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The Sustainable Flowers Podcast:

A conversation about sustainable cut flower growing and designing between two passionate Canadian  growers trying to figure it out.

Heather and Clara grow cut flowers for market on the northern edge of the Canadian Prairies.  In this podcast they discuss the issues they face and alternatives to conventional approaches that they are putting into practice or are trialing to ensure that their small-scale flower farming operations are sustainable. Looking to the past and to new technologies to learn the whys and hows, they discuss everything from peat to floral foam, Antirrhinum to Zinnias as well as their weekly adventures on their Zones 2 and 3 flower farms.

Feb 16, 2019

This week we're discussing the word "Sustainable" and why we used it in our podcast title.

This wonderful word is threadbare from over and ill-use, but we chose to embrace it fully, because as some wise journalist once said"Sustainability is not a trend, its an ethic".  

*apologies to the originator, Clara managed to lose the reference,(if you are the author and are reading this please let us know! 

Some links to the ideas and definitions we use in today's podcast are: 

We started with a reference to Amy Stewart's ground breaking book called "Flower Confidential" The Good, the Bad and the Beautiful in the Business of Flowers". 

  • Stewart, A. 2007. Flower Confidential. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. ISBN-13:978-I-56512-438-7

It was Gro Harlem Bruntland, Chair of the UN Bruntland Commission who wrote most clearly and persuasively about Sustainable Development: and it is from her definition that our discussion pivoted and expanded. 

We also explored the Venn Diagram of Sustainability, seen frequently, but we used the one from the University of Alberta's Sustainability Council UofA Sustainability Definition .  You also sometimes hear of the "Triple Bottom-Line" which also alludes to the idea of the three pillars or spheres.

In our discussion Clara tries to explain a diagram over the airwaves- which doesn't work so well- so here are the versions of the Venn she was rethinking.

Sustainability Venn 1


We also referred to Wendell Berry's fabulous (ok, what Wendell Berry essay isn't?) essay called Solving for Pattern, which can be found here Berry - Solving for Pattern.

Absolutely love his definition of what a "good" (sustainable?) decision involves: observation, insight, imagination, inventiveness, reverence, devotion, fidelity and restraint. 

Following on this we discuss five filters,  found on Broadfork Farm's blog post from back in 2015, where Shannon and Bryan explain how they evaluate their work and decisions on their farm.  We loved this and will be discussing these filters in almost all of our episodes. Find their thoughtful blog post here

Week 2- January 9, 2019 This week on our farms

Heather had planted up her lisianthus seeds and was preparing to put seeds for some of her perennials in the fridge for a period of cold stratification in preparation for an early planting. 

Clara was getting ready to do that too, but mostly doing her best to not succumb to the urge to plant more seed yet! It's way too early. 

Thanks for joining us today!  Our podcast music was composed and performed by Heather's son Callum and audio editing was done by Laura Eccleston.