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Nellie Gardner Horticulturist Flower Fields and FarmingFarming is just part of my way of thinking. I am always looking at the world through the eyes of a farmer, which means wondering what the soil is like, looking at the crops being grown, and wondering where the food and flowers in the grocery store came from, among other things. Farming is big business now in this country and many others, but it all boils down to how the plant roots relate to the surrounding soil. The chemistry and physics of that relationship is being researched and understood better every day. Our ancestors understood that, and to them it was simpler; add organic matter in the form of rotted household waste and manure every year, to build up the soil.

Flowers are farmed both outside and in greenhouses around the world. Many of the flowers sold in the US are imported from South America. Historically many of the flowers sold here were grown here both on farms like mine, but also in large greenhouse ranges, that now find it hard to compete. Many areas were known for the quality of their flowers; Corfu, NY for sweet peas, once sent to the white house, Boston for their greenhouses full of sweet smelling carnations.

A concern for where flowers, and food, comes from and how it has been grown, has emerged lately and many people are looking for locally grown products. Both for environmental reasons;

transportation costs, and ethical reasons; labor in developing countries, a return to locally grown is spurring the growth of small farms. The specialty cut flower industry has benefited from this and membership in the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers, www.ASCFG.org has grown over the past decade.

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