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So... Why Flowers?

Last weekend while working my booth at the Spring Market in the Park I was chatting with my neighbor. I very kind woman named Christina. She is an employee of Illinois DCFS. Her table was full of information about becoming a much needed foster parent and job opportunities within the organization. I had my 2 boys with me due to an unforeseen turn of events. They were running around and "helping" as much as a 4 and 3 year-old can while I threw snacks at them including bags of chips and fruit snacks. I was left feeling simultaneously self-conscious about my own parenting choices and relief that she "must like kids, right? She works for DCFS..." In the end, everything ended up being more than fine.
When you work an event like a market you get to know your neighbors (especially if you're doing it solo which we both were), typically they are very kind and you chat during slow times, help each other set up your tents or watch each other's stuff if you need to use the restroom or get food. During a lull in the day Christina asked me, "So why flowers?" And this got me thinking. I'll get to the answer in a little bit.
A couple days later I was talking to a friend and fellow small business owner about the multiple hats we wear being entrepreneurs. And I came to the realization how incredibly hard flower farming is. I mean I knew it was hard, but dang! It's so much more than many other businesses. Let's start with the hats. In my business I am the Owner, Purchaser, Accountant, Sales Rep, Photographer, Marketer, Social Media Content Creator, Website Developer, Human Resources, etc. These are all the same for most small businesses starting off. But the unique part of flower farming is I am also the Horticulturalist, Agronomist, Etymologist, Field Hand. And that's just to get the flower to bloom! Then I become the Wholesaler, Florist and Floral Designer. What it comes down to is I am the artist who creates their own paint, the chef who grows all their own ingredients, the carpenter who mills their own lumber.

Every stem variety has been hand selected, sown, transplanted, weeded, watered, fertilized, harvested, conditioned, and arranged (mind you each variety has different requirements for each step!) before it can make it into your hands. That's if it hasn't been damaged by weather, disease, pests or a sundry of other misfortunes beyond my control.
So back to Christina's question. Why flowers? Why do all of this work for something that is ultimately going to die? Because.
Because smelling the earth and getting my hands dirty feeds my soul in a way nothing else does. Because toiling in the weeds brings the satisfaction of a job well done far more than sitting in front of a screen. Because since the beginning of time people have used flowers as symbols of love and affection, bringing smiles to one another in moments of joy and sorrow. Because I hope the prayers I pray of love and goodwill over the seeds I sow are felt by the person who enjoys the flowers I grow. That's why, Christina. That's why I grow flowers.
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