Get Your Local On with Slow Flowers

What's more evocative than a local and seasonal, American-grown bouquet?
What’s more evocative than a local and seasonal, American-grown bouquet?

by Debra Prinzing
I know you adore flowers as much as I do.  But more than loving flowers, I’m passionate about American grown flowers, a topic I’ve occasionally written about here on Garden Rant.

Take the Pledge!
Take the Pledge!

I use the term “Slow Flowers” to define the practice of sourcing flowers locally, one that closely mirrors the Slow Food Movement.

Whether it’s choosing to live within a smaller footprint for our food choices or our flower choices, there are many admirable values in common as we celebrate America’s artisan farmers and value the safe, fresh, local and seasonal crops they grow.

Yet the “floral industry” is miles behind the culinary world in adopting these practices. In writing a book called Slow Flowers, producing and hosting the weekly “Slow Flowers Podcast,” and last year launching the online directory to American flowers and the people who grow and design with them, I’ve endeavored to help things along.

But I’m just one person. The Slow Flowers community is growing and you’re invited to participate in any way that reflects your own values and philosophy.

With the gardening season fully upon us, I wanted to share some resources with you and invite you to join me in advocating for local, seasonal and sustainable flowers.

1. Slow Flowers by the Numbers. This infographic, produced last fall with graphic designer Willo Bellwood of Seattle’s Metric Media, encapsulates all the available data answering this question: “Do You Know Where Your Flowers Come From?” You can download a free copy of this infographic here.

WhereFlowersInfoGraphic_06 Final

2. Best Practices for Defining “Local.” Consider this just-released infographic a Slow Flowers Primer for determining how to gather flowers from your own backyard, from flower farmers in your region, or from domestic American grown sources. You can download a free copy of this infographic here.


3. Dinner in a Flower Field. With a nod to friend and fellow American Grown flower advocate Christina Stembel, creator of the Field to Vase blog, Slow Flowers has partnered with the Certified American Grown brand to launch the Field to Vase Dinner Tour.


What is the Field to Vase Dinner Tour? It’s an advocacy and outreach campaign embodied in a 10-city series of farm-to-table dinners, convened on America’s flower farms, coast-to-coast. The third dinner of the year will be held on one of the last commercial rose farms in the U.S. next Friday, June 19th – at California Pajarosa Farm in Watsonville, Calif. (Monterey Bay area).

The table was set for our April 15th Field to Vase Dinner at The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, Calif., where we dined amid 50 acres of ranunculus (c) Jodee Debes Photo.
The table was set for our April 15th Field to Vase Dinner at The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, Calif., where we dined amid 50 acres of ranunculus (c) Jodee Debes Photo.

More Field to Vase Dinners are coming to a city near you — from Boulder and Brooklyn to Washington, D.C. and Washington State, as well as Detroit, Portland and San Diego.

Imagine sharing a farm-to-table meal while you’re seated among acres of flowers or surrounded by delicate blooms in a greenhouse. This meal is a little different – and far more evocative – than any other culinary event you’ve ever attended. That’s because in addition to a delicious locally-sourced menu prepared by a chef who believes in using seasonal ingredients, the Field to Vase Dinner showcases the best seasonal, sustainable and locally-grown flowers around.

00392_AYC_AGF_FieldToVase_WebSq_v3 (1)-page-002You’re invited to join me at one of these fabulous American flower farms where you’ll dine with like-minded guests similarly drawn to this one-of-a-kind meal.

The menu is served family-style at one long table. This is a dinner party, time to make friends while enjoying the menu and the flowers!

As a reader of Garden Rant, you will receive a $25 discount on the Field to Vase Dinner when you register. Click here to obtain the discount code.

Please click here for more details – and to see the calendar of dates, locations, as well as profiles of the flower farmers who are hosting each dinner. Start dreaming of a delicious and fragrant evening surrounded by American Grown Flowers. ! I promise: The feast that delights your eyes will be as delicious as the food on your fork. 

Look for me in a flower field near you!
Look for me in a flower field near you!


  1. Debra, I have great admiration for all you’ve done to start and sustain this movement. After too many disappointing flower arrangements composed of boring flowers flown in on jets, I am sticking with local flowers.

  2. Few florists will make the shift to locally sourced flowers unless their customers demand it. Good, long established shops have strong allegiances to their year-round wholesale suppliers of imports upon whom they depend for quality and service. Only when the market dictates the change to local flowers in season will it happen. At present, year-round flower wholesalers and local flower producers are mostly in an adversarial relationship, though that is slowly changing as a result of efforts like Debra’s. As a grower and self marketer, I look forward to the day when established wholesalers recognize the superior quality and freshness of local flowers and team up with growers in season. We growers end up marketing our own flowers only because no one else will. Frankly, we would all rather spend the day in the field than on the road.

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