The floral industry bloomed out of Black women growing avenues of economic stability after the Emancipation. Honor their traditions by purchasing a floral arrangement for one of the holidays this season.
Newly emancipated Black women started the floral industry in the United States as we know it. After the Civil War, millions of Black folk entered the job market as a group that finally were able to be paid for their labor. But, the white establishment in many areas refused to offer them paid employment. Plus, the markets that enjoyed free labor were overwhelmed by the number of skilled labor that often outperformed the masses of immigrants who resettled in the areas.
Yet and still, gender inequity reigned. While Black women mostly worked in the domestic sphere, and could secure a job in that sector, they were often underemployed and vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse. Added, the investment of women in education, and especially Black women was exceptionally limited.
To circumnavigate the rough employment terrain, women created their own industries. Along the coastal seaboard in the east began the emergence of women selling flowers.
A floral culture during the Antebellum, bloomed after Emancipation. Since the Colonial era, flower farming has been an integral part of African American tradition. Because enslaved Blacks grew small plots of food and herbs to substitute their food sources, they often had flower patches too. These parcels of land were where they harvested herbs and flowers. In part, the herbs and some flowers were part of their culinary traditions, the flowers became a major source to adorn themselves and their homes when they could not furnish their quarters.
Even floral horticulture was important in creating cemeteries for Blacks. Often, you would find multiple varieties of the most beautiful flowers growing in the burial sites of African Americans; especially because most could not afford tombstones or permanent edifices marking their buried loved ones.
It was quite common for Black women to incorporate flowers in their food gardens. When employment was unstable, they began to sell their floral harvests on the roads close to their homes, and in the cities. From that in metropolises like Baltimore, Charleston, Philadelphia, New York City and Richmond were known for the women who sold flowers. Also with these florists, they sold edible flowers and herbs, serving multiple roles to both Black and white communities.
Thanksgiving for African Americans has never been linked to those who landed on Plymouth Rock. Within the lines of Malcolm X, our historical memory recognizes that “Plymouth Rock landed on us.” Nonetheless, Thanksgiving is one of the few times in the year that families have the time off from their jobs to gather. So, their family convenings invoke more of their tradition and cultural material passed on from their ancestors.
As for Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, some might incorporate religious or just cultural reasons, but those special times are cherished too. That is why purchasing floral arrangements, flowers and table bouquets from a flower farmer goes deeper than the aesthetic. In the reclamation of the fullness of farming, Ark Republic dug into the listing of over 1,000 growers at Black Farmers Index to direct you to some pretty dope flower farmers and nurseries specializing in flowers.
⚈ Companion Farms | Yuba County, CA | Grows and sells certified organic micro greens, edible flowers and sprouts | Website + Instagram + Facebook | Email: email@example.com | Tel. 530-645-2045
⚈ North Park Nursery | San Diego, CA | Grows and sells edible flowers, herbs and plants | Website + Shopping website + Facebook + Instagram + Pinterest + Yelp | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Tel. 619.795.1855
⚈ Fat Floyd Farm | Atlanta, GA | Gardens and sells ornamental trees, flowers, and shrubs | Website | Email: FatFloydFarm@outlook.com | Tel. 404-377-2939 [ Kenneth Floyd Email : FatFloydFarm@outlook.com
⚈ Sunbird Flowers | Lithonia, GA | Sustainably grown vegetables, herbs, and edible and herbal flowers; promotes health and healing for people and the land | Website + Instagram | Email: email@example.com
⚈ Walton’s Plants | Detroit, MI | Grows and sells a variety of flowers | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Tel. 313-460-5845
⚈ Urban Buds: City Grown Flowers | St. Louis, MO | Grows and supplies the highest quality, unique specialty cut flowers and select foods for the local market | Website + Facebook + Instagram | Tel. 573-999-6293 | Email: email@example.com
⚈ Teranga Flower Farm | Stamford, NY | Grows and sells specialty cut flowers, vegetable and flower seedlings, floral arrangements | Website + Facebook + Instagram | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Tel. 929-355-0840
⚈ Perkins Orchard | Durham, NC | Grows and sells fruits from its orchard; sells fruits, vegetables and flowers from 300 local farmers; sells Christmas trees | Website + Facebook + Instagram | Email: email@example.com | Tel. 919-491-9559
⚈ The Cottens at Perry-winkle Farm | Chatham County, NC | Grows and sells flowers, vegetables and eggs from pasture-raised chickens | Instagram
⚈ Another Spring Farm | Portland, OR | Grows and sells vegetables, flowers and herbs | Instagram
⚈ Zysis Garden | La Vergne, TN | Grows and sells cut flowers, fruit, vegetables, potted plants, air plants using the wabi sabi philosophy | Website + Instagram + Tik Tok | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Tel. 615-506-6222.
⚈ Botanical Bites Provisions | Fredericksburg, VA | Grows or raises and sells vegetables, fruits, honey, flowers and herbs; curates a local farmer’s market | Website + Facebook + Instagram | Email: email@example.com | Tel. 540-287-5734
⚈ Hardy Family Farm | Sedley, VA | dedicated to bringing you fresh produce and flowers using organic practices and methods| Facebook | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Tel. 757-653-4442
⚈ Grass Becomes a Wave | Skagit Valley, WA | Grows flowers for a casual u-pick floral arrangements for farm + studio; plans to medicinal herbs for skincare | Instagram | Email: email@example.com
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