Brooklyn duo looks to start ‘seed to vase’ flower farm in Bushwick
All the flowers sold by True Leaves Floral will be grown right in Jessica Balnaves’ backyard in Brooklyn, handpicked, and personally delivered
A homegrown business that aims to connect the community and celebrate local beauty is blooming in Bushwick.
Jessica Balnaves and Ryann Mead are the two women behind True Leaves Floral, a brand new business that plans to grow flowers right in Bushwick and sell the hand-picked arrangements to homes, businesses and local markets.
“We love flowers, we find them to be incredibly inspirational” Balnaves said. “We want another way to bring our community together.”
The idea behind growing the flower farm came after the two friends noticed that although many people were growing different vegetables in the community, there was not much going on with locally-grown flowers.
According to the women, most Americans tend to buy their flowers from abroad so their goal is to bring the business back home.
Through True Leaves Floral the duo plans to sell Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)-style subscription service bouquets in handpicked vintage vases for both residents and businesses.
Along with the bouquets, True Leaves Floral will also offer customers flower crowns, flower wristlets, herbal teas, floral waters and more — all created from the flowers grown right in Balnaves’ Brooklyn backyard at 231 Covert St.
“It just felt like a really nice thing to bring to the community,” Balnaves said. “It’s really exciting, we’re just happy to be doing it and for people to be excited to do it.”
Through growing a variety of flowers at the farm, different bouquets will be created — meeting everyone’s different needs and pockets. For example there will be high-end bouquet arrangements made with high-end flowers and also bouquets created using a variety of garden flowers.
“We really are going to try to make bouquets for everybody. For everybody to be able to afford and to be able to love and bring to their space,” Balnaves said.
The goal also aims to allow clients to continue to use the flowers, which will all be grown organically, even once they’ve dried up. For example, the flowers that will be used on the wristlets and crown are used specifically because of what they look like when they dry.
Another example of customers being able to continue using their flowers, include the herbal bouquets which not only look nice but could also be used in the kitchen.
“I definitely don’t want people’s experience to stop at just buying the bouquet,” Balnaves said.
Along with bringing locally-grown flowers to the neighborhood they call home, Balnaves and Mead also hope True Leaves Floral brings together the community and also allows others to learn more about urban farming.
Balnaves added that once the farm is opened — which is slated for around June — they invite other urban farmers to come to their farm and talk about their experiences, while also educating others on how they can potentially grows gardens of their own.
They also plan to build a relationship between themselves and the community through hand delivering products, offering instructions on how to care for the flowers and also continue updating social media so people can see what is in season and what is available at the farm.
“As an urban farmer, it’s a lot about community because it’s not easy to grow in New York City,” Balnaves said. “We want to be real transparent and anybody can come to the space.”
To help fund this project, the Brooklyn duo has turned to Kickstarter to raise money that would go towards paying for things such as wood for flower beds, soil and compost, gardening tools, seeds, bases, transportation costs and much more.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the campaign garnered over $2,800 of its $5,000 goal and for Balnaves and Mead the support shows how much people want the product.
“People are asking left and right. This just shows that the market needed something like this,” she said. “I just want to show people that you can grow these things here [in New York City]. It’s truly a magical experience.”