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a worthy project

Posted: October 20 2014

Annie's Flower Farm.  Give it a boost! GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

I grew up on a 360 acre farm on the Southern Oregon Coast, a sixth generation Oregon farm girl. As a child, I helped my mother with the garden and the chickens. My mother loved growing flowers.
When I was eight, I started my own small herd of grass fed beef cows with a calf my father gave me to raise. As a teenager I helped my father truck farm lettuce and carrots. I used the money from the cows to travel in Europe and the Middle East for eight months when I was 18.
I worked on a Kibbutz in Israel for three months, a much more diversified farm than the one I had grown up on. Back in Oregon, I worked with a start up workers collective for five years planting trees in forests around the Pacific Northwest. In Alaska where my kids were born, I was partners in a salmon fishing operation. Being entrepreneurial has been a way of life for me, cultivated by my father when he gave me that first calf to raise.
Farming and organic gardening have been a lifelong passion. When my kids and I moved from Oregon to France and then to Maine, I followed the local farming movements. Along the way I took college classes and got my degree in Communication and Public Relations. Over the next fifteen years, I worked with nonprofits.
Today, I am living one of my dreams and working as a flower farmer. My middle name is Anna, so I named the business Annie's Flower Farm.

Business Description
The opportunity to take over an established flower farm presented itself to me two years ago, when I read in the paper that the owners of the one acre u-cut I loved to visit were closing the farm. I knew that many people in the community loved to go there to pick flowers. I emailed the owners and they agreed lease the farm to me. Now they are selling the plants, equipment and infrastructure to me and I am moving the farm four miles west on the same road. The new farm has a beautiful view of the Olympic Mountains and a large white barn; it is quiet and peaceful.
The u-cut flower field operates on an honor system, and people can come to cut flowers when no one is at the farm. I sell flowers to florists, and sell and arrange flowers for weddings and other events, I offer a DIY Flower option for brides, have a weekly Flower CSA, deliver hand made bouquets by order and sell bouquets at local grocery stores. Since the farm is now located on a four acre field, there is room to grow and expand. In the future I would like to sell at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a co-op of Washington and Oregon small flower farmers.
I am proud of the appreciation people have when they come to the farm. Seeing flowers brings back vivid memories of ones grown by people we have loved. Their scents are also evocative for us since scent is processed in the same part of the brain as is our intuition and our feelings. I love seeing women bringing their elderly mothers who are reminded of flowers grown by their own mothers. I am proud of how many bees and birds I feed.
What is the purpose of this loan?
This loan will enable me to purchase the infrastructure, buildings, equipment and plant inventory of the flower farm I have been leasing and move at all four miles west to a four acre parcel I am leasing. It will finance my delivery van in order to free up some working capital. It will enable me to purchase manure, compost and other soils amendments, and rent some tractor time.
The costs are as follows:
16by36 Farmtek hoop house with extras & new plastic $1920
20by20 Farmtek greenhouse with extras and new plastic $1560
10 by 20 foot shade cover $320
Flower delivery van 2000 Mazda MPV $2900
Drip irrigation system, ground cover, composted manure,
plant inventory, tractor time, seeds and soil amendments $3100