Bloom Spring 2018 - Page 17

More on Floret Workshops Floret Workshops teach you step-by- step how to grow, harvest and sell stunning seasonal blooms. Attracting new and experienced flower farmers and florists from around the world, Floret Workshops incorporate technical training, plus time tested techniques and down-to-earth advice to help you build a thriving flower business. By the end of the workshop, you’ll have invaluable new skills plus the courage and confidence to create the flower-filled life you want to live. Visit their website to learn more and register for an online or on-farm workshop. Registration for the next Floret Online Workshop will open in the autumn of 2018. Attendee arranges centerpiece for the farewell dinner on day three loaned for the workshops because the property has a large barn — the same one where Benzakein and Merrick held the first workshop. Out the windows, in the distance, were the North Cascades. I had arrived the day before. A group of helpers, most of them florists from around the country who assist during the workshops, were going in and out of the barn, where a corner was massed with buckets of cut roses, peonies, poppies, irises, anemones, calendula, spirea, delphiniums, mint, and honeysuckles, all waiting for the guests to arrive and dip their hands in. “I’m not interested in taking it all or dominating,” Benzakein told me. “Really, I want it to be a win-win for everyone, so that’s why we went deep into education.” She would be the first to say that, in the beginning, she wasn’t thinking of community power or taking out the middleman or any of the qualities that have inspired so many to become farmer- florists. (The Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers says its membership has doubled in the past five years.) But by sharing what she knows, she has influenced other farmer-florists to do likewise. Floret’s workshop manuals contain an impressive amount of information, like per-acre earnings. After my initial skepticism about spending a weekend with 25 women arranging flowers, I softened quickly. First, most of them were really good at it. Working alongside them makes you get better, and you gain respect for people craving more fulfillment than their careers provide. (The number of “dreamers” — that is, non- farmers and non-florists — attending the workshops has increased markedly in the past two years.) “It’s like a drug,” a corporate executive said as a bunch of us met for dinner at a local bar. “I can create something and feel good about it. It’s not against sales and numbers, and you’re not going to be benchmarked on it next year.” workshops 1 360-424-3403 Floret P.O. Box 281 Mount Vernon, WA 98273 Bloom | Spring 2018 15