Zero Waste Floristry - UK Grown and Sustainable

by Harriet R in Carlton, England, United Kingdom

Zero Waste Floristry - UK Grown and Sustainable
We did it
On 30th March 2020 we successfully raised £1,650 with 18 supporters in 28 days

A Sustainable Eco-florist and Grower - using only UK grown flowers and foliage with reusable materials. Beautiful flowers, happy Earth!

by Harriet R in Carlton, England, United Kingdom

Copper & Twine

A sustainable and zero-waste eco floristry business using 100% UK grown flowers and foliage with reusable or compostable materials.

Welcome to Copper & Twine!

Thank you for reading this and being interested - it means a lot :)

Let me start by explaining why I'm here:

So why is this so important?! 

Just as we are more likely to shop more consciously for our fresh produce and ingredients of the food we eat, more of us are beginning to question where our flowers come from. It's no secret that the floral industry has a horrendous reputation when it comes to the environment and here are some stats to show you what I mean:

  • According to DEFRA, only 14% of flowers sold in the UK are British grown, though this is up from 12% in 2015
  • Royal FloraHolland imports and then re-exports 40% of flowers from all over the world. This means that although the majority of the flowers in the UK are imported from Holland via lorry, where they have come from before this point is often glossed over or not considered, or not even known in some cases
  • Carbon Emissions for an English Lily are around a quarter of that of a Dutch grown lily (Rebecca Swinn's thesis)
  • 4 in 10 roses sold in the UK are grown in Africa. One of the most troubling aspects of flower farming is the environmental destruction and damage that it can and has caused to east Africa’s wetlands (the Ecologist). Others are imported from South America or the Netherlands. Only a small percentage are grown in the UK.
  • Because cut flowers are not edible crops, they are exempt from regulations on pesticide residues. For example, a toxic chemical that is highly hazardous to humans, Methyl Bromide is five times more destructive to the ozone layer than Carbon Dioxide and it had been in use in the last 40 years (the Green Journal)

How can we make this better?

It would be an absolute honour to be able to contribute positively to the floral industry and to grow truly seasonal flowers locally. Any donation towards this crowdfunding project will help me to do just that!

I will grow using natural means - this is crucial as I don’t want anyone, or any animals or insects that visit or live on the land to be exposed to anything toxic.

image: a colourful bouquet made from local flowers in October by me {Copper & Twine}.

I'll be growing my own flowers on a rented plot of land and what I cannot produce I will source from other local flower farms and British Growers. I will only use local and British grown flowers and will share the provenance of each stem.

-| British Grown Wedding Flowers 

-| Locally Grown Sympathy and Funeral Flowers 

-| Subscription Bouquet and Floral Gifting Service 

I'll sow bee-friendly flowers, leave wildlife corridors, hand-harvest flowers, use eco-friendly floral preservative, use only natural and eco-friendly fertiliser and pesticides, plant companion crops, use peat-free compost, make my own compost, leave some flowers to seed for the birds... I'll question EVERYTHING to make sure it's in line with these ethics and my pledge to the environment.

For every couple who orders their wedding flowers with Copper & Twine, I'll plant a tree to replenish damaged or threatened woodlands.

A little about me                            

I've been a florist for 15 years and I'm also a graduate of Ecology and Conservation BSc. Although floristry is a wonderful and creative profession, at the moment it doesn't fulfil my dream to leave this earth a better place than I found it... and that's why I'm starting this venture!

My wife and I live an off-grid life on a narrowboat with our gorgeous labrador and two handsome kitties.

Living as ethically and sustainably as possible is really important to me, and I'd love this to be reflected in the work I do. 

Where would your money go?

- Tools and equipment

- A greenhouse

- Potting shed

- Irrigation system

- Poly tunnels

- Seeds, bulbs, seedlings and shrubs

- Marketing materials 

- Research into growing techniques best practices

You can donate as little as £1, purchase one of the rewards, donate a random amount or simply share and shout about this venture - I'm so grateful you even read this far!

Please follow me on Facebook or Instagram so that you can be a part of this exciting journey. There will be regular updates and pictures of beautiful flowers, I promise!

The dream

Long-term I aim to be part of the voice for British growers, to facilitate an industry shift away from huge corporations such as Interflora who control the mainstream floristry industry and to help re-align our view of truly seasonal flowers. 

I know this won't happen overnight, but I'm in it for the long- haul! Collaboration with other like-minded florists and growers would enable this shift, and together we can contribute to a more sustainable future.

I'd love to be able to show children how to grow flowers and to help them to understand the circle of life from seed to compost and how important the bees are. I imagine small school trips or demonstrations and a plant for them to take home and grow. I remember planting my first seeds and it was fascinating, and the experience stayed with me to this day.

More than this, I would one day love the land I use (when I've expanded!) to become a meeting place for those who feel lonely. Especially the elderly who live nearby. I imagine pots of tea and benches to encourage conversation and pottering in the flower beds amongst the bees.

I would love to follow in the footsteps of my hero in the industry Erin Benzakein, who wrote these beautiful books and is part of a wonderful movement of local, sustainable and eco-conscious growers in the US. 

{images taken from www.floretflowers.com}

Testimonials for my work: 

"We were utterly blown away with the quality of the flower arrangements and how beautiful they looked. Everyone at the wedding commented and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Harriet again."- Ellie & Mike

"The flower arrangements and bouquets which I organised for her to do for a client of mine were absolutely perfect. They were stunning and everyone commented on them. I would not hesitate to recommend her and will be using her services at every available opportunity in the future for any of my clients who have an event." - Jo at Just Call Jo

This wonderful poem by Liv Torc helps to put into words how incredibly important all this is. It's so moving and in this, she's able to so eloquently describe how many of us feel about working towards leaving the earth a better place than we found it for the next generation. I think she's amazing and I hope you love this too.

Let's do this! Let's grow and plant and nurture, let's educate and lead by example.

My 'bit' may only be small, but I'm doing it - and your support means the world. Thank you.

Images from Canva or Unsplash unless stated otherwise - Lupin Field by Daiga Elleby - Annie Spratt - Sunset Chatting by Harli Marten

Rewards

This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£5 or more

Thank You!

A virtual hug is coming your way {or a real one if and when we meet!} and a huge thank you on Social Media.

£20 or more

Thank You Note & Something to Grow

I will send you a beautiful card with a handwritten thank you note and something for you to plant and grow yourself :)

£50 or more

Thank You Gift

I will send you a sustainable and eco-friendly gift, with a beautiful card with a handwritten thank you note and something for you to plant and grow yourself :)

£75 or more

0 of 30 claimed

A Floral Gift {Local}

If you're local {within 15 miles of Olney}, I'll send you a gorgeous bouquet created by me and using only British grown flowers and foliage and recyclable or compostable packaging where necessary. Hopefully many of the flowers in your bouquet will have been grown on my plot because of your generosity! I will also send you a beautiful card with a handwritten thank you note :)

£100 or more

0 of 20 claimed

A floral Gift {Further Afield}

I'll arrange for a wonderful florist nearer to you to send you a gorgeous bouquet using only British grown flowers and foliage and recyclable or compostable packaging where necessary. I will also send you a beautiful card with a handwritten thank you note :)

£125 or more

0 of 12 claimed

Name a Bouquet & A Floral Gift {Local}

To thank you for your generosity I'll name a bouquet after you, or accept your suggestions for a name. This will be one of the bouquets sent as part of the Monthly Bouquet Subscription! If you're local {within 15 miles of Olney}, I'll send you a gorgeous bouquet created by me and using only British grown flowers and foliage. I will also send you a beautiful card with a handwritten thank you note and something for you to plant and grow yourself :)

£500 or more

0 of 10 claimed

A Years' Free Flower Subscription! {Local}

If you're local {within 15 miles of Olney}, you'll be signed up to the launch and first year of my floral subscription service - A gorgeous floral arrangement sent to you each month, made using only British grown flowers and foliage and recyclable/compostable packaging where necessary. Many of the flowers will have been grown on my plot because of your generosity! I will also send you a beautiful card with a handwritten thank you note :)

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