Mornings with Mayesh: Sustainable Floristry Panel Discussion
Yesterday, I went live with a very special group of people to talk about a very important topic - sustainability. Our first 2023 Mayesh Design Star, Sue Mcleary, joined me along with Holly Chapple, TJ McGrath, Debra Prinzing, Patrick Dahlson and David Dahlson. We defined what sustainability means, examined biodegradable, compostable, and reusable materials, talked about locally grown, and our experts gave tips on how we all can get started in being gentler to the earth. This episode went over an hour and we only began to scratch the surface. If you are looking for even more conversations and insights about this topic then be sure to stay tuned to our monthly 2023 Mayesh Design Star videos and also know that I'm planning a round two panel discussion for sometime after the Valentine's Day holiday so that we can answer all of the amazing questions that were submitted by our live audience. If you didn't watch live, but have some of your own questions please post them in the comments section of our blog so that we can add it to our list.
This was such an amazing episode and I truly hope that each and every person in our audience found at least one piece of information that they found valuable and actionable. If you did, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
Below are the podcast, video replay, and show notes:
- Before we get started, I think it would be helpful to define sustainability. Sue, I know you did a wonderful job defining sustainability in our January Mayesh Design Star video that we posted last week, so can you kick us off?
- David, you created a video late last year talking about Mayesh’s philosophy towards sustainability. Can you summarize those thoughts as I think that will be helpful in setting our intention for today’s panel:
- How as an industry, do we make this topic feel less intimidating, more actionable, and more inclusive?
- These days with marketing, consumers have to be so careful when it comes to “greenwashing” and determining what is truly sustainable versus what is a “trendy marketing word.” Just like the food industry tosses around the word “organic,” Biodegradable is another big one. Can you talk a little bit about the difference between biodegradable & compostable or reusable products?
- Single-use plastic is an issue within our industry and so many others, in particular with packaging. What innovations have you all seen happening in this realm?
- Locally grown and imports is always a hot topic. I want to hear your thoughts.
- We’ve heard some great discussion surrounding sustainability - what is your #1 tip for our viewers and listeners to get started in being more sustainable?
Yvonne Ashton (00:00:00):
Today I have brought together a very special group of people to talk about a very important topic, sustainability. Our first 2023 Mayesh Design Star, Sue Mcleary is joining me along with Holly Chapple, TJ McGrath, Debra Prinzing, Patrick Dahlson and David Dahlson.
We are going to define what sustainability means because there's a lot of ideas out there, examine biodegradable, compostable, and reusable materials, talk about locally grown, and get tips from our experts on how we can all get started in being gentler to the earth.
Just wanted to let you guys know that normally when we do Mornings with Mayesh, we stream live on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. But today we are not on Instagram because we have so many guests today and the viewing experience wouldn't be so great. So just here guys. Facebook and YouTube will be reposting the replay up on Instagram probably in a day or two along with the podcast. And also, while we're getting started, we would love to just everyone to say good morning, say hello. Let us know where you're listening from or watching from. Also, a reminder that if you have any questions, go ahead and post them in the comments. And if we have time, we'll definitely cover them. I know today is a very exciting topic.
And before we get into that, I just wanted to welcome all of my amazing guests and have everyone go ahead and introduce themselves and share a bit about your flower story. So Sue, do you want to kick us all off?
Sue Mcleary (00:01:34):
Sure. Hi, I'm Sue Mcleary. I'm a florist and writer and teacher based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I got started, gosh, almost 20 years ago when a friend asked me to do her wedding flowers and I fell in love with floristry really in that instant. And I've been really obsessed since, very curious about all the techniques and history and tradition of floristry, and I have a special curiosity and interest in sustainable methods. So I'm really happy to be here. Thank you so much.
Yvonne Ashton (00:02:09):
Holly Chapple (00:02:13):
Hi, my name's Holly Chapple, Holly Heider Chapel, and I'm a wedding and event florist in the Washington DC area and also an educator and an author with Debra Prinzing. I have a flower farm also in Virginia as well. So we grow a lot of the flowers that we use in our weddings and events.
My design style has always been influenced by the flowers from the garden because my dad had a garden center and in the beginning I didn't know how to find Mayesh, and so I was going through his greenhouse cutting everything. Very interested in what I can do to make a difference in regards to sustainability. And I really enjoy the practice of coming up with new ideas and new mechanics. Sometimes a trip to Home Depot or Lowe's can get me off on a really exciting adventure. I've done a couple of really, really big events, one in particular last year that was completely foam free. And the bigger the event is, the harder it is to maintain that. But I try for progress even though I'm not like perfection, I'm doing my best.
Yvonne Ashton (00:03:34):
That's a great intro. TJ.
TJ McGrath (00:03:36):
Hi, I'm TJ McGrath from New Jersey, not the armpit of America, it's the Garden State. I've been in floristry for about six or so years, and I say it saved my life. I'm in it because I'm probably a failed gardener. I'm better at arranging flowers than I am gardening them to get them to look all beautiful and fantastic. And I focus on using local flowers primarily.
It is very difficult to do in January except for when you go out on a day like today and see forsythia blooming. Your first thought is "Why didn't I bring my clippers?" Well, because it's January so you don't usually have anything to cut. But I've also started a micro, micro organic flower farm at a farm here called Jardin de Buis in Pottersville. And very lucky because the owners of this farm are regenerative soil experts. So I'm producing some pretty amazing flowers in my tiny little plot.
Yvonne Ashton (00:04:45):
Very good. Debra, good morning.
Debra Prinzing (00:04:49):
Hi. Hi everybody. I'm Debra Prinzing and my flower story came out of the garden. I was a home and garden writer for decades. And about 15 years ago, I started meeting flower farmers up and down the West coast. And I was so intrigued by their story of sort of this David and Goliath story where they were the boutique, small farms, also some of the larger California farms.
But they all had a really interesting story in terms of operating in a global floral marketplace and trying to be relevant, trying to develop a customer base. And to me, it was just awesome floral storytelling. So I shifted, and I don't write about how to get the black spot off your tomatoes anymore. I write about flower farmers, domestic floral agriculture and their customers, floral designers who are really committed to sourcing domestically and for the reasons that we'll discuss today.
So 15 years in, I'm proud to say that has birthed the Slow Flowers Society and the Slow Flowers Movement and all kinds of related projects. Every time I think of a new project, unfortunately it births a new website. So I'm here to share my thoughts and to be so grateful that Mayesh is creating this forum. They've been a great supporter of the Slow Flowers Movement and all of the panelists here today, our members of the Slow Flower Society. So I'm grateful for that.
Yvonne Ashton (00:06:17):
Awesome. Thank you. David, I know most everyone knows you, but do a quick little intro.
David Dahlson (00:06:24):
Yeah, good morning. My name's David Dahlson. I graduated from Central St. Martin's in London and in fine art, and I had no idea that I was going to get into flowers. But I ended up in Los Angeles, 1980, looking for some work, and I got a job washing buckets for 3.50 an hour and I just fell in love with flowers. I still love flowers to this day.
I'm absolutely passionate about flowers and I believe that really our entire company's incredibly enthusiastic about flowers. And certainly with regards to this panel, I have a lot of concerns about a lot of the practices in this business. So we'd really want to discuss them and see if there's ideas that we can move forward with.
Yvonne Ashton (00:07:17):
I love it. And last but not least, Mayesh CEO, Patrick Dahlson. Hey, Pat.
Patrick Dahlson (00:07:23):
Hey there. Hey, all. Patrick Dahlson, CEO of Mayesh Wholesale. My story begins in the 60s riding around at 4:00 AM when I was a little kid with my dad down at the LA Flower Market. Still get to go down to the LA flower market when I'm in town and smell the flowers in the summer, especially when you have that pungent stock or just whatever flowers were around when I was a kid.
But I think most importantly for me, I fell in love with just the commerce and ultimately the flowers. I'm a super flower passionate guy, probably fueled by my cousin David here, who's really probably the most flower passionate person I know, notwithstanding everybody else in the panel. But I've had a great run leading my family business. Been in leadership of the family business, we've had it for, this will be our 45th anniversary this year at Mayesh.
And yeah, passionate about flowers, passionate about this agenda, this topic we're addressing. Got younger, not younger kids now, I'm going to be a grandpa. I got my first one having a baby, Ali, since some of you know Ali, but yep, that's right. I just made the announcement on [inaudible 00:08:38].
Yvonne Ashton (00:08:38):
That's great news. Congratulations, Ali. Congratulations.
Debra Prinzing (00:08:44):
Patrick Dahlson (00:08:47):
I've been fortunate to work with Ali, Navon on our workshops and things. And five years ago, four years ago, we had a workshop in Seattle where I was there helping Ali set up and we did all the processing. And all she could do was say, "Oh my God, dad, the waste, the plastic, the cardboard, the rubber bands." Not that I didn't know, we are purported to be a green business. People would think we're green and we're far from it and we've got work to do.
And as an industry, we should take a leadership role of trying to figure out how to move the needle, however small that movement is or however large it can be. It takes everybody. So passionate about that. Love the industry, every bit of it. And love the people. Let's be honest, love the people. So there you go.
Yvonne Ashton (00:09:35):
I love it.
Patrick Dahlson (00:09:36):
And by the way, I'm the least qualified to talk to about specifics, but on the macro side, I'm very committed to what our topic here today. So just a full disclosure.
Yvonne Ashton (00:09:48):
Awesome. Well, thank you all for being here. This is going to be amazing. Lots of people. I don't know if you're seeing the comments, they're all very excited. So let's get into it. And I thought it would be great to start everything off by defining sustainability. Because you see the word sustainable on everything.
I was just talking about it with my mom friends. I was telling you guys I was in a car and they're like, "Yeah, I saw the word sustainable on shoe packaging, on the shoes, and it's everywhere." It's the trendy buzzword right now. And we know that it's so much more than just a trend. So I thought Sue did such a wonderful job defining sustainability in our January Mayesh Design Star video. So hint, hint, if you guys haven't watched that yet, make sure you check it out.
So Sue, can you kick us off and help us define what sustainability means?
Sue Mcleary (00:10:39):
Sure. So, to keep it simple, you can think of sustainability as having three pillars or sections; equity, economy and environment. And in general, sustainable practices are meant to fulfill the needs of a current generation without compromising the needs of future generations. So that's kind of a very succinct general definition of what sustainability is and what sustainable practices mean. So it could be systems, practices, and it's a layered and really nuanced conversation. So I hope that definition helps.
Yvonne Ashton (00:11:25):
I think so. Good. A good way to start. All right. So I also, David, wanted to bring you up next because you helped us create a video last year talking about Mayesh's philosophy towards sustainability. Can you summarize those thoughts, as I thought that would be helpful in setting our intention for today's panel? I think Patrick touched on it a little bit with his intro, but can you dive into that a little bit more?
David Dahlson (00:11:53):
Yes, certainly. So I think last year, Patrick SAF, I think it's SAF, the Society of American Florists is starting to do a deep dive into sustainability. And Patrick asked me like, "Well, let's take a look at this and what we can do." And the more I got into it, the more I realized that-
Patrick Dahlson (00:12:15):
That's American Floral Endowment, David. Sorry. Yeah, American Floral Endowment.
David Dahlson (00:12:18):
Excuse me, American Floral Endowment, AFE, yeah. Yeah, thank you. But the more I dove into it, the more to try to say, well, we're doing this sustainably, now that sustainably in a sustainable way really is, you can't say it with a straight face because our world is so integrated with practices, for one reason or another, that are not sustainable. And there's almost like nothing we can do. We're powerless over it.
So I did recommend to Patrick that Mayesh should probably take a different course and say we're going to look to do sustainable practices, steps, approaches within our business, but we really can't realistically declare ourselves a sustainable company really until we have a mandate from the governments of the world, really, that we must stop using petrochemicals and we do need to reduce the amount of animals we raise for food.
And without those two things, it's going to be very, very difficult... I mean, there's a whole host of things, but those are the two major issues that really have to be addressed. But just as an example to close how complex this is is that even making concrete, concrete blocks, putting up concrete buildings, which is it undergirds our whole society now today, even that generates harmful gases into the environment and it's going to take a master stroke to get around all these things.
But of late, I'm very optimistic about the way forward because I do think that human ingenuity will solve all these issues. My only worry, I hope it's not too late.
Yvonne Ashton (00:14:24):
Very good. Thank you, David. Patrick, I know you have a lot of ideas in terms of, like you said, the macro piece of it. Is there anything else that you wanted to add to what David was talking about?
Patrick Dahlson (00:14:37):
I would just say that I look forward to Mayesh and these really smart people we have and these really great associations with the folks we have on the panel and more that we would try to bring light to it, try to surface these small best practices that can start... You start a movement with small best practices, you cannot eat the whole enchilada in one bite. You just can't.
So I just feel like we're a very visible company with our social media and so on. We can play a role in getting the word out and being just very proactive in trying to bring more attention to this area of our industry that we can improve on just bit by bit. And so that's really where I come from, just recognizing that there's an opportunity for us to play a lead role, a role, and we're going to do it and we're committed to doing it. And we got smart people, like I said, colleagues such as all yourselves on the call, folks in our company, and a lot of young folks as well.
So just want to leverage what we can do within this topic and movement.
Yvonne Ashton (00:15:51):
Absolutely. Thank you. Debra, I know when we had met up earlier to talk about this, you had some thoughts on, you called it the continuum of sustainability. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Debra Prinzing (00:16:06):
I do use that term, and I feel like it maybe takes the overwhelming sense that we are all kind of referring to today, like, "Oh my God, the problem's so large, how do we make a difference?" And I think that that continuum allows us to say, "Well, here's where I am in my practices. How can I be better than what I'm doing today? And what am I reaching for?" And these saluting to these baby steps.
Maybe it's just deciding, what I say to a lot of people who are looking at the Slow Flowers Movement, maybe it's just deciding that you're going to showcase one local floral crop in a design and have that be your local design of the week or the month and just telegraph that you care about this and you're responsive to your customers. It's not an all or nothing thing. So that's one practice.
I just talked to one of our members who is literally carefully unwrapping the rubber bands from every bunch of flowers she buys and not cutting them, which is so much easier to do, and giving jars of them back to her flower farmer friends for them to reuse. Her pride is not having them in her garbage bin. So that's a tiny time consuming, intentional step.
But I think that we all have these ideas. I like to quote our friend Toby Nelson, who's active in the sustainable floristry network, who she's always saying "Make better than choices." When you're doing something, stop and say, "Could I do this better? Could I do this greener? Could I do this more sustainably in that action?"
So that's the continuum to me. I don't think any of us are going to be there. Listening to David talk about just the meat production industry is really sobering to me because I need to cut back on my meat consumption and have some meat free Mondays because I'm part of the problem too. So I think we all sense that and we all sense that there's something we can do.
Yvonne Ashton (00:18:06):
Very good. Very good. And then TJ, I wanted to bring you on too at this point because I know you had talked a little bit about some thoughts that you share with your young mentees. Can you share that with us, please?
TJ McGrath (00:18:19):
Sure. Picking up on that, I spend a lot of time talking to these young people who are planning families and futures, and I'm like, "But little steps do matter." Again, I take a lot of pride, I do the same thing with my rubber bands. I have terrible body aches. I sleep terribly at night. So these little steps that I take during the day to be better to the planet.
And I just say that to them all the time. I'm like, "But little steps," you have to remind people that little steps really do matter. And I think that if more florists took little steps and little steps, and actually David and I talked about this a couple of months ago. I was like, I don't think floristry will ever be fully sustainable. I don't think anything will be fully sustainable. But I think of all of the global industries, floristry is the one that could probably make the biggest steps, the biggest improvements, and then thus become an inspiration to other industries.
And so when I'm working freelancing for a gal who's 30 and got her whole life ahead and she's got me on this $30,000 wedding, and it's like, "Yeah, but whatever, it's just 40 blocks of foam." And I'm like, "But it's 40 blocks of foam in a vase that could have been water and that's 40 less blocks that would've then gone to a landfill." That's just a little step. And the little steps make big impacts.
Yvonne Ashton (00:19:50):
Absolutely. They definitely do. And then I feel like this kind of leads into, and you guys have talked about it a little bit, but as an industry, how do we make this topic.
Yvonne Ashton (00:20:03):
... Little bit. But as an industry, how do we make this topic feel less intimidating, more actionable, and more inclusive? I thought, Sue, you could go first on this one.
Sue Mcleary (00:20:13):
Yeah. I think meeting people where they are and realizing that BEND floristry and retail floristry are difficult to do sustainably, with the conventional methods that we've been sold over the last 50-60 years. And so, I think kind of picking apart the problem points, the pain points, that working florists have, and trying to, without judgment, offer solutions that can allow them to continue to do the work that they need to do in a timely fashion, a profitable fashion, but in a more sustainable manner, continuously offering these ideas to people so that they can start to adopt them when they can, when it works for them, when they have time to test out a new thing, when they feel comfortable and confident enough to make a pivot.
I can't speak for everybody, but my contribution towards that is trying to do the testing, reintroduce traditional methods, floral [inaudible 00:21:26] methods, and then, report my findings so that the information can help people who are really busy and wanting to do better, but maybe feeling they don't have the confidence to make a pivot without that encouragement, without that data.
Yvonne Ashton (00:21:44):
Yeah. I think that's wonderful that you do that too, Sue. All of you guys have such a passion for the industry, and then it just takes that someone special to be just put themselves out there, be able to do the testing, share what they're working on, and then just being there in a positive way, which I think is really great. So, thank you, Sue.
Holly, how about you? Because I know when we talked in preparation for today, you mentioned the word intensity, right? Can you talk a little bit about intensity? I know you have a farm, so I think you have a lot of things to share with us too, in terms of how do we make this topic feel less intimidating, more doable.
Holly Chapple (00:22:38):
For me, it's encouragement and education. If you shame me and are intense with me, I shut down. For me, a lot of this really started years ago in England with Shane Connolly. Instead of shaming, he encouraged me and inspired me to think about ways that I could be more sustainable. He never made me feel guilty about the fact that I was designing for large events. I have a family to feed. The way he encouraged that growth ... We have a saying: take what you want and leave the rest behind. I took as much of it in as I could.
At the time, for us ... this is hard to explain ... but going out with a COMPO bowl full of foam, and I'm talking many years ago, was easier because it wasn't going to spill over on the job. And so, chicken wire of course was a thing, but it was impossible to fill the vases back up with water on the job because we couldn't get the water into the vase because the chicken wire was smashed in. And so, that's one of the things I didn't mention, is that's how that product line was born that I have with syndicate sales. I literally thought, "How can I get something that I can lift up and fill the vase back up with water on the job?"
And so, what I guess I'm saying and encouraging is, come up with ideas and concepts that work for your team and your company, and be inspired by the possibility there. It is fun to take this challenge on, and then it's just like a seed in the ground. All of a sudden, you're starting to look at every bit of your practices, and it has made such a difference in our use. I feel good. My husband used to always say, "Can you sleep at night?" I know that I am making effort every day to reduce, and reduction is key for us. That's my focus, and it has spread out into the farm. We've hired someone who is 100% organic at the farm, and he's all about enriching the soil. We're very careful about our compost piles, and this just keeps moving. It's moving through my house.
I guess Deborah also said something that she just boldly admitted that she's part of the problem. Right? We all are. We get in our cars, or we pick up some cellophane or styrofoam box at the grocery store, and I always think of that biblical saying, I guess: "He who's without sin cast the first stone." There are very few people who are 100% guilt and sin-free in this, and we're never going to reel everybody in and encourage and educate and inspire them if we shame them out of it. I am so thankful the way that Shane introduced that to me, and he gently, lovingly reeled me in and made me want to figure this out, and that's huge.
Yvonne Ashton (00:26:26):
Yeah. Yeah. That's great. I love it. That actually brings me to a question that was emailed in from Katie. She says, "I like to engage with other florists that may be doing little or no sustainable practices in my real-life community without shaming them." What do you feel are some positive ways for florists to talk to other florists in their own real-life community about sustainability and change in the industry? Anyone want to go?
TJ McGrath (00:26:55):
I'll start that. Oftentimes on a freelance gig, walk in and it'll be like, " Oh, TJ, I have to apologize. We are going to be using foam," and my response is always, "That's fine. Your business isn't my business. I'm not here to tell you what's the right way to do it. But as we're doing it, I think we're going to collectively try to imagine for the next time we're doing this, ways we could do it without floral foam," if I don't already have a suggestion.
I think it's just constantly being open to the dialogue and fleshing through even what may seem like the most ridiculous ideas is how I approach it. I'm like, "Well, imagine. We could possibly do this." I think you just have to be nice to people sometimes and be like, "Hey. Maybe, did you know, you could possibly do this instead of using the floral foam?" That's a great way to do it. It's a really great way to do it.
Yvonne Ashton (00:27:57):
TJ McGrath (00:28:00):
" Hey. I know that an alternative."
Yvonne Ashton (00:28:04):
I like the idea with the rubber bands too. Anyone else have any ideas on how you would approach someone in real life? We're not talking about keyboard warriors here or anything hiding behind the computer. How would you approach one of your flower friends and saying, "Hey. What about this?"
Patrick Dahlson (00:28:19):
I think TJ said it right earlier already.
Yvonne Ashton (00:28:22):
Patrick Dahlson (00:28:22):
The little things, and practicing it, and not making it all the idea of judging or shaming and all those words about, "I'm more righteous than you are because I'm doing more." BS. Just demonstrate, do it, share it, and live it.
Debra Prinzing (00:28:42):
Yeah. I agree. Pat, I think that the education in ...
Yvonne Ashton (00:28:54):
Oh. Debra froze. Give her a second. Let's see. All right. Well, I'm going to move on to the next question here. Let me put TJ back up here since Debra's frozen. I'll bring her back on when she comes on.
But my next question is, these days with marketing consumers have to be so careful when it comes to greenwashing and determining what is truly sustainable versus what is a trendy, marketing word. Just like the food industry tosses around the word organic, biodegradable is another big one. Can we talk a little bit about the differences between biodegradable, compostable, and reusable products? TJ, you want to take that first?
TJ McGrath (00:29:42):
Well, I really think that Sue is better equipped with some of the work she's done with the folks at Michigan, to talk about what biodegradable means. I think the easiest way for me to say it is compostable is really the goal and the word that you need to understand. Flowers are all grown in dirt, in soil, and my goal is that everything that goes into the base can then eventually go to the compost, which would then go back to the soil. The biodegradable, the all of those, there's nuances and misunderstandings when we don't really know how long it takes certain things to completely biodegrade them. I mean, I don't even really know what the word biodegradable means there. Is there an end point to it? But I think Sue has a better version of that.
Sue Mcleary (00:30:48):
I'll give it a shot. When I really started focusing on teaching sustainable practices, I did a deep dive and started researching. For me, I came up with a mantra for my own teaching and my own studio that's compostable or reusable, because with those two as my criteria, I can't get in trouble. The greenwashing comes in because bioplastics, biodegradable plastic or biodegradable petroleum products, after they degrade ... if they do, because many landfills don't even have the conditions that allow for this to happen ... if they do degrade, they don't degrade into bits that lend anything beneficial to the environment. They can essentially, I think, legally just break down the smaller bits of what they were originally and that becomes more complex when you have something entering the water stream instead of the landfill, where the bits don't have the correct environment, the correct conditions, to even break down at all, so for me, biodegradable is just off the table as a sustainable option because it's too complex and there's too many factors that just confuse the issues.
So, as TJ mentioned, I reached out to Michigan State because there's a really prestigious doctor there, Dr. Narayan, who studies bioplastics. When I say rabbit hole, it was a warren. It's a very complex issue. I'm not a scientist; I'm not equipped to lay out all of the specifics, but from his guidance, he said, "Yeah. I would focus on compostable or reusable because biodegradable aspect is just too much of a morass to navigate." I could go further with the biodegradable stuff, but I don't know how interested people are.
TJ McGrath (00:33:04):
I think it's exactly that. It's like what is the better solution? Because as you're talking, all I'm seeing is biodegradable things turning into little bits, and my brain is imagining them in a landfill, but eventually it's going to rain on that landfill and those things are going to slide out. Just the word itself degradable, that doesn't mean regenerative at all. You know what I mean? I think if you just picture in your head your options should be things that either are reused or give back to the earth, you're walking down a good path.
Sue Mcleary (00:33:44):
Holly Chapple (00:33:48):
To me, also, and maybe I'm just completely wrong here, but greenwashing to me is sort of like you're just using the word sustainability in a way to seem current and trendy and you're actually lying.
David Dahlson (00:34:06):
Holly Chapple (00:34:06):
In reality. This being honest, I'm doing my best; it's progress, not perfection. I'm working on reduction. I'm making impact, but not coming off holier than thou because everyone knows it's bullshit because ... Oops.
Sue Mcleary (00:34:25):
Holly Chapple (00:34:28):
Somewhere in your life you're doing something you shouldn't be doing. Right? For us, it's so interesting. Even on the farm, we've taken this ... We have what we call the compost pile, and we threw everything under the sun in that. Well, we started a second compost pile and that compost pile, nothing from an event goes in it because it could have been intermingled with product that we purchased, and because sometimes we do use foam, that foam has gotten into what we call the compost pile, so we actually don't call that the compost pile anymore. It's the trash pile. And what is the compost pile? It has nothing from any other outside source unless they're a local grower and it has never had foam in it, so that we can add manure and all that good stuff to it and make the teas and fertilizers and things that we need on the farm.
I think it's just about being really careful. A lot of people jump on this to try and sell a product, or sell themselves and their businesses, and it's about being honest.
Sue Mcleary (00:35:48):
Yvonne Ashton (00:35:49):
Yeah. Definitely. Anyone else have anything that they want to contribute, talking about biodegradable?
Debra Prinzing (00:35:56):
I think it's just all about transparency. The problem is a lot of people ... In terms of being transparent about what you're doing, sometimes people don't know the composition of what they're doing. I really like what Sue said about focusing on compostable and reusable. I'll have more to say when we get to the local discussion.
Yvonne Ashton (00:36:21):
Yeah. Great. Anyone else?
David Dahlson (00:36:23):
Yeah. I'd just like to chime in here. One of the things I've found lately is that there are people making lookalike plastic products from organic materials, basically from cellulose, but these things look so much like plastic that they're going into the trash. A lot of these things that are supposed to look like plastic, people think they are plastic unless they're really tuned in to what's coming in to their place of work, and those go in the landfill, and that's worse because it's organic material; it starts to generate methane.
Right now, we are at a nexus, a very complicated place because the solutions they're coming up with aren't that good. We really need to get to regenerative as fast as we can and get away from anything coming from petrochemicals and dangerous minerals. This is a complex problem.
Sue Mcleary (00:37:30):
Yeah. Can I say another little tidbit?
Yvonne Ashton (00:37:34):
Sue Mcleary (00:37:36):
He brings up a point that's interesting. The faster things are designed to biodegrade in landfill, the more methane they release, so if the landfill isn't equipped to capture the methane and make use of it, those biodegradable products that are designed to biodegrade faster are actually adding to the methane problem, so it's really complex.
Yvonne Ashton (00:38:02):
I think, again, this is kind of step one is also just talking about that, like what David said: that is something that is happening, so it's just about educating people. Yeah. Just talking about it, I think, helps.
TJ, did you have something else that you wanted to share?
TJ McGrath (00:38:22):
I did. I think being nice is very important and inspiring. As Holly said, I've just gone out there and been very transparent and very honest about all the mistakes and things that I'm doing. But I think we also have to remember that we don't just need nice voices to make change. You need some activists on the ground who are probably not going to be as nice. Big change takes all the voices.
Yvonne Ashton (00:38:51):
TJ McGrath (00:38:52):
I think we have a group of really nice folks, but every voice reaches ... My voice isn't going to reach every single person. So, I personally think, not that it was one of our questions, but one of the things that this movement in our industry needs is more folks who are activists about it because it's those activists who, in my opinion, are going to reach the consumer and get the consumer understanding the issue, and then the consumer's going to be the one who turns around and says to their florist, "Hey. What's the floral foam thing? Can I get an arrangement without it? Because I don't think I don't like it from what I'm learning."
Yvonne Ashton (00:39:34):
Holly Chapple (00:39:37):
I also think ... we mentioned retail ... retail floristry is one of the places where we could make the biggest dent. I cannot comprehend why any retail florist would send any arrangement out in foam when we know that the flowers will last so much longer if they're directly in water, which in turn is just going to make the consumer have a better experience and want them to ...
Holly Chapple (00:40:02):
Better experience and want them to last longer. That to me is, that's the part I don't understand. I get funeral work. I'm still trying to figure out how we're not going to dump two gallons of water on grandma. And I love the challenges and I've come up with some ways around that. But I mean regards to daily work leaving, we are going to increase our sales and our profit margin when we let go of that. And there's no way that that isn't a better practice. Sorry.
Yvonne Ashton (00:40:37):
Right. No, it's all good. It's all good. I did get a question from Penny. And it goes along with what we're talking about. She wanted to know, and I don't know if you guys know, would hemp products replace the cardboard boxes and paper wrap? They biodegrade faster. Does anyone know about that or no?
David Dahlson (00:40:56):
Well, I can speak to reusable renewable sources. So hemp would certainly be one of them. There are plenty of crops. They're using a lot of bamboo now in the paper sleeves that we're using in some parts of Mayesh to replace the plastic sleeves. But still, you come back to these... See, everything's so interwoven. So yes, the answer is yes. But the binders they use to make this pulp hold together still comes from a petrochemical source. So it's baby steps to get all these things in line. So the short answer is yes. The long answer is it's complicated.
Yvonne Ashton (00:41:39):
Very good. And I think this is a good segue for my next question about single use plastic is obviously an issue within our industry and so many others. In particular with packaging, what innovations have you all seen happening in this realm? And I did get a question from Tracy. Yes, Tracy? Yes. Talking about encouraging growers to use less packaging. When she's processing, she's like feeling guilty when she's doing it because there's all... Kind of like what Patrick was saying when they were setting up for the workshop and we had all of this packaging sitting around. So David, I know you've been working closely for Mayesh on this type of thing. Do you have anything that you can share with us in terms of what you're seeing happening in our industry with packaging?
David Dahlson (00:42:24):
Yes. By the way, to answer to TJ, I'm only told to be nice because generally I'm not very nice. All right.
TJ McGrath (00:42:31):
Well I guess, [inaudible 00:42:33] I am actually really very nice. I am actually.
David Dahlson (00:42:39):
So I [inaudible 00:42:39] if you can believe it, this is the kind of thing that makes me go absolutely crazy. But I would say for the last year now we've been doing trial shipments with paper. Let's say roses is our main product we're bringing from South America. With roses instead of the plastic sleeve as a bunch of roses from South America comes with a cardboard wrapper, hold all the rows in place and then they put a plastic sleeve around the foliage just to keep it hydrated during transit. And I've asked, and we've done tests now. We've been working with Florence Verdes in Cayambe, Ecuador. And the reception's been great. I've been told... And it's not often customers comment on packaging, but when the paper wrap comes in, they think that's like a tremendous thing. The problem has been for Mayesh is trying to get all our growers on board with this. That's because most of the industry's using plastic at the moment. It's very hard to switch your production lines to accommodate different systems.
And especially with the plastic sleeves, they can put those in water as is, good to go. You can't put paper in water because it becomes soggy and falls apart. But my outrage really with... Sometimes I feel like we're treated as second class citizen in the United States, is in Europe, they are successfully getting certain growers to package in paper because they're insisting that because of the single use thing, single use mandate coming up in Europe this year, or I think it starts next year, is they want everything in paper.
And I have been imploring our growers to move to the paper now. And it's going very, very slowly. But the good news is, it is happening. And I would say by the end of this year, we ought to be seeing all our roses plastic free. When I say plastic free, I mean there's still going to be rubber band. But apart from that, that's looking incredibly optimistic. With regard to boxes, that's still going to be a problem because that does generate a lot of waste. But I can say if you're into organic gardening, in particular, no-till, you break open those cardboard boxes, you lay them down and then put your soil and compost or black gold or substrate, whatever you have on top, it's ideal for no-till farming. That's just a tip.
Yvonne Ashton (00:45:21):
[inaudible 00:45:17] I think, Debra, did you want to share? I know when we talked about this question, you had something to share about the initiative with Seattle, I think called Restream.
Debra Prinzing (00:45:31):
Right. Yeah. So it does take these baby steps and a lot of recycling initiatives are at hyper-local. And I think that we've read about companies that are helping basically break down events and recycling all the materials. There's one in New York City that I know Emily Thompson uses, which I think is called Garbage Goddess. In Seattle, we have a company called Rid Well, and it's a private recycling company. And one of our members, Tammy Meyers of First in Bloom just reached out to them and said, "How can I find out what cellophane plastic wraps are recyclable? And would you be willing to do a pilot project?" Well, it turns out, unless you can poke your finger through that plastic, like a vegetable bag or something, cellophane, most cellophane is not recyclable. And I see a lot of comments in the chat about how people are trying to find ways to reuse that. But Tammy did see a need for recycled vases and because especially we were in this period the last year of supply chain issues, she worked with Rid Well. And did a pilot in four neighborhoods in Seattle too. Basically let consumers recycle their unused... or their used vases that are hanging around in their cupboards. She managed to get something like, I don't know, 45 boxes of recycled vases. Clean them, put them into collections, and she's selling them now to florist who are looking for affordable way to have vases for single arrangements or small events. So I know that she's talked with the Mayesh Seattle branch and the Seattle wholesale growers market about trying to get this company to find a downstream way to recycle cellophane. But so far, back to what David said, until the whole industry, international floral culture industry is willing to develop and invest in that cost of developing a product that will be compostable, I don't know that we're going to be able to see a lot of movement on that.
Yvonne Ashton (00:47:42):
Right. Very good. Thank you Debra. And TJ, yes.
TJ McGrath (00:47:47):
Yeah. So one of the things that I noticed... And I think I said it when we were talking about it earlier. I don't even know if it was intentional by the farmer. But I got her email announcing her CSA shares and all of this were available to purchase. And she made it very clear that you didn't need to bring your own buckets, that you could take her buckets as long as you brought them back the next week for the next pickup. And I've now had a week to think about it since we talked about it last.
And I do really understand that that is actually generated much more towards her CSA clients than to the florist who are buying from her who do probably show up with their own buckets in hand. And I think that that's an unspoken amazing little step because if I'm just Betty Housewife next door and I've heard about this CSA program from a local farmer and I go there and I pick them up and I don't have a bucket of water, there's good chances in July here in New Jersey, my flowers will be crapped out by the time I got them home.
So this particular farmer, knowingly or not, has, in my mind, made a really inspiring little step to prevent her CSA clients from thinking, "Oh, I got to go run to Target and get a bucket because I'm going to pick up flowers and I need water for their flowers."
Yvonne Ashton (00:49:11):
Yeah, very good. Yeah. I think that's great. And I saw something in there, a question about reusing bases or reusable products when it's a one way kind of situation. So florist selling to a consumer, how does that work? And I know from another interview I did with Lejardin. I can't remember the lady's name that I was speaking with. It's on the top of my head. But anyhow, I know that she really was heavy into educating her clients and returning those vases and educating her clients about sustainability and about reusability. And all of that. Do you guys have any thoughts to share there?
Patrick Dahlson (00:50:04):
Excuse me. One second. I know of a client we have in LA that I was pretty impressed. I used flowers a lot from and support clients. And one day, he called. He said, "What do you do with all these vases over the last two years?" And I said, "They're in the garage." He says, "Well, I do a vase pickup a couple times a year. I'll have my driver out and I'll email my clients and I'll gladly come by and pick up those vases." And so he has a regular vase pickup and I think probably on the front [inaudible 00:50:37] people save your bases. I'll do a pickup. It's great for the environment. Don't recycle.
Yvonne Ashton (00:50:41):
Patrick Dahlson (00:50:42):
[inaudible 00:50:42] Recycle bin. I'll use them again. So he saves money. We do a little small turn for the good. And I think that's a great program. One of the simple ways to do this. And at Mayesh, we try to deliver flowers or pick up flowers from [inaudible 00:50:58] in buckets all the time. We do bucket exchanges. We send our deliveries out in buckets whenever we can, bucket exchanges with our clients. It's just a way of life. And you know what we [inaudible 00:51:09]. Exactly.
Yvonne Ashton (00:51:11):
Yeah. Very good. I'm sure we have some more things to talk about, but I really want to get to our next question about locally grown and imports. That's always a hot topic in our industry and I want to hear your thoughts. And I have Holly up to go first, if you're willing.
Holly Chapple (00:51:32):
My thought is 'cause I am so client focused, my responsibility is to give my client the very best, the finest. And so much of what I truly love is from my farm or is from a local wholesaler. I am completely comfortable because I have not achieved the perfect environment for roses purchasing my roses from abroad. I make certain that I work with farms that are practicing eco-friendly practices and have certification that shows. And I've been abroad in Ecuador and in Columbia. And I work with farms that specifically are going at the most sustainable possible practice for growing.
Where I love to educate is that they do not need to use heating and air conditioning at all. They are in the perfect growing environment. Their greenhouses are completely regulated and do not suck from this environment at all. Flying flowers to me in Virginia, it is the same carbon footprint to bring them from Bogota or from Ecuador as it is if they were to fly here from California. I am completely in support of the American farmer. I care so, so, so much. But I also have to be prepared if I am growing the most gorgeous white lisianthus in the world, and all of a sudden, it storms for four days and I've lost my field. I need to be prepared to promise the commodity that I've offered, that I have sold. So I purchase as much locally as I can, but I also always pursue the finest of a product.
Yvonne Ashton (00:53:44):
Very good. Thank you holly. Debra, can you go next?
Debra Prinzing (00:53:51):
Yes, I would love to. I think there's sort of a decision and I think it's infecting our designs. And in response to Holly saying she always wants to use the best, I think there's a whole school or a cadre of designers who are making an intentional aesthetic decision to only design with local flowers. So they're finding ways to give their clients incredibly beautiful product that is locally or domestic sourcing. And I think that that's something we're going to see more of is, if you value that and you want that to be part of your brand, it will affect your designs. And I think that the more that we're demanding domestic roses, we're going to see micro farms in hyper-local growing garden roses for florists to use. Now I'm not addressing the six figure wedding events that maybe Holly's referring to, but I do see that that is a positive and I'm really encouraged by that.
Or people designing without roses and finding other ways to create something beautiful. What I wanted to mention though is, we're seeing this shift among consumers. For the last two years, Slow Flowers has sponsored, financially sponsored, questions in the national gardening survey asking about consumer attitudes about local and domestic flowers. And two years ago, something like 58% of consumers said that if given a choice, they would prefer domestic flowers. That's gone up to 67% for 2022. And now we're doing the survey again for 2023. So I think when we see that consumers are responding to a question about how important is it to you that the flowers you source or the arrangements you source are from local flowers or domestic flowers, that's something we can just use as a hallmark for our choices. And focus on what we're positively doing and maybe make some design decisions that are slightly different because we value keeping that carbon footprint really close to home.
Yvonne Ashton (00:56:02):
Very good. Thank you for sharing that, Debra. I know TJ and Sue had some things to say as well. Who wants to go first? TJ.
Sue Mcleary (00:56:15):
TJ McGrath (00:56:16):
So for me, one of the things that I say all the time to anybody who asks is it's incredibly hard to build a fully successful business based on local product alone. Obviously just given the fact that I have winter and we don't have flowers in winter. But I think Debra's right. There is quite a growing movement among the consumer for this more local product. And I think that it's a struggle maybe for florists to even try to incorporate it because they don't know the product. It's not things that they're familiar with. It doesn't behave the way the imported things do. So I always like, when I do a designing with a seasonally inspired [inaudible 00:57:11] workshop, it's never to criticize anybody for not only using local seasonal product in their everyday business, but it's to kind of teach them these practices of, yeah, local lisianthus behaves a bit differently than that perfectly straight lisianthus that you get imported.
And cosmos, maybe, when there are shortages coming for your weddings, local cosmos may be a good replacement for lisianthus when the shortages happen globally as they had all through Covid and are still happening. So for me, it was always, I thought, well, what can I do that sets me apart? One, I live in the garden state. I should try to build a business off of local flower farms. But it's hard. It's incredibly difficult.
And I think for me, the issue was always, I'm like, "Holly, I don't have access to find out really, are these farms that I'm buying from at my local wholesaler, are they doing the right things?" My local wholesaler doesn't. He just knows it's this farm and whatever, but he can't tell me anything about it. And I'm just like the average florist. I don't have hours and days to research South American farms to find out which ones are doing... You guys presenting this information, working with the farms makes it a little bit easier. But that's not something available to every person. And so for me, the local was like, well, at least I know. I know these farmers. I'm building these relationships and I know this is not just adding economic value to my community. It's also, it's adding to the environment as well.
Yvonne Ashton (00:59:08):
Thank you TJ. Yes, totally agree. And Sue, I'm bringing you up to round this up.
Sue Mcleary (00:59:18):
I think everybody else [inaudible 00:59:19] good point. All I would add is at my local Mayesh branch, there's always a local section. So I go there first and try to fill my needs there to support the company, to show that people want this and want local flowers represented in that cooler. And I guess what I'm trying to say, anytime I have a chance to buy and I'm in complete artistic control, I go local first. So just encouraging people to think about that way. The same with your food decisions. Maybe you go to the farmer's market first and then you fill out your grocery needs at-
Sue Mcleary (01:00:03):
... first, and then you fill out your grocery needs at the larger supermarkets. Just thinking about how you can keep it closer to home first and show your support just as often as you can do that, I think that makes an impact.
Patrick Dahlson (01:00:17):
Yvonne, can I take a minute or not?
Yvonne Ashton (01:00:19):
Yeah, definitely. I was bringing you up next. I'm trying to type in.
Patrick Dahlson (01:00:26):
Look, we love the local movement at Mayesh, and David hopefully has a minute to talk about some of the quickly what he's up to these days. But we support local growers all over the country. We grew up out the LA area where all of our flowers were local to begin with. Imports started coming in.
I think we have to realize in today's world, we don't have an industry without imports. We don't have an industry. We have flowers. Not enough, not an industry to support the beautiful amount of flowers and the way flowers are being used in people's lives daily.
I think the amazing thing is the local growers, wherever they are, have a tremendous opportunity with all these suggestions about people using, and there is a movement for people wanting to buy domestic and local and in their area. So I think the sky's the limit for people who can invest and want to be a local farmer and do the hard work because it's hard work.
I mean, some of you are local farmers on this call and it's hard work. But it's a great movement. We're very involved in it and want to continue to try to develop relationships with local growers in all the markets we're in.
But keep in mind our industry is broad based. TJ touched on it, Sue has, Holly has. I mean there's a need for this industry to be fed flowers, and we're talking about working with all aspects of trying to take little steps as TJ described, to get better at sustainability and so on. But make no mistake about it, we are an industry because of the overall, the domestic, the local and the imports. But I think the local footprint grower in markets has tremendous opportunity and we are in that game.
And I want to say one little plug on this. We just have worked out an agreement. We are teaming up with Christine Hoffman in Minneapolis, Twin City Flower Exchange that she founded, and we will be wholesaling totally working with her, what she's established with the local growers there, as well as making a Mayesh branch in that area as she felt like her business needed more year round ability to find and sell flowers and to pay her bills. So we are delighted to be a teaming-
Yvonne Ashton (01:03:02):
That's awesome. Congratulations.
Patrick Dahlson (01:03:07):
[inaudible 01:03:05]. David, you'll get a chance to meet her. She's a big league like you buddy. So that's all I have to say there.
Yvonne Ashton (01:03:13):
Yeah. [inaudible 01:03:16].
David Dahlson (01:03:15):
Yeah, I'd like to jump in. So just to be clear, I believe in American or local flowers, 100%. There is no greater luxury than ... Well, the greatest luxury is fresh fish from the river, but this sounds greatest luxury is fresh flowers from your own garden or whatever.
And I believe in this so much. In 2010, I sold all my shares in Mayesh, bought a little piece of land out in the Everglades and tried to do organic no-till sustainable farming. And what I didn't realize was it's incredibly hot here in the summer, you can't believe the size of the bugs [inaudible 01:04:02] the plants. And in the winter, my first year I got hit by a freeze that killed everything I was growing. But I carried on like a trooper and I reassessed, changed the assortment of flowers. I got hit by a freeze again. And the third year I got hit by a hurricane, took away the greenhouses. I said, "That's it, I'm out of cash."
I asked Pat. I say, "Hey, any chance of a job back?" But I believe in it, but it's incredibly hard and there's parts of the country that don't lend themselves to it. I can tell you, south central Florida, forget about it. It's difficult. I do do a little prize offering a folks club in the winter, but that's about it now. I'm too busy again. But yeah, I believe in it wholeheartedly and I have encouraged Mayesh.
One thing people should remember, Pat and I, we started in Mayesh when there were no imports. We were 100% ... 90% Californian, 10% Florida grown flowers at all times until the imports started coming from offshore. But still to this day, we have growers we've been dealing with continuously for 35 years plus. So we're very proud of our association. But like Pat says, it's very difficult to have a business without year round production.
And as a last point on that, I have looked into year round production in the United States, and without proper greenhouses, climate controlled greenhouses, which run $2 million an acre, we really can't replace what's coming out of South America at this time, much as I'd love to.
Yeah. There you go.
Yvonne Ashton (01:05:54):
Very good. Anyone else? I know we are over the hour, so thank you everyone who's still hanging in with us. We're still hovering around that 100 mark. And we've received so many questions. I feel like we need to do round two of the panel. Don't know if anyone's up to that, but the good thing is we're going to be talking about sustainability the whole entire year. It's January 17th. We have the rest of the year that we're really going to be focusing on this and we have a lot of exciting people that we're going to be working with. So we will get to those questions if we didn't get to them today.
And before we go around and everyone kind of sharing their number one tip, anyone else have thoughts that they want to share before we kind of wrap it up with our tips from everyone? All right.
Okay. Like I said, this was such an amazing conversation, guys about sustainability. You all had shared so many great insights and experiences with us, but what would be your number one tip for our viewers and listeners to get started on being more sustainable? TJ, you want to go first?
TJ McGrath (01:07:12):
Sure. I think honestly, I just think getting rid of the floral foam is the easiest step you can take. But it does require a commitment. Obviously I'm not producing the size of events that Holly is, so I get that bigger outfits might need to make that commitment and have it be somewhat more incrementally put into place. But even I've freelanced on many huge events this past year and there were designs where I was sticking flowers into foam that absolutely could have been done in water without the floral foam. So I think getting rid of it is probably the first step, but also not beating yourself up if you've had to fall back on relying for it, but figure out then how to make that commitment stronger for the next one. What can you work out in the next round?
And I just have to be honest. I mean by removing it from my business, I think it's made me a better designer. I've learned to look at the flowers differently. It makes me think about the whole big picture in a much more challenging and I feel creative way.
Yvonne Ashton (01:08:35):
Very good. Thank you TJ.
TJ McGrath (01:08:37):
Yvonne Ashton (01:08:41):
Yes. Holly, how about you? Number one tip.
Holly Chapple (01:08:45):
I would say simply begin. I think being afraid to try will get you nowhere. So it's reduction, reduction, reduction. If that were your focus, that alone would move the needle. And I guess it's very exciting way to design. I know what's best for the flowers. I am obsessed with acquiring anything and everything I can locally. And for me, this is just, it's kind of ... Again, it's just like a ball you put into motion and then it's like, it just keeps going. It just propels itself forward.
I mean, when I think about the first year that we went as close to foam-free as we could, we went back and just counted all the compotes up alone and it was like 900 blocks of foam that we were able to avoid using. When I think about that kind of impact through the years, that's kind of mind blowing.
And I'll tell you something else. On the back end of it, of cleaning up an event too, it is infinitely more enjoyable to break down and strike an event where you do not have that stuff to put away. There is nothing like ripping an arrangement apart and that crap flying into your face or even pulling it down. It's a shelf in a box and you pull it down and the dust goes in your face. That's not okay. It really just having less of it in my life has made me so, so happy. Knowing that I'm doing a better job, but also that it's better for my customer, better for my farm, and better for me and all of my designers.
Yvonne Ashton (01:10:53):
Thank you, Holly. Debra, what is your number one tip for our listeners and watchers?
Debra Prinzing (01:10:59):
My number one tip is to grow flowers, grow your own. Even if you're just growing one patch of sunflowers or one David Austin Rose. As a florist, when you have that experience with flowers and just their life cycle and their needs and the beauty in your own space, you'll see how much that enhances your own design aesthetic. And also, you'll walk a little bit in the shoes of a grower and understand how much work it is, the value of flowers. It's good for all your senses and all your emotional and mental health, but it's also going to change your aesthetic.
Yvonne Ashton (01:11:41):
Love it. Grow flowers, guys. Sue, how about you? Number one tip?
Sue Mcleary (01:11:46):
Yeah. I'd go back to my little mantra that I have for myself, reusable or compostable. I encourage people to invest in pieces they can use again and again. For instance, bases that are deep enough to hold a branch armature instead of really shallow things that require a single use armature. And think about getting some things fabricated, some arch structures that you can use for your entire lifetime as a florist and you can rent out to your flower friends.
This can feel overwhelming, but if you just keep a few key points in mind, is this product reusable? Is this good quality? Can I use this for my whole career? I think that keeps us from buying the single use convenience products.
Yvonne Ashton (01:12:37):
That's a good point. Very good. Thank you. David, number one tip.
Patrick Dahlson (01:12:41):
You're muted. You're muted.
David Dahlson (01:12:48):
Sorry about that. I'm going to echo something Susan said right at the beginning of this broadcast, and that is you've got to take time out to study. And I share this with you. The word liberty comes from the Latin word libertas which root is in liber, which means book. And libertas was a Roman word they used to denote the free time, the luxury time you could spend to reading books and educating yourself.
And I would say at this time, the number one step is to take time out, educate yourself, whether it's through learning or perhaps trying to do designs without the accompaniments of foam and so forth. And just taking that time. And I guess that it's a form of liberty, but is also a form of mindfulness, which is very important in this incredibly confusing and complex topic.
Yvonne Ashton (01:13:53):
Thank you, David. And Patrick, going to have you close it down.
Patrick Dahlson (01:13:59):
All right. Well, I'll close it down by A) thanking you for hosting this and really putting on a great panel and thanking the panelists for joining us. It was phenomenal. I don't have much more in the tips to add. I will say that TJ's little bits is just keep little bits in your mind. What would TJ do? That's a thought to you guys now and then.
We could all quit buying plastic bottles from time to time. The convenience of not having your own water bottles, they're all things non-floral, but it all adds up wherever in your life you're doing this.
And I would say what Debra just said really has been meaningful to me to see. We try to get our Mayesh employees out to visit sometimes other countries where we're producing and give them that perk to visit, but also to go to flower farms where we are. And whenever that education, and I think that's what Debra's saying, grow something. I don't care if it's a garden rose and cutting in, see how hard it is, learn about it or understand what the industry is up against and how ... Value your supplier, whether it be a small local or what it went into the steps that go into producing these flowers. I think it'll get you thinking about, as Debra said, how better to be a part of this sustainable movement.
But education, as David said, education, education, education. We bring our people out. They learn and they can now share with their clients what they learned about what happens at a flower farm. And it's just that knowledge is powerful. And the more our industry knows about what we're all about and up against and what our challenges are, the better we are ... When we roll together, we're stronger.
So anyways, glad to be a part of this movement and being involved with it and our company being involved with it. So thank you all.
Yvonne Ashton (01:16:08):
Absolutely. Thank you, Patrick. And thank you guys.
Patrick Dahlson (01:16:13):
And wait a minute. And thank you all attendees.
Yvonne Ashton (01:16:15):
Yes. Thank you guys. This is amazing. Love all of the engagement that you guys have had. So many amazing questions. Love the panelists. Thank you guys so, so much for spending almost an hour and 20 minutes with me and the rest of our community. And that's a wrap on today's Mornings with Mayesh Sustainable Floristry.
I definitely feel like we, hopefully we'll have a part two on this. And like I said, we'll definitely get to those questions that you guys all sent in. Love it, love it, love it.
And if you want to get more of David and I, make sure you join us tomorrow because yes, tomorrow at 11:00 AM Eastern again for another episode. David's going to be back sharing with us a spectacular Japanese flower showcase. So you don't want to miss it. And I will see you all soon. Thank you everyone.
Patrick Dahlson (01:17:02):
Hey everyone. Lastly, lastly, [inaudible 01:17:04] there's definitely some biodegradable foam people are working on, pollution's there, many-
Yvonne Ashton (01:17:12):
Patrick Dahlson (01:17:12):
I'm aware of some-
Yvonne Ashton (01:17:12):
Someone actually asked ... Yeah, someone asked a question about that, and I think that's something that we definitely need to get to in our round two.
Patrick Dahlson (01:17:20):
Yvonne Ashton (01:17:20):
Absolutely. There's so many people doing amazing things in our industry, and we want to talk about that and we definitely will very, very soon. So thank you. All right. Take care everyone.
Patrick Dahlson (01:17:32):
Thank you all.
Debra Prinzing (01:17:32):
Patrick Dahlson (01:17:32):
Sue Mcleary (01:17:32):