Laurie Taylor wants to get fresh, locally grown flowers into the coolers of local flower shops and into the bouquets of area weddings and funerals. Siouxland Floral Collective, a flower co-operative she's hoping to get off the ground this growing season, will be her instrument to achieve that end.
The collective will be mutually beneficial to all parties, Taylor said, connecting local flower-sellers with local flower-growers and offering a wider, more resilient and flexible wholesale supply of locally grown flowers for the market than would exist in its absence.
"Siouxland Floral Collective is going to be an organization that will benefit florists and event designers," Taylor said. "By pooling the local flower supply from local flower farmers."
Taylor, a master gardener who operates the Living Treasures Flower Farm about six miles north of Le Mars with partner Ray Zenk, said she came up with the idea about a year ago. Before Taylor began her flower farm in 2019, she spent more than 20 years working in flower shops in Sioux City. "After working at different flower shops, I'm like, 'Wow, wouldn't it be neat to be able to get these flowers locally?'" she said.
Most cut flowers sold in the United States are imported from abroad -- Colombia is a major exporter -- but that state of affairs, Taylor said, is not necessarily the way things have to be. In the first half of the 20th century, cut flowers were normally grown domestically, and it was common for flower shops to grow their own flowers in greenhouses, as Taylor pointed out. Shipping in that era was comparatively primitive and sending flowers thousands of miles would have been highly impractical.
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