Amy Crawford, Flower Farmer
Grower / Designer
At Santa Rosa Community College, a friend bringing her own floral design arrangement into a different class they shared, is responsible for a whole new direction in life Amy never considered before. The College has a floral design program (2 yr certificate) to introduce students to floral styles, various flowers & foliages, and the background needed to become a designer.
She fell in love with all the different flowers her instructors introduced her to. She was also appalled at the cost of the flowers.
Not the physical cost but the environmental cost; over 80% had been flown in from overseas. The "carbon cost" was huge and the chemicals used in the overseas markets were basically unregulated; to the detriment of the flower farm workers overseas and to the designers that used them here in the states.
Sorting through those issues she realized that here in Sonoma County we have the perfect growing environment for most flowers; a Mediterranean climate (mild winter, mild summers). If she focused on flowers that did not travel well she could provide sustainable grown organic flowers & foliages to the floral market designers. In addition, she could enjoy creating designs herself for clients and at her farm stand. A win-win; low carbon cost and chemical-free designs that were safe for anyone to use and to be around.
Most important, they fit into a regenerative farming model that provides food and habitats for beneficials for the veggies that need pollinators. Pollinators use flowers for food and enjoy eating pesky pests as well.
Talk about killing 3 birds with one stone (well, NOT killing birds but you get the point)...
by growing flowers,
1: you provide food for butterflies, bees, birds, and other beneficials.
2: You provide a habitat where they can live safely, with a food supply close at hand.
And 3: they do pest control for YOU.
In supporting the flower operation here on the farm we are also contributing to reducing the carbon footprint of flowers and the elimination of the environment contaminates of chemical pesticides/herbicides used in the traditional industrial model of flower farming.
I spent 30 years in the field of Maternal-Child nursing; which included Family-Centered Labor & Delivery, High-risk OB, Newborn Intensive Care, and trained as a Nurse Practitioner in Women's Health.
A sudden impact from a speeding deputy sheriff brought that career to an end with some significant long-term injuries. Following the advice that the best way to recover was to keep learning new things, I delved into the effects of our industrial food model and how to reframe our food systems. (I used to teach diet management to diabetics during pregnancy).
Food components impact our children, our unborn, our own long-term health. The chemicals used in the industrial model are not without consequences and many never, let me repeat, NEVER go away. These man-created chemicals are added to nature's storehouse. It is scary to think about the potential side effects when developing fetuses are exposed to chemicals nature has never seen before.
Technology and science have also given us a greater insight into how nature functions and how we can work with her. Nature has spent millenniums working out a sustainable system. We have spent the last few hundred of years, taking from nature and exhausting those resources.
We have to learn to give back as well, so that the system continues to work, as there is no new land to provide the bounty in the soil that produces quality nutrient-dense crops. On The Heritage Farm, we work on the farm to feed the soil so it can feed the rest of nature. Put more into the system than we take out.
In all the chaos of the world, there is very little we can personally do to make a difference, in the bigger picture. But we can on a smaller scale.
It is on our small farm that we are working to actively make a difference, for our local community. By the products that we produce and by the education we look forward to providing to those who want to make their own impact. You may not have 4 acres to work with but you do have a way to join in the work.
Looking forward to meeting you!