Contributed by NABC Project Manager, Jeff Voltz
The Seattle Wholesale Growers Market celebrated its first anniversary on Wednesday, May 2 at its old fashioned brick historic warehouse building in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood.
The producer-owned cooperative of 19 members from Washington, Oregon, and Alaska (yeah, that’s right, Peonies from Alaska!) is open three days a week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Their first year of operations qualified as a very strong success. “We have had a wonderful big-hearted response from local florists, event planners, and other locally-based floral buyers,” states Diane Szukovathy , co-owner of Jello Mold Farm and President of the cooperative. “These folks share a core-vision with our cooperative’s growers and believe in the wholesome beauty and value of local and sustainably grown flowers.”
Approximately 80% of the flowers purchased in the United States are imported into the country, primarily from Columbia as an adjunct to the U.S. “war on drugs.” In reality this U.S. government subsidized program of flowers that are produced with lower environmental and worker/labor standards directly competes with local flower production.
“We estimate that our production costs are at least eight times higher than imported flowers, explains Szukovathy. “We are a cooperative of local producers working together to seek solutions in order to offer healthy, clean, and extraordinarily beautiful product that is locally grown, produces local jobs, and keeps local farmland in production.”
Joining in the celebration were author Debra Prinzing and photographer David E. Perry, who just released the visually sumptuous and compellingly written book titled “The 50 Mile Bouquet.” In the book Prinzing and Perry do excellent and collaborative work to help you change your relationship with flowers by urging you to create a relationship with your local flower producers.
The best, most beautiful, and physically healthy flowers are being grown throughout a broad season, right here in our region. This fabulous book can be purchased at the Community Food Co-op (Bellingham), PCC Natural Markets’ nine stores throughout the Seattle metro area, and Skagit Valley Food Co-op (Mt. Vernon).
NABC provided technical assistance in the development of the SWGM. Learn more about the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market (including hours and location) at their new website. You can Also follow them on Facebook.