It was great to have an opportunity to reconnect with Tara and learn about what she’s been up to since we visited her last November. It was no surprise to discover that Tara is up to her ears in beautiful blooms, selling them at farmer’s markets and fulfilling custom orders for regular clients who love her organic approach.
As these things go with magazines, my interview with Tara was completely rewritten into a narrative format. You can see the published piece it above, or on page 18 of the June 2012issue, on newsstands now.
ONE TO WATCH
Flower Patch Politics
2009年，洛杉矶官员关门 Tara Kolla’s 后院花卉农场，援引1940年代的卡车园艺法令，该法令将本地农作物的场外销售限制为蔬菜， not blooms, she joined forces with fellow urban farmers to fight back. Passionate about sweet peas and the many other flowers she grows, Tara and her supporters successfully changed the city’s policy –and now the spunky owner of Silver Lake Farms has returned to the Hollywood Farmers’Market where you can find her every Sunday selling bountiful, organic and seasonal bouquets. Her advice for other urban flower farmers:
Some customers think I’m new because I’ve just returned to the market. Those aware of my struggle are delighted for me. It makes them feel good that L.A.’s politicians used common sense to change an antiquated law. Flower fans are now begging me to come to Santa Monica Farmers’Market on Wednesdays–I hope that happens soon.
My issue was not about growing flowers, but about being prevented from selling them off-site! If someone’s facing similar opposition, I suggest creating a support group–we called ours Urban Farming Advocates. Request a meeting with local officials and be prepared with evidence as to why urban farming is advantageous for the community and why cities should support and encourage urban farmers.
Eventually, but it is all dependent on land, time and money. I never thought I’d get rich doing this and I continue to run other facets of my gardening business to support myself, including a CSA and designing organic vegetable gardens.
We need backyard beekeeping to be legalized—for ensuring that food crops have pollinators and for producing organic honey. We also need home-based farm stands, meaning you could sit outside your house at a table and chair and sell your garden’s extra oranges or avocados to passersby. Kids and their lemonade stands are legal, but a farm stand with flowers, fruits or vegetables is not.
No, I think L.A. does care, but it needs to get some codes sorted out. For example, I also grow micro greens. I can sell them to chefs who shop at the farmers’ market, but I can’t go direct to restaurants because then the health department has to get involved. This is new ground and we still have some archaic laws that don’t make sense for today.
In terms of a cut flower, I think it’s cotton. I first saw cotton in the flower markets in Paris. It’s not just white; you can find cotton in sea mist green or light tan–and they look great in mixed bouquets.