Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Environmentalist Lynn Byczynski on the Benefits of Local Flower Production

The Lawrence Journal recently ran an article titled, “A family affair: Couple build on local cut-flower business,” in which they interview Lynn Bycnynski, author of The Flower Farmer, Revised and Expanded: An Organic Grower’s Guide to Raising and Selling Cut Flowers. Lynn and her family run an organic flower farm just south of Lawrence, Kansas. From the article:
“When we started, there were very few local cut flowers,” Byczynski says, “But now small growers have been bringing this product to market. Farmers’ markets have exploded all over the U.S. The demand has grown for these high-quality, specialized products. Soon the large businesses see the potential and get on board.” In their case, these larger businesses have seen the light. Byczynski and Nagengast sell their cut flowers to Porterfields Florist in Topeka, and they also sold to the Community Mercantile but have since taken on an even larger grocer, Ball Foods, which owns the Hen House chain. Byczynski also is an authority on growing for the market. She writes a monthly newsletter, “Growing for Market,” and is the author of several books, including “The Flower Farmer: An Organic Grower’s Guide to Raising and Selling Cut Flowers.” She also is a board member for the Kansas Land Trust and an employee at the Kansas Biological Survey. “I think I’ve been an environmentalist for 35 years,” Byczynski says. “I took a little detour into reporting, but this has always been my primary interest. It just feels right — I feel fortunate to have put together a livelihood about a cause I care about.” Nagengast is equally busy with tending to their organic fields, and he is director of the Kansas Rural Center, a nonprofit organization that works on sustainable agriculture and rural businesses. […] The farm has four hoop houses and one heated greenhouse, which allows the family to have a much longer growing season, less insects, fewer diseased flowers and a much larger yield. An expansion of drip irrigation systems keeps the fields profusely blooming. “You always have to succession plant,” Byczynski says. “You have to keep planting until the frost takes them out. We’ll plant zinnias at least four times a summer, for instance. All together we have around 200 different flowers that grow. I always try something new like Orlaya Grandiflora, a minor crop but a great filler flower.” In fact Byczynski, is taking part in the seed trial program for the Association of Specialty Cut Grown Flowers. They send her seeds to experiment with, and this year she received Frosted Explosion Panicum, a tall grassy plant that resembles a firework. While Byczynski has been a longtime environmentalist, she says she is thrilled that others now are tuning in to the green movement. “There is a new green consciousness, thank goodness,” she says. “People are starting to realize how they spend their money affects our carbon footprint, small farms, and consumers want to do the right thing. They want to support local growers and see farmland preserved.”
 Read the full article here. (Photo by Richard Gwin.)

A Simple Way to Grow Fresh Greens Indoors This Winter

Just because the temperatures have started to drop doesn’t mean you have to live without fresh greens until next Spring. With author and gardener Peter Burke’s innovative method of growing soil sprouts indoors, you can grow nutrient-dense greens all year long at a fraction of the cost of buying at market. Burke’s new book, Year-Round Indoor Salad […] Read More..

A Day in the Life of a Homesteader

As Homesteading Month comes to a close, we take a look at what it means to live the homesteading life every day. Read through the question and answer below and be sure to check out any of the previous articles you might have missed:Why Acquiring Land Presents a Challenge for New Homesteaders Homesteading Q&A: Solutions […] Read More..

Go Lean: How To Eliminate Waste and Increase Efficiency on the Farm

Using the words “factory” and “farm” in the same sentence may seem sacrilegious, but today’s young farmers like author Ben Hartman are discovering that the same sound business practices apply whether you produce cars or carrots.In his new book The Lean Farm, Hartman demonstrates how applying lean principles—originally developed by the Japanese automotive industry—to farming practices […] Read More..

Why Acquiring Land Presents a Challenge for New Homesteaders

More and more often, young people are turning away from cities and urban life in order to live off the land and even start farms of their own. But while many have the desire to grow food for themselves and/or others, acquiring land, and the financial burden that comes with it, presents a difficult challenge […] Read More..

How to Distinguish Permaculture from Natural Farming

Just what are the differences between permaculture and natural farming? How are they connected, and where do they diverge in philosophy and principle?Those questions are answered in the following excerpt that is adapted from the newly released One-Straw Revolutionary, a book that delves into the philosophy and work of Japanese farmer and philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka […] Read More..