Sunday, September 16, 2012

Crazy idea #23 - Slow Flowers

Organic Flower Farming

Cut flowers have been one of the most profitable per m2 product you can grow.  This very chipper article from Mother Earth News suggests that cut flowers could bring in as much as $15,000 per acre.  Of course the article is from 2002, when everyone had more disposable cash. 

However, it turns out that there´s quite a floriculture industry in Galicia, concentrated in the south, which isn´t too surprising with the abundance of rainfall and temperate climate.  I think the greenhouse revolution has had a big impact on the economic growth of the industry.  And I rather fear that it´s the industrial agro model that´s being followed - when in doubt drench in chemicals.

Since then, according to this pdf from COAG in 2008, several flower growing sectors were already contracting in Spain, under pressure from emerging producers in Columbia, Kenya and Ecuador.  And the situation is getting grim in the US as well.   I wonder when rising oil prices will put the cost of globalized shipping of stuff out of reach.

Still, even with the economy in the dumps, surely people will still want flowers.  There will still be a Mother´s Day, Valentine´s Day.  People will still celebrate weddings, anniversaries, and funerals with flowers, won´t they?  Actually, you may have heard that they just raised the value-added taxes here and both flowers and funerals got bumped.  There´s a joke in there somewhere about death and taxes.

I stumbled on Saipua, a young floral designer in NYC who is amazeballs (warning for salty language).  I have never wanted so badly to be hip.  She´s renovating a 19th century farm in upstate New York to grow her own product.  Her arrangements are beautiful.  Heads up to you friends in NYC - her shop´s in Brooklyn, and they sell soap too!

Or, on this side of the pond, the quirky and delightfully named Miss Pickering (and the hound).  These are like something out of a Rembrandt.

Another interesting blog, Floret Flower Farm has some hints about packing product into small acreage and some stunning images.

More on local/organic flower farming at Mother Earth News.

More info on growing (in Gallego) at Producindo Planta

BERFLORA 2012 takes place in Valencia October 3 - 5.

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