by Meg Edmonds, Roots Family Farm, Worcestershire
Hello everyone! I’m Meg Edmonds and I am so delighted to take up the position of Co-Chair. I feel honoured to have the opportunity, with Carole Patilla, to lead Flowers From The Farm into 2021. The year has got off to a flying start beginning with the announcements of our new DAG scholarships, soon to be followed by our 10th birthday and conference, a chance to celebrate everything that has been achieved so far by our amazing group of flowery friends. Just maybe, if we are lucky, the year ahead will begin to open up some of the freedoms that we have missed so much in 2020 – time together in our flower fields all over the British Isles.
My husband and I have three children (19,17 & 12 – that’s their ages not their names!). Together we run our 100Ha organic farm raising meat, poultry, veg, fruit and flowers to sell to local people through Roots Family Farm Shop. We are just about to celebrate our 20th anniversary of trading; 20 years in which we have re-invented ourselves on a regular basis to meet the changing demands of our customers, but always sticking to our core values of providing healthy, sustainable family food … and now flowers.
My flower journey began many years ago. I know I am not alone in identifying the sweet pea as my starting point, quintessentially British and as demanding as a proper princess – my husband and I learnt to grow these flowers on a large scale, but this was twenty years ago and, in the early days of our farm shop, an almost impossible task to grow them profitably given the low market value attributed at that time to flowers.
It wasn’t until the late ‘noughties’ that I revisited my passion for providing seasonal blooms and natural foliage from our farm to customers.
I joined FFTF in 2018 after meeting members on the Gold Medal winning Chelsea Show exhibition stand and feeling an immediate connection with the passion they showed for British cut flowers. I signed up straightaway and found friends here in the West Midlands. The Lincoln conference in 2019 helped me to understand a much larger national picture of the group and the wealth of information and support accessible to us as individual growers, designers and florists. With new friends in my region and beyond I threw myself into the first Flower Farmers Big Weekend and thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie that this brought, let alone the opportunity to shout from the rooftops about British seasonal flowers. At Maidenhead 2020 I was inspired to explore our amazing network further and I’ve been lucky enough to connect with members beyond my own region and have relished learning from and supporting each other.
Growing with the changing seasons to provide customers with weekly wraps and occasional bouquets keeps me busy and beyond this I have focussed on providing individual, bespoke funeral flowers. Working with fresh and dried flowers and foliage from our farm means that my tributes are created in the moment, and funeral flowers something that I find particularly rewarding.
My flower business is not as mature as others who have held this post - I am learning everyday about tips and tricks for success. I hope I can be forgiven for flower theory that is growing!
It is my strong belief that as artisan growers, florists, designers we can and are turning the tide for our British seasonal blooms, one bunch, bouquet and bucket at a time. If we remind our customers of the distinctive qualities of our hand-picked flowers and foliage, harvested at their peak, carefully curated and sensationally scented, they will happily pay the right price for them, and they will come back for more, time and time again.
I look forward to working with you all over the next two years.