A collaboration between two farmlets, The Flower Farm Collective are bringing community and sustainability to wedding floristry. Located in the quaint Dungog area, Vanessa and the team provide organic florals to the Hunter Valley and Newcastle areas. We chat to them about what makes their approach so unique.
Please tell us a little about your background and the services that you offer?
We grow, harvest and arrange seasonal flowers using organic practices. We offer a flower CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) throughout Spring, Summer and Autumn where people purchase a share of our seasonal flower harvest. It’s a popular model in the USA but not yet widespread in Australia. We also love using our flowers for weddings and events.
How do you work with wedding couples?
We like to get a feel for what the bride (and groom) have planned for their big day and whether our style fits with their vision. We favour a wild, natural look in our design work. We love brides who think outside the box a little and are willing to be flexible with the type of flowers used. We have a pretty good idea of what we will have growing at a certain time but mother nature makes things difficult sometimes! We guarantee something beautiful and a little different to what you would expect from your average florist. We grow unusual and old fashioned varieties that often don’t transport well which means that they cannot be grown on a commercial scale.
What’s the best thing about working as a collective? What difference are you hoping to make?
Two farms are better than one! Each of us bring different skills to the collective, so we can achieve more together than we would on our own. It helps to share the workload and risk when we grow in different locations. When people sign up to our CSA, they can see how the flowers we grow change over the course of the year and can be connected to the seasons on the farm. We’re hoping to provide the community with an alternative to commercially grown and imported flowers by offering seasonal and organic flowers.
What has surprised you the most about country life?
There’s always something to do, new skills to learn and the great friends we’ve made since moving here. Every day is memorable because we’re enjoying it so much. Raising orphan lambs has been a highlight and was really rewarding along with really enjoying growing fruit, veg and flowers. We’ve been surprised by how strongly we become connected to the natural environment. The weather is a real part of your life out here, instead of just providing a backdrop. You really notice when it hasn’t rained for a few weeks!
Tell us about your happy place?
It’s hard to beat a farm in full bloom!
What does living purposefully mean to you?
Living with purpose is about being true to your values. We care about local produce that is grown in an environmentally friendly way. By utilising principles of permaculture and organic farming techniques we actually improve our soil and farms each year. We hope to share our love of local, seasonal flowers with others.
What’s your dream for the future?
That more and more people will connect more closely with the seasons and begin to value and appreciate locally grown produce of all kinds. Befriend a farmer by shopping at farmers markets, farm gates (Sugarloaf Lane hopes to open a little farm gate in the near future) or joining a CSA. We need to make farming a viable and appealing career option for more young people.
Yay Alex and Alex, for supporting local growers through their wedding. Thanks to Justin Aaron for supplying these real wedding images.