Not a stone’s throw from bustling downtown Columbus there lies a lush and verdant patch of pastoral idyll, where flowers bloom in rainbowed rows and spotted fawns leap about capriciously. Bluebirds sing merrily while baby bunnies roll around in puddles of honey, giggling with delight. Welcome to Sunny Meadows Flower Farm!
Sunny Meadows is an “all natural” farm specializing in flowers and dabbling in some foods—“all natural” because while they are not certified organic, they grow using organic practices. Located just outside of Columbus, a town loaded with locavores, they provide organically-grown seasonal flowers for events, especially weddings. Why organic flowers? As it turns out, “many of the flowers sold by florists and supermarket floral departments have been imported from countries where the pesticide regulations are not as stringent as they are in the United States and Canada. As a result, many imported cut flowers have been sprayed with toxic chemicals to keep them cosmetically perfect, and those chemical residues are still on the flowers when they reach this country” (from The Flower Farmer: An Organic Grower’s Guide to Raising and Selling Cut Flowers by Lynn Byczynski).
Not only is your mother’s day present loaded with potentially dangerous chemicals, they are often grown in less fortunate places where workers are paid unfairly and conditions are poor. Sunny Meadows hopes to educate the public, generally wise about organic and locally-grown produce, on the importance of organic and locally-grown flowers.
Neither Steve nor Gretel Adams, the owners and operators of Sunny Meadows, grew up on a farm. For Steve, gardening was a labor of love he only found when moving into his own place for the first time. Gretel was fortunate enough recently to inherit a 10 acre lot in Columbus, and they’ve since filled it with ethically-grown flowers, vegetables, and fruits. Gretel has even taken up soap-making using the ingredients they grow at Sunny Meadows. Both in their late 20’s, they are part of a burgeoning movement of young people concerned with local affairs, seeking to improve their community rather than be content to depend on foreign corporate conglomerates who standardize and commodify everything they can, whose bottom line is profit, and who suck communities dry of variety, quality, and anything resembling a local economy. Just the fact that small, organic farms can turn a profit and sustain themselves shows that there is a sizable market for high quality goods that don’t taste like that hydroponic greenhouse shit from the Sysco truck.
This is a beautiful thing. I have a dream; what if we lived in a world who didn’t act as if Walmart and Target were their umbilical cord? What if food was actually grown outside? In dirt? What if it actually tasted good, and was healthy, and was grown nearby? And was fresh, and only recently harvested? What if our produce wasn’t covered in poisonous chemicals? Why are these novel concepts?
Story and Photos By: Ben Britz