USA coming up roses

We’re all familiar with the slow-food movement. Well, sustainability, provenance, ethics and the war on waste apply to the cut-flower industry too; just ask husband and wife team Danielle White and Ashley Wren of Crofters Fold Estate; a bee-friendly, artisanal flower farm located in the Macedon Ranges.
The couple, whose shared love of gardening and nature turned to farming roses and peonies for the wholesale and farmgate cut-flower markets, were recently awarded a dual scholarship to attend a Rose Farming Masterclass in California, USA, this autumn.
“We’re extremely thrilled to have been awarded the scholarship. Grace Rose Farm is one of the most renowned contemporary rose farms in the USA, especially since social media has allowed the outstanding beauty, variety and quality of their roses to be admired by the world,” Danielle said.
“The scholarship is even more significant to us because Grace Rose Farm uses organic and sustainable farming practices and is owned and run by a husband and wife team.”
As well as the opportunity to compare organic flower farming practices that encourage biodiversity and protect bees and other beneficial insects, Danielle and Ashley explained that Grace Rose Farm offered them an insight into what it took to build a successful and mindful artisanal eco-agribusiness.
“In addition to sharpening our rosarian skills, we look forward to observing first hand how Grace Rose Farm operates as a layered artisanal agribusiness with value-add income streams such as rose-based jams, jellies, syrups and rose water as well as authentic farmgate experiences.”
Chosen from among hundreds of applicants around the world, Danielle and Ashley are proud to represent the Daylesford Macedon Ranges.
“We hope our journey to the States helps raise the profile of local sustainably-grown flower farms like ours and in particular puts high-quality, seasonal artisanal floriculture on regional Australia’s eco-agribusiness and agritourism map, which is very much aligned with the state government’s Artisanal Sector Program,” Ashley said.
Danielle and Ashley are also founding members of Consortium Botanicus, a voluntary bunch of Australian flower farmers who have banded together to promote the production and sale of locally grown, seasonal, cut flowers (referred to in the USA as ‘slow flowers’).
The scholarship will form part of Danielle’s Agribusiness Fellowship’s skills research.
“Just as with food and wine, sourcing ethically grown flowers not only has the power to make change; it is the change,” Danielle said.
“The more mindfully we live the more we shape our future. We feel there is a great opportunity to grow the demand for bee-friendly flowers through mindful-eco weddings and events, immersive tourism, farmgate sales, workshops and experiences. But, beyond business, healthy, local flowers bring joy, connection and wellness to us all.”

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