From Vacant Lot to Blooming Plot
Burghblooms was born as an idea after going to a local u-pick farm and cutting flowers for my daughter's first birthday party. The joy of cutting and arranging those flowers inspired me to seek a more consistent relationship with growing and cutting flowers in my daily life.
Our micro urban flower farm is proudly located in the neighborhood of Larimer in Pittsburgh, PA.
TRANSFORMATION: We began the process of transforming a vacant lot into a flower farm in 2020. We are dedicated to employing practices inspired by organic farming, using no herbicides or pesticides. When we started, the lot was overgrown with invasive plants. Aggressive and invasive plants are detrimental to the natural balance of a system because as they take over, they claim the resources of that area, out-competing a diversity of living things for sunlight, water, and nutrients. This results in a monoculture of the invasive plant that does not support the rich complexity of relationships necessary for a robust ecosystem. Through sheet mulching and manually removing invasive and unwanted plants, we are slowly converting the space from an overgrown eyesore to an oasis for pollinators, birds, and people.
STRENGTHENING CONNECTION - In addition to adding more flower beds for commercial annual flower production, we are also incorporating perennials, native plants, and flowering and fruiting trees and bushes into the design of the farm. Our goal in doing this is to use these plants in our unique flower arrangements and to also support a healthy ecosystem for wildlife and humans. Farming in an urban setting means we are in the middle of a vibrant neighborhood. It's a special treat to be outside working in the lot and have neighbors come over to say hi and offer words of encouragement or advice. That is why community connection is a big part of our plans for Burghblooms. We strongly believe that connection with nature and with the magic of growing fruits, vegetables, and flowers is for everyone, not just reserved for those with wide expanses of land or means and privilege to experience it. We have a lot of plans in the works to connect the regenerative and energizing properties of nature and growing flowers with more and more neighbors.
FLOWERS AND SOCIAL JUSTICE - We feel that it’s important to explicitly acknowledge that there are many injustices related to racism and gentrification in housing, land ownership, agriculture, and gardening. Larimer is a predominately Black neighborhood, and our family is white. Pittsburgh is a very segregated city, often ranking at the top of “Most Livable City” lists, while at the same time being one of the worst cities for quality of life for Black people, and especially for Black women. Our family benefits from generations of systemic racism that, among many things, has excluded Black people from home and land ownership. We also acknowledge that Burghblooms is located on the traditional homelands of the Osage (Wazhazhe) who were forced westward to present-day Oklahoma and Missouri. Through Burghblooms, we hope to continue connecting with our neighbors to get input for how this space can best contribute to the wellbeing of the neighborhood and its residents. We also donate a portion of our monthly profit to Pittsburgh organizations that support efforts to improve the lives of Black people and people of color in the area. We believe that every person has the responsibility to contribute to the betterment of the world, and we see Burghblooms as place where we can learn about the intersection of flowers and social justice. Though still very much a work in progress, Burghblooms has big plans! We appreciate your support as we continue to grow.
RESPONSIBILITY TO THE LAND RESPONSIBILITY TO THE COMMUNITY
My family and I live in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Larimer, a community that consists of over 40% vacant property, having been disinvested in by the city for many decades. Our home is bordered by vacant lots, and a priority for us is to be responsible stewards of this land in order to positively impact our community. Burghblooms is the result of two desires: to make flowers a daily part of life, and to contribute to the betterment of our neighborhood. It is a passion project, an adventure, and a blessing to transform a vacant lot into a productive urban flower farm.