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Embracing Less

Refining your plans and making your farm work for you

If I had to give one piece of advice to new flower farmers, it would be to be prepared for unique challenges every year.

In my years of growing flowers as a business, I've grown through two seasons of extreme drought, two seasons of too much rain, one season of wildfire smoke, and one season of extended spring. I've had frosts come a month late and two weeks earlier than the average. I've passed out Mother's Day bouquets with snowflakes falling. You get the picture: growing crops is unpredictable. And our current climate crisis is adding fuel to the fire, in some cases literally.

Small farmers in particular need to be thinking hard about maximizing profits and growing in ways that support our ecosystems while allowing the farmer to maintain some level of sanity. This is harder than it sounds some days.

On an episode of the Field & Garden podcast, I heard a quote that has become a guiding principle in my farm:

"Sustainable farming has to be sustainable for the farmer too."

This season has not been sustainable for me. A few weeks ago, I took a hard look at my field and calculated how much it cost my time and energy without bringing in any profit. The answer was too much. In addition to needing to change up my crop plan, I knew I needed to make some changes to my business model in order to make the business work for my life and not the other way around. My kids are getting close to launch and I want to spend as much time with them as possible.

Lately, whenever I look out at the field the word that comes to mind is LESS. I started to think about what less looked like- less varieties, less square footage in production, less outlets for sales (particularly eliminating the outlets that aren't profitable or enjoyable). Less also looked like less time away from my family in the summer, less stress about taking a vacation mid-season, and without a doubt a plan for less weeds!

With all this in mind, I have started to develop a plan for what Kinship Blooms will look like going forward. It's still a work in progress, but here are some of the big changes:

-Going from growing nearly 50 types of flowers to around 10.

-Focusing mainly on spring crops and dahlias.

-eliminating all summer annuals except two (I'll share these exceptions in my next post).

-going all in on ala carte weddings.

-increasing tuber and corm sales.

It will be a few more months before these changes are in full effect, but I already feel more peace about the future. If you are drowning in all the things you have to do, I encourage you to listen to that little voice telling you it's time to change.



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