What is local? As an adjective, it is a belonging or relating to a particular area or neighborhood and typically exclusively so. As a noun, local means an inhabitant of a particular area or neighborhood. (Did I look those up online, YES! [Oxford Dictionaries])
To me, local means reinvesting in my community. Now, from time to time the boundary lines of my community flex. It depends on what we are talking about. If we are talking about oranges, well that community line extends much further. If we are talking about Christmas trees, mine would definitely be Washington grown. I know I can’t always be so selective on all goods I purchase, but I try to when I can. We all have different commitment levels to local and for different reasons.
(My dear farmer friend, Dani Graham of Dig It Flower Farm in Duvall, WA.)
However, when it comes to flowers I am very specific. If you’ve been following me a for a while, you likely know I call myself a local and sustainable florist. What does that mean exactly?
I source only local flowers and utilize eco-friendly floral techniques as much as I can. In the summer growing season of the Pacific Northwest, I am almost entirely sourcing floral product from Washington, Oregon and California. No matter how beautiful a rose or large its bloom, when I discover it’s not grown in the United States, I pass. The only exception is when I’ve worked with imported product in workshops or it was given to me as a gift. It’s not always easy. There is some amazing imported floral product out there. I would love to use it, but I’ve made a commitment to my customers and to my floral community.
I have been wrong and accidentally purchased product not grown in the U.S. To my knowledge, it happened once. It was painful to discover absolutely zero of it is grown in the U.S., but it’s ok. I’ll find another way. There is so much amazing product being grown right here in my own community.
(Dani Graham in her happy place. She is often found working her flower farm in flip flops. I adore this.)
Why do I do this? That’s a good question. I suppose it’s because I’ve looked into the eyes of so many hardworking flower farmers over the years. I look at their hands, see the dust on their boots, and marvel at the tired smiles on their faces. I’ve sat with them at dinner and know the names of their children. I ask about their husbands and wives and cheer when I see them featured on a blog or in a magazine. They grow something that ultimately dies in our care. It’s doesn’t nurture our bodies, though some would argue that statement. What they grow is there for so many happy and sad moments in our lives. They are committed to our community far more than people may realize.
What is one way you could help serve your community better? I’d love to hear from you.
(Dani Graham and I have known each other for several years. She's a wonderful friend, mother, and wife. She is a constant source of knowledge about flower farming and I cherish her deeply. She grows some of the most incredible product I've ever seen and a fighter in this flower farming industry. She is my community.)
*All photos courtesy of Missy Palacol Photography. All thoughts and opinions posted on this blog are my own and I receive no compensation to do so.*