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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.)


10 Books to Curl Up With This Winter

William Wordsworth was right when he said, “Nature never did betray the heart that loved her.” Nevertheless, the cold, dark days of winter can still get the best of even Nature’s most tenderhearted admirer. What’s one to do? We here at Chelsea Green have concocted the perfect cabin fever remedy with our suggested winter reading […] Read More..

Draft Power: The Life-Affirming Alternative to “Big Ag”

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Top 8 Chelsea Green Books the Self-Styled Oregon Militia Should Read

The ongoing armed militia occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon is showing no signs of ending — so, rather than send them snacks, or sex toys, we had an idea: Send them a book! Better yet, send them several Chelsea Green books. Don’t worry, we’ve picked five key titles that we think […] Read More..

A Book for the Fruit Nerd on Your Holiday Gift List

Have a fruit enthusiast on your holiday shopping list this year? Then give the gift that Booklist calls, “a thorough investigation of one wonderful fruit”—The Book of Pears by Joan Morgan.Sure cherries, plums, peaches, and other fruits have their unique qualities, but nothing quite compares to the pear’s luscious texture, richness of taste, and fragrance reminiscent […] Read More..

Unlock the Secret to the Perfect Salad with Soil Sprouts

As the weather gets colder and seasonal produce only means root vegetables, we begin to dream about fresh greens and colorful salads. Without a greenhouse or expensive equipment, it’s hard to imagine a reality in which you can have fresh and local greens every day. Luckily, Peter Burke has a method: in his book Year-Round Indoor […] Read More..
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