Life on the Farm
Updated: Oct 27, 2021
Talk to any small local flower farmer and you'll hear a commitment to hard work and a dedication to their craft. Flower farming isn't for the faint of heart. Many factors come into play to make the road to farming a challenging obstacle course. Here are a few:
The physical aspects are demanding. Farming is backbreaking work and because Mother Nature is unpredictable, farmers work in all kinds of weather - snow, rain, heat and humidity. You have to be physically in shape to endure the physical demands of planting, harvesting and hauling crops.
Mother Nature is unforgiving. The growing season is short and flowers are perishable. Weather plays a key part on in making or breaking your profit. A brutal thunderstorm, flood or hailstorm; a dry and hot summer, a cold spring or an early winter - can decimate a field and completely destroy your crops, not to mention worms, birds, bugs, rodents, which are equally destructive.
Overhead is high. The cost of equipment, greenhouses, seed, bulbs, tubers can run into the thousands before a single plant is grown. Once the investment is made - you are at the mercy of the weather for the entire growing season.
Flower farming is competitive. In the last few years, locally grown flowers have become high demand items, but there is a finite market they appeal to. Cooperatives and collectives help market local growers to a larger audience, but the buyers for product hasn't grown. The economy in most areas can only support a few local farms. Most farmers expand into wedding businesses and offer their farm as a venue in order to support their livelihood.
Farming takes years. Like any business, flower farms take a long time to develop. It takes time to grow the right product, find a market and get the word out. Most farmers aren't independently wealthy, so they rely on a grass roots marketing approach. Most flower farms don't survive the first year.
But farming can also be rewarding.
It get's you back to nature. Some people search for a chance to be outdoors. Farming requires being outdoors most of the time and offers you an opportunity to see nature at work. You understand and appreciate the soil, the seasons, the weather conditions and you're always in tune with Mother Nature. There's nothing more soothing to the soul than being in nature.
It gives you pride. Like most of us in the flower businesses - our passion often exceeds our prosperity. While you can be profitable in farming and many large commercial farmers make a good living, most small local flower farms don't farm to make lots of money. Rather, it's a passion and a calling. Farming is a way to connect with people. There's something rewarding about being able to grow plants from the earth to feed people and nurture beauty.
Article Source: Adapted from " So You Want to Become a Flower Farmer?" by the Kokoro Garden
Photo: Dahlia Field - Rustle Floral Co. at Laurel Glen Farm
“Farming is a profession of hope.” - Brian Brett