SLOW FLOW­ERS

First it was slow food - now there’s a new move­ment bloom­ing

Northern Rivers Style - - FRONT PAGE -

You bring home a bunch of flow­ers from the florist, pop them on the ta­ble and breath in their scent. How would you feel if you knew they’d been coated in pes­ti­cide be­fore they reached you?

Avoid­ing the toxic chem­i­cals com­monly sprayed on cut flow­ers is just one of the rea­sons Han­nah Robert­son started her busi­ness, Our Lit­tle Flower Farm, which spe­cialises in grow­ing and sup­ply­ing lo­cal, sus­tain­able, sea­sonal and or­ganic flow­ers, in­clud­ing old va­ri­eties such as zin­nias and cos­mos, dahlias and snap­drag­ons.

Based on a small river side farm in the vil­lage of Co­raki, Our Lit­tle Flower Farm sells di­rect to the pub­lic from The Velvet Star Sa­lon on By­ron St in Ban­ga­low in a lit­tle pop up flower box and sells to or­der and di­rect to flo­ral de­sign­ers. Han­nah has also re­cently started to pro­vide flow­ers for wed­dings, events and bars.

Han­nah says there is a grow­ing col­lec­tive of flower grow­ers who are adopt­ing slow flower prin­ci­ples and us­ing or­gan­i­cally based grow­ing meth­ods to pro­duce qual­ity cut flow­ers.

“We build on the health of the soil pro­file and en­cour­age healthy in­sect ac­tiv­ity, we use re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als and re­us­able grow­ing sup­ports and we en­sure we sup­port lo­cal busi­ness where ever pos­si­ble. We sell lo­cally to re­duce travel miles and have re­cently col­lab­o­rated with other lo­cal flower grow­ers to cre­ate the North­ern Rivers Flower Farm­ers Col­lec­tive. We be­lieve that by sup­port­ing each other and es­tab­lish­ing a pres­ence in this re­gion it will en­cour­age florists and the gen­eral pub­lic to choose sus­tain­ably grown flow­ers and to start ask­ing about the ori­gin of their flow­ers,” Han­nah says.

“Sus­tain­ably grown flow­ers are avail­able within a day or two of be­ing har­vested, they are not coated in chem­i­cal pes­ti­cides and are there­fore health­ier to have in your home or to use in bri­dal bou­quets or even on your food. When you buy from a lo­cal pro­ducer you are sup­port­ing a fam­ily and not the im­port trade, the statis­tics of which are both mind blow­ing and of­ten eth­i­cally du­bi­ous.”

Come spring this year, Han­nah will run her first course, teach­ing the ba­sics of grow­ing qual­ity cut flow­ers from the gar­den.

“It will run over two days and we aim to of­fer peo­ple the op­por­tu­nity to de­velop con­fi­dence to sow seeds and en­joy the beauty of flow­ers ev­ery­day,” Han­nah says.

■ Our Lit­tle Flower Farm is on In­sta­gram and Face­book

PHOTO: KATE O'NEILL

Co­raki slow flower grower Han­nah Robert­son

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