I’m so excited to introduce you to my friend Lindsay today for my Wives who Thrive series! Lindsay and I are in the same Mastermind group and it has been so fun to watch her flower farm business in Michigan grown from last season to this season. What I admire most about Lindsay (although the list is long) is that she strives to approach everything with intentionality. She researches, processes the information, looks at things from multiple angles, relies on the opinions of experts, and then makes the best choices she can whether it’s about her business, her homeschooling, or her life. Lindsay sees others in the world as valuable contributors to our globe and looks for ways to partner in caring for her neighbor and the earth. I love learning from Lindsay and alongside her. If you’re in the Michigan area or know someone who is I hope you’ll consider supporting this awesome small business!
Meet Lindsay Hufford
Lindsay Hufford is a small-scale flower farmer, home educator, chicken chaser, kitchen dancer, and mediocre knitter. Her favorite things include spending time with her family, exploring the natural world, reading, eating spicy food, and singing loudly in the car (to the embarrassment of her children). Lindsay believes sharing our stories will change the world. She writes about farming, homeschooling, faith, mental health, sobriety, and living an unconventional life. You can follow her adventures at www.kinshipflowerfarm.com.
Tell me about your career
I am a flower farmer and floral designer. I grow seasonal, specialty cut flowers for my local area. I offer a flower subscription program to the public that provides monthly and biweekly bouquets in the summer months. I also design flowers for weddings and other events.
Just like other farming work, flower farming is physically demanding. It’s common to see flower farmers holding armfuls of blooms on Instagram, but so much unglamorous work goes on behind the scenes. I am busy tending flowers from February until November. Last year, I spent several days out in the frost pulling up dahlia tubers and planting tulip bulbs. Winter is a little quieter, but beginning in January I start thousands of seeds in my basement.
Our farm is very small; I grow on less than 1/4 acre and I am the only employee. This can make for some long days in the busiest times of the year during planting and preparing the garden for winter. In the late spring months, I am often out in my fields 8 or more hours per day preparing the soil, weeding, setting up irrigation, and planting seedlings. It’s challenging, but I love being outside and watching tiny seedlings grow into towering plants full of blooms. All the hard work pays off when I get to design with beautiful and unique flowers. Whether I am handing a bride her bouquet or delivering a simple arrangement to a seasonal subscriber, I am filled with gratitude that my job brings more beauty into the world.
What part of your career are you most passionate about and why?
Flowers connect us. They are a way of showing care for others in our most joyous and most difficult moments. Weddings, funerals, graduations, illness, new births, and more are all occasions in which people give flowers as a celebration or a comfort. In a world that seems increasing concerned with productivity and efficiency, growing flowers seems like an act of resistance. Beauty is so important to our lives. When I see all the varieties and colors in the floral world, I know God designed us to desire beauty.
I get to be a bringer of beauty, joy, and connection to people’s lives. It’s truly sacred work. I remember doing my first arrangement for a funeral. My friend’s grandfather had passed and she asked me to create an arrangement for the services. Knowing these flowers would bring some beauty into a very hard time brought up lots of emotions for me. Up to that point, I just thought I provided people with flowers. Now I see it as so much more.
Why did you choose your niche?
I didn’t set out to be a flower farmer. My degrees are in education, but I stepped out of the work force 11 years ago to raise our children. My maternal grandparents were farmers, and they instilled a love of farming in me. Our family had been growing vegetables on a small scale for several years which gave me a solid foundation in responsible agriculture processes. We decided to add a few rows of annual flowers to our garden a few years ago to help attract pollinators. Soon we were swimming in flowers, and I started to share bouquets with friends. Growing flowers brought me so much joy that we decided to switch over the growing mostly flowers and selling them to our local community. Flower farming allows me to use my gifts of creativity and problem solving while working in nature.
Is there a non-profit/ministry aspect of your business?
I’m proud to be an ambassador in the Growing Kindness Project this year. The Growing Kindness Project was started by Deanna Kitchen of Twig & Vine Farm in Washington. The mission of Growing Kindness is to empower, educate, and encourage individuals to cultivate kindness and connection in their communities by growing and giving flowers. As an ambassador, I will be giving away a portion of the flowers I grow this year and giving away dahila tubers to encourage others to grow flowers to give away as an act of kindness.
I also strive to provide funeral flowers to families at cost. Bereavement is such a challenging period of time and financial constraints can be an additional burden. By providing funeral flowers at my cost of supplies with no fees for design lessens that burden.
When you dreamed of the ideal career where your strengths, passions, gifts, and talents would connect did you think you would be doing what you are doing? How are things the same/different?
I never imagined I would be doing this work! I had planned to re-enter academic life after the birth of our second child. Some complications after birth for our daughter changed our plans. Soon after that, we decided our family would give homeschooling a try, and we haven’t looked back. Homeschooling has been a tremendous joy for our family, but it greatly limited my ability to work a typical nine to five job. I value work and tried a few different work from home options that weren’t quite the right fit. Flower farming is seasonal and I tend to be busiest in the summer when our homeschooling is slower. I love getting to flex my creative muscles with each bouquet I make. Time in nature is crucial for me and I am so thankful my job forces me to get outside in all weather. While I never dreamed I would be a flower farmer, I am so glad God opened this door.
What is your best advice for someone wanting to pursue a career in your field?
Buy some seeds and start! You don’t have to break the bank to get started in flower farming. American grown flowers are seeing a resurgence in popularity (most flowers you get from the florist are still grown overseas) and locally grown flowers leave a smaller carbon footprint. Annual flower seeds are very inexpensive. If you have a small area of yard, seeds, and a good work ethic, you can have a small business that brings beauty and joy into people’s lives.
Do you have any tips to share about balancing work and the rest of life?
Set clear boundaries from the start. I grow without season extension equipment (i.e. greenhouses) so naturally after our first frost my flower season is over. When working from home, it’s important to set your own hours if you can and stick by them. I tend to work for a few hours in the morning and a few more in the evening. I work around our homeschool schedule because my role as teacher is more important than my role as farmer. Without these strict boundaries in place, there is the possibility for lots of frustration and disappointment for myself, my family, and my customers. As Brene Brown says, “clear is kind.” Set clear, firm boundaries and everything will run a little bit smoother.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Stay curious. If I never would have thought about adding some flowers to our veggie garden, I wouldn’t have this career today. Be open to what God has for you and embrace new adventures with wonder and joy.
Stay in Touch with Lindsay
Facebook Kinship Flower Farm
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