by, 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, returning for 2022, 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

Lead Sponsor: Farmgirl Flowers
Major Sponsors: Longfield Gardens, Johnny’s Seeds, The Gardener’s Workshop,, Red Twig Farm, Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers, and Rooted Farmers
Channel Sponsors: Mayesh Wholesale, CalFlowers,, Details Flowers Software, CoolBot and Scenic Place Peonies.

Slow Flowers Podcast Logo with flowers, recorder and mic

Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast is a member-supported endeavor, downloaded more than 804,000 times by listeners like you. I value our loyal members and supporters! If you’re new to our weekly Show and our long-running Podcast, check out all of our resources at Slow Flowers 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.

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

Thanks so much for joining us today and I’ll see you next week!

Music Credits:

For We Shall Know Speed; Turning on the Lights; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions

by Tryad

In The Field

Episode 478 Portland Wedding Designer Joy Proctor on creating the Say Their Names Memorial + a Bonus Conversation with Karen Thornton of Avenue 22 Events

Wednesday, November 4th, 2020
Joy Proctor, Joy Proctor Design

I’m so honored today to welcome Portland wedding designer Joy Proctor, owner of Joy Proctor Design. Joy is internationally-recognized and named a top wedding designer by Harper’s Bazaar and Bride’s Magazine.

The first Say Their Names Memorial was installed in Portland, Oregon, where Joy is based
(c) Jessica G. Mangia Photography
Joy Proctor’s activism has sparked a grassroots effort to honor the lives lost to racial injustice (c) Jessica G. Mangia Photography

In June, Joy and a group of friends, artists, designers and craftspeople came together in a grassroots effort to create the first Say Their Names Memorial in Portland, Oregon.

The photographic and floral tribute used art to honor hundreds of Black men, women and young people whose lives were taken unjustly by systemic racism and racial injustice. It was first installed on June 19th, also known as Juneteenth or Freedom Day, a holiday celebrating the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States.

Joy Proctor at the Kirkland, Wash., Say Their Names Memorial
(c) Morgan Petroski Photography

The “Say Their Name Memorial” has grown into a nationwide initiative and it has been put up in over 25 locations nationwide since then. Joy’s aim is to use the memorial to facilitate conversation around systemic racism while honoring those whose lives have been taken by it.   

Say Their Names Memorial at Germany Park in Dallas, spearheaded by Bows & Arrows Flowers (c) N. Barrett Photography

I also want to acknowledge the amazing work and passion of Dallas creatives Alicia and Adam Rico, fellow wedding designer friends and colleagues of Joy’s, and Slow Flowers members who own Bows & Arrows Flowers. I first learned the Say Their Names Memorial project through their efforts in Dallas, Austin and other communities. 

Corporate Event Planner and Slow Flowers Operations, Membership and Events Manager Karen Thornton of Avenue 22 Events (c) Missy Palacol Photography

You’ll also meet a second guest, Karen Thornton of the Slow Flowers team, who was inspired to bring the Say Their Names Memorial to the Seattle Area. On October 20th, Karen and I finally met Joy, her sister Elise Proctor and their colleague Stacy Feder when they drove from Portland to Kirkland, outside Seattle, to spend a day lending their support to the local production.  

For this Podcast, I’ve invited Joy and Karen to speak about this project and share how they, as passionate and gifted wedding and corporate event professionals, respectively, are using beauty and art to raise awareness, change attitudes and protest injustice in their communities and beyond.  

A photo shoot for Flutter Magazine, designed by Joy Proctor (c) Jose Villa, with florals by Amy Osaba Events

Before we get started, here’s more about Joy Proctor:

Since starting in the wedding business in 2007, Joy’s reputation and projects have led to her current reputation as one of the most highly sought after creative directors in the world, known for producing original, inventive concepts. She has designed for many brands and publications in search of new, beautiful and innovative ideas. From concept to creation, Joy and her team produce visual campaigns, branded content and editorial features for elegant and discerning clientele. As a well regarded prop and photo stylist, Joy is known for the styling of details for photo and prestigious publications. 

Joy served as creative director and designer for “The Beauty of Rice,” an editorial photo shoot in Thailand (c) D’arcy Benincosa

With the aim of styling everything like it were a magazine feature, she takes photo design very seriously, creating a timeline, shot list and production plan to ensure the best shots. 

She provides props and backgrounds to perfectly capture the client’s design in its best light.  

Joy’s styling work appears on the cover of the first Style Me Pretty book, Style Me Pretty Weddings

She has designed and styled weddings and events in Madagascar, Italy, Provence, France, the resort town of telluride, the Cotswolds, Thailand and beyond.

Joy planned and designed the 2019 wedding of Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas (c) Corbin Gurkin

Find and follow Joy Proctor at these social places:

Joy Proctor Design on Instagram

Joy Proctor Design on Facebook

Joy Proctor Design on Pinterest

Thousands have witnessed the memorial tributes to lives lost to systemic racism across our country. What Joy’s story reveals is the power of a single idea, and the potential of community grassroots action.

Say Their Names Memorial web site

Say Their Names Memorial on Instagram

Karen Thornton of Avenue 22 Events at the Kirkland, Wash., Say Their Names Memorial
(c) Morgan Petroski Photography

Next up, I want to share a short interview with my dear friend and colleague Karen Thornton, owner of Seattle-based Avenue 22 Events. Karen has served as Slow Flowers’ event manager since 2018 and in 2020, she assumed our operations and membership.

Hundreds of beautiful black-and-white portraits honored with individual floral tributes (c) Morgan Petroski Photography in Kirkland, Washington

You’ll hear more about the Kirkland, Washington, Say Their Names Memorial, which continues on display through November. You are invited to view the Memorial where portraits and flowers are on display at six places of worship across the community of Kirkland:

Memorial Locations
Holy Spirit Lutheran Church, 10021 NE 124th St, Kirkland, WA 98034
Kirkland Congregational United Church of Christ, 106 5th Ave, Kirkland, WA 98033
Lake Washington Christian Church, 343 15th Ave, Kirkland, WA 98033
Lake Washington United Methodist Church, 7525 132nd Ave. NE, Kirkland, WA 98033
Northlake Unitarian Universalist Church, 308 4th Ave. S, Kirkland, WA 98033
Saint John’s Episcopal Church, 105 State St., Kirkland, WA 98033

In her consulting business, Karen brings a distinctive and comprehensive skill set to event planning and management. Her background in experience design and business consulting and her ability to execute on detailed logistics help ensure satisfying, meaningful events. Karen deeply understands how to develop engaging programs and invests the effort to ensure that all the event details are in place. From visioning and honing objectives to budget management and marketing to selecting the venue and securing vendors, Karen confidently, competently does it all.

Find and follow Avenue 22 Events:

Avenue 22 Events on Instagram

Here is a list of resources and supporters for the Kirkland Say Their Names Memorial. Thank you!


Morgan Petroski Photography @morgpetphoto 

Graphic Design and Sign Printing

Blue Ink @blueinkcreates   

Printing (Portraits)

Woodinville Print             

Flowers Provided and Procured by:

Slow Flowers @myslowflowers

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market @seattlewholesalegrowersmarket

Floressence @floressencellc

Lora Bloom


Bad Weather Farm @badweatherurbanfarm

Hazel Designscapes @hazeldesignscapes

Rentals (tables, tents)

Grand Event Rentals @grandeventrentals  

Catering + Sweets (for volunteers day-of)


Lady Yum @ladyyum   

Thanks so so much for being present with me for these two important conversations. It means so much that Slow Flowers as a community provides these diverse channels for advocacy, education, outreach and activism.

And the conversation will continue, of course, as we move into 2021.

It’s your final chance to enter the generous course giveaway offered by last week’s guest Ellen Frost of Local Color Flowers. Ellen is giving a complimentary registration to her new online workshop — Growing Your Business with Local Flower Sourcing to one listener of the Slow Flowers Podcast. The six-week course begins January 4, 2021 and the course value is $495. What a generous giveaway! To enter, make a comment in the show notes at for episode 477 (and be sure to listen to my conversation with Ellen while there)  — 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. And for everyone, click on this link to sign up for notifications when registration opens Nov. 16-20. I’m excited for the winner already!

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 655,000 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.

Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by, 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.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds, an employee-owned company that provides our industry the best flower, herb and vegetable seeds — supplied to farms large and small and even backyard cutting gardens like mine. Find the full catalog of flower seeds and bulbs at

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

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

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

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

Music Credits:

Basketliner; Bridgewalker; Donnalee; Turning on the Lights; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions

Lovely by Tryad

In The Field