Sustainable Flower Farming – Profit using Cut Flowers
Cut flowers are one of the most profitable crops you can grow. Growers across the US report sales of $25,000 to $30,000 per acre. This includes cost of planting, tending, harvesting, pricing and selling. As a general rule of thumb, established farmers will net 50-60% per acre cost, so that equals $12,000 to $15,000 per acre to direct income.
In Washington’s Skagit Valley is Floret Farm, a two acre farm started by Erin and Chris Benzakein, started sharing their flower growing story on social media. When a picture of Erin, standing in a field with 4,000 Dahlias was posted, folks were blown away and then Floret Farm went viral.
The Benzakeins grow about 400 varieties on a farm no bigger than many suburban lawns. They use certified organic practices, no fertilizers, compost and insect eating frogs along with testing and rebalancing soil.
Floret Farm is one of the most visible of the new farmer-florist movements to transform what has become a dirty global flower industry. This has become a revitalizing sustainable American flower growers market.
Reshaping the floral market and breaking the rules of cut flower arranging.Â The wholesale market has always depended on stiff, straight stems and making bouquets look so uniform and stiff; we are changing that to more free form, soft, fluid and mixed design arrangements, says Lynn Byczynski, author of The Flower Farmer: An Organic Grower’s Guide to Raising and Selling Cut Flowers.
According to the USDA, 80% of all flowers sold in the US are imported from South America and China. These industrial farms use harsh chemicals. Fertilizers, pesticides and use unfair labor practices. Plus, before coming into the US flowers must be fumigated to clear thru customs.
Do you know where your flowers came from, what they were sprayed with?
Consider the massive carbon footprint from the global transport and plastic packaging.
Lisa Zieglar, from the Gardeners Workshop, says although still small flower farmers are clearly growing by a 20% increase in the past five years. Sustainable floriculture will replace and transform what has become a dirty global industry and opens the door to a growing American flower market.
Buy flowers at local sources, farmers markets, local grocers or at least stateside. Whole Foods and Trader Jo’s sell certified Veri- flora, growers that meet ecofriendly and fair trade standards.
Farmer’s at your local markets can explain how their flowers were raised and the use of beneficial insects and help educate the public.
If flowers are in your future; books and other growers are available for guidance and production methods, insights to markets and what kinds to grow in your region.
Opportunities are abundant selling to florist, grocery stores, wholesalers, farmers market and weddings. It’s a great way to make a livelihood, be your own boss, meeting challenges and good hard work.
Recent new techniques on how to prolong a harvest, use of greenhouses when temperatures are too extreme and special soil preparations are helping growth.
Flower farming is growing at record rates, demand is now high.
About the Author:
Cindy Burrows, B.S., M.T., Herbalist, is a Natural Health Consultant helping individuals start health programs to improve their life, wellness and happiness. Cindy is a speaker, writer and entrepreneur of several businesses. Contact her at Cindyshealinggarden@gmail.com