Cover photo by Zoe Schaeffer on Unsplash
As the weather cools down and the colourful leaves of fall start to drop, it is hard not to think about the long, grey winter days ahead. Farmers use these colder months as a time to reflect on the past season and plan out their crops for the upcoming spring. For those who are not farmers, you can still use this time to reflect on the past and perhaps plan out how you will support local agriculture, and Ontario’s farmland, in the new year.
If you have not visited a local flower farm in Ontario before, this would be a great endeavour to plan out! Not only are fields of flowers a delight to see and the perfect backdrop for a photograph, but they provide an aromatic experience that will not be forgotten. Paying a visit to a local flower farm is also a great way to see yet another commodity that Ontario’s farmland is capable of producing! You will also be able to gain a sense of appreciation for different varieties of flowers, how they are grown and where exactly they come from.
Flowers also play an important role in ecosystems as they attract pollinators, provide natural medicines, and make our world a much brighter place! Some flowers, such as Lupines work as nitrogen fixers1 and some, such as Sunflowers, use phytoremediation to clean our soil, water, and air2. These valuable ecosystem services benefit the surrounding landscape, and are a great example of how farmland and agriculture can work for the benefit of our environment.
Many flower farms offer farm tours, and some offer a “U-pick” opportunity in which you can stroll through a few acres of gardens, cut your own flowers, and build your own bouquet. Others offer workshops including how to make tea blends and tinctures, how to distill plants to extract essential oils, or how to put together a seasonal wreathe. Next year, consider including local flowers in your plan for supporting Ontario’s farmland!
To help you locate what flower farms are near you, check out this awesome map.