As the Twin Cities first exclusively local and chemical-free florist, Foxglove is more than just a flower studio. Owner and founder Christine Hoffman is a slow flowers advocate striving to form a strong community of sustainable flower farmers, small business owners, and folks who care about supporting these mindful endeavors. By providing a local, sustainable option to traditional flowers, putting a premium on collaboration, and reaching out to the community, she hopes to foster change.
Christine is committed to sourcing and using all locally-grown, chemical-free flowers & flora in her St. Paul studio. She is also dedicated to teaching about the importance and beauty of working with seasonal materials, and is at the forefront of the slow flowers movement in the Midwest. We are proud and very honored to partner with Christine and be a Foxglove flowers & flora subscription pick-up location. We talked to Christine to educate ourselves on the slow flower movement and learn more about this incredibly inspiring woman.
r+h: Have you always been in love with flowers?
Christine Hoffman: Yup. I grew up roaming around the woods and gathering treasures, including big handfuls of wildflowers, and I’ve always been a gardener. I also discovered, after starting Foxglove, that my great-grandparents were flower farmers! So, it’s obviously in my genes and surprising to me now that it didn’t develop into a career earlier.
r+h: What made you start Foxglove Market & Studio?
CH: A fateful phone call from a friend and colleague, suggesting I open a store next door to her. I immediately told her she was crazy, and then immediately started planning the layout and inventory in my head. Local flowers were part of that original vision, and eventually won out as the focus of my business. Now it’s all flowers all the time!
r+h: Can you explain the Slow Flower Movement ?
CH: Over 80% of the flowers we buy in the U.S. are grown overseas, and it has been difficult for American flower farms to compete with the low cost of these imported blooms. The Slow Flower movement, like the Slow Food movement, aims to support farmers growing here in the U.S, and encourage consumers to embrace what is seasonal and local. My friend and mentor, Debra Prinzing, summed it up perfectly in her recent “Slow Flower Manifesto”.
r+h: Can you tell us about your community of local growers/farmers ?
CH: Foxglove began with two farmers, both of whom had been growing flowers for a number of years. Eventually, I talked a few new farmers into coming on board, but for the last 4 years, we were still only at about 6 flower farmers in the Twin Cities area. In the past year or so, the local scene has gone bonkers. My new venture this summer-an all-local wholesale flower market-has 19 participating farmers!
r+h: What is your design process?
CH: While my personality is very organized and detail-oriented, my design process has always been very organic, hands-on, and intuitive. I don’t like to do a lot of planning, which may drive a few of my farmers crazy. I’m notoriously bad about ordering ahead of time, and much prefer to see what’s fresh and lovely that day, using that as immediate inspiration.
r+h: Do you have a favorite flower?
CH: Well, one might think it’s the Foxglove…..but, it really depends on the season. Or the year. Or my mood.
r+h: Why chose to partner with the russell+hazel flagship store?
CH: I have been a fan of Russell hazel for many, many years, and the flagship store makes me swoon. The core products from r + h appeal to the organizational nut in me, but the concept and product selection at the flagship store is so modern and right-on. Plus, the staff is so darn nice:)
r+h: How do you hope to impact change with Foxglove Market & Studio?
CH: First and foremost, by providing a sustainable, local alternative to conventional cut flowers. Additionally, building a strong and diverse creative community-through business collaborations, consumer outreach, and farmer support-is essential to creating change. I certainly can’t do this alone, and when people are armed with information and options, it is amazing what can happen.
Click here to learn more and to sign up for Foxglove’s flowers & flora subscription. Flowers & flora can be picked up at our flagship store in the North Loop on Thursdays, beginning May 25th from 12 – 6PM