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Humble Pie Farm: a like-minded business


JenNelsonPortrait Anyone meeting Jennifer Nelson for the first time can immediately feel her warm gentle spirit and caring heart. Jennifer is the co-owner of Humble Pie Farm, where she and her husband, Mike Leck, grow organic flowers and herbs. I met her through my dear friend, Malia Brandt, who is her sister-in-law, and my co-conspirator on our personal journeys into making better-than choices. The more we learned and shared with each other about why organic and sustainable products matter, the more compelled we have felt to do better, one small choice at a time.
Jennifer Picking Spinach Jennifer in her hoop house, modeling EcoPetite's clothing
Enter the picture: organic flowers. Many of us enter the world of organic products though food. Particularly when babies come into our lives, and it pushes us into believing it is worth the extra price. If we are lucky enough to have access to organic food at a location that also educates it’s customers about why organic farming matters, eventually we expand our horizons from organic milk and bananas to embracing a loaded shopping cart of organic and local groceries, and cut our budget elsewhere. And now we can find organically grown flowers? My heart is jumping for joy! I knew it would matter, based on the same reasons growing food organically matters. But after talking to Jennifer, I learned that just scratches the surface. Once you start asking Jennifer all those why questions, her passion for it just bubbles out. She says that 80% of flowers purchased in the US are imported, and points out that a lot of intense and harsh chemicals are used to preserve them on their long journey. While the organic food movement has become mainstream, flowers have not, Jennifer laments. The workers get sick and are not paid well.

Our responsibility is to live in communion with nature as much as possible. Agriculture is trying to get nature to do what it wouldn’t ordinarily do, but organic flowers add to diversity, the health of the soil, insects and aesthetics. I love to be outside working in the dirt and harvesting flowers.

Jennifer believes wholeheartedly in organic farming because it is better for everyone; the farmers, the workers, the buyers and the whole community. She is living what she believes because, “when you make these choices, it makes all these ripples that affect so many people. So it is not just one person’s choice. When I asked her, how does this apply to the individual consumer, she pulled out a book which has been a source of inspiration for her, Fatal Harvest: The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture by Andrew Kimbrell, and found the quote, “We cannot be consumers – but creators – to create a different future.” So what does Jennifer do with all this passion? She mixes it with creativity and love of the beauty of nature and creates stunning floral arrangements for weddings and to sell to various Co-ops as well as Whole Foods. She feels that flowers are most beautiful in the field, and tries to emulate a wild, abundant feel.
Bouquet Bouquet photo by Stephanie Dunn
For Jennifer, growing and arranging flowers is part of the puzzle of creating a ripple, and at the same time, a way to make a living as a family. Check out Humble Pie Farm at: http://www.humblepiefarm.com/