Slow Flowers Podcast

Slow Flowers Podcast

Episode 613: Island Flower Growers, a cooperative flower hub serving all of British Columbia’s Vancouver Island, with president Lorna Jackson and market manager Cara Scott

June 07, 2023

I'm thrilled today to bring you an informative conversation about Island Flower Growers, an emerging flower hub based outside of Victoria, British Columbia, on Vancouver Island in Canada.

Island Flower Growers hosted a "Thrips workshop" at Lorna Jackson's Ninebark Farm for Co-op members with Emily Carmichael from the BC Ministry of Agriculture.

If you caught Episode 611 a few weeks ago, you met Julie Remy of Fleuris Studio and Blooms, a farmer-florist on Vancouver Island; we briefly discussed the Island Flower Growers Cooperative as her primary outlet for selling flowers wholesale. I visited the Island in early May when I interviewed Julie, and before I returned home, I stopped by the Metchosin Farmers Institute, a multiuse venue where I met the cooperative member farmers.

I was lucky to meet most of the growers on an early Wednesday morning, the regular day when flower farmers bring their harvest to this central hub where flowers are sorted and organized for client deliveries or pickup.

That's where I met Lorna Jackson, co-founder and president of Island Flower Growers, and Cara Scott, the market manager, among many other talented and passionate island flower growers. I was thrilled to watch the buzzing of energy and the synergy as flower farmers compared their seasonal crops, discussed plans, and admired the collection of blooms ordered by area florists.

Here's a bit more about Island Flower Growers:

Island Flower Growers is a producer-owned co-operative of cut-flower growers on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands of British Columbia, Canada. The co-op helps build the strength and vitality of Vancouver Island's local flower community by:​

Operating a weekly, online wholesale market, which makes high quality, specialty blooms and foliage more accessible to our discerning clients

​Helping local growers build successful and rewarding businesses around their exceptional product

​Advocating for flower farming's significant role in stewarding our region's environmental and community wellbeing

It is so inspiring to learn how this regional flower hub is changing the way florists and their consumers engage with sustainably-grown, seasonal flowers! See below for Island Flower Growers resources that Lorna and Cara have shared:

Jun 2021_IFGC Rose Guide_v1Download

Guide to Island-Grown Roses The "Rose Guide" provides education for members and potential Guest Growers. "We're trying to do everything we can to provide excellent garden roses to our clients for weddings," Lorna explained.

July 2021_IFGC Intro to Better Photos_finalDownload

Island Flower Growers produced a "Better Photos" guide helps make their shopfront on the Open Food Network more attractive, more informative visually, more standardized, and connects with clients through beautiful images. "We aim to have each photo provide as much information as possible: what a bunch looks like, stage of openness clients can expect, accurate colours and textures," Lorna says. "But we still want growers to be able to be artful with images, to have a personality, as in the photo of yellow baptisia." 

Yellow Baptisia from Island Flower Growers

Find and follow Island Flower Growers on Instagram

Watch: Growing Slow, a feature from CBC Vancouver

News of this Week

Details Flowers Software, a Slow Flowers Podcast sponsor, is also a return sponsor of the Slow Flowers Summit and have been running a giveaway promotion for a full registration to the Summit. The drawing just took place and we learned that Polly Hutchison of Robin Hollow Farm, Slow Flowers member and past guest of this podcast, was drawn as the winner! Thank you, Details, and congratulations to Polly -- so excited to welcome you to your first Summit!

And if you've been thinking of joining us in Seattle at the Slow ...