Community Supported Flower Subscriptions (CSF) is a subscription service that has quickly taken off throughout North America and is widely available to anyone who wants to experience and support the local flower industry!
How It Works
A CSF subscription works on a pre-sale model. By signing up at the beginning of the growing season and paying in advance, you’re supporting local businesses and helping mitigate the farmer’s costs of seeds, supplies and labor needed to grow flowers in the spring.
You are essentially buying shares in the continued viability of the farm, returned to you in the form of a beautiful bounty of local seasonal blooms.
Prices and how the share program works can vary from farm to farm, but you will typically receive seasonal bouquets throughout the growing season, from May to October. Some farms might even supply spring flowers such as daffodils or tulips earlier in the season.
Your bouquet may contain seasonal late spring and early summer favourites of lupins or foxgloves in May and June.
In July and August, sunflowers, rudbeckia and hydrangea may find their way into your home. Asters and cut chrysanthemums may arrive in September and October.
It’s no secret that fresh-cut bouquets from the florist are expensive – sometimes costing over $60 for a good-sized display. Much of the cost is to offset the shipping costs the florist has paid to import the blooms. Even grocery store bunches can be less than thrifty, often between $12-$20.
The initial output to subscribe to a CSF service may seem steep, but the cost isn’t so bad if you factor in the number of bouquets you get monthly or weekly over a five-to-six-month period.
At River and Sea Farm in Delta, British Columbia, for example, they offer two types of shares. There’s a flexible option for farmer’s markets and online purchases like a gift card you reload anytime, choosing between $200 and $500(CDN).
Alternatively, you can choose later season blooms from August to late September for $195 (CDN).
At Au Beau Pré farm in Quebec, a full season subscription is $260 (CDN), with pick-up locations at local businesses throughout Saint-Ancet or from the farm gate.
Some programs will allow you to pay by month or week, making it easier on the pocketbook.
Finding Local Flower Farms
Of course, it all starts with finding local flower farms. Slowflowers.com offers a list of flower farms in Canada and the United States with contact links. Stems Flower Farm (stemsflowerfarm.ca) also provides a short list of flower farms throughout Canada.
CSFs help local flower farmers stay in business and contribute to a viable local floral industry. Local flower fields attract pollinators, birds, insects, and other wildlife, beneficial to the area’s biodiversity.
On top of all that, you get to enjoy the intoxicating smell of fresh lilies or the sweet, spicy aroma of narcissus and other blooms regularly throughout the growing season.