It’s been both heartbreaking and heartening to watch what’s going on in the world today. For every bit of devastating news about the coronavirus pandemic, acts of human kindness and generosity give me new energy.
One of the harder hit industries is our wholesale ornamental plant and flower nurseries in San Diego County. My colleagues at Olive Hill Greenhouses, Leucadia Nursery, and FlorAbunda Nursery, members of the San Diego County Floral and Plant Association who supply me with the plants for our clients at Good Earth Plant Company have seen their business drop, leaving them with greenhouses full of plants with a limited shelf life. Because of their business cycle growing plants scheduled to bloom at specific times, this crop would be dumped to make room for the next crop. It’s like trying to sell a poinsettia in January. No one is all that interested. SDCFPA started the #StayPlanted program to bring awareness to their industry’s situation.
My colleague Jan Goodman at the plantscaping company Cityscapes in Boston was scheduled to provide flowers for this year’s Boston Marathon, but it ended up cancelled. She solved her problem by giving away flowers to healthcare workers instead of tossing them. She calls her effort #GiveALittlePlant.
Light bulb moment! Good Earth Plant Company already did plant giveaways to nonprofits with our “Plants With Purpose” program to organizations like the Alpha Project, St. Madeleine’s, Habitat for Humanity and the UCSD Volunteer Doulas. Could we make it work on a larger scale?
It turns out – we could!
Olive Hill, Leucadia, and FlorAbunda were all in on the idea. Cue the Good Earth Plant Company fleet of trucks to their North County locations for pickup. We started making calls to organizations where our frontline healthcare heroes are fighting the good fight. Would they like us to bring plants to distribute as a small thank you, while helping us keep thousands of pounds of plants out of our landfills?
Our friends at the UCSD Doula program connected us with their Environmental Services workers at UCSD Medical Center, and nursing staff at Thornton Hospital. We also visited multiple Alpha Project homeless facilities, and the Kaiser Permanente location in Bonita.
On Wednesday, we worked with Barry Jantz, CEO of Grossmont Healthcare Foundation, and Sharp Grossmont Hospital to deliver 550 beautiful blooming bromeliads and kalanchoes to hundreds of their frontline healthcare heroes. There have been many gestures of thanks for their lifesaving work.
This time, Good Earth Plant Company and our wholesale nurseries delivered all the benefits of Biophilia to those who need and deserve it the most. We love the enthusiastic reaction and the thankful smiles on tired faces. A few people said they had never owned a plant before! Many gave their plants names including Lily, Lola, Petunia, Pia, Steve, George, and – Bro.
We have also delivered hydrangeas and some ferns. All are in the “bulletproof” indoor plant category, so our new plant parents need to give them a minimum of TLC to keep their plants healthy. In return, their plants will put healthy oxygen and humidity into their indoor air, while scrubbing it of carbon dioxide and unhealthy toxins from plastics and synthetic materials.
So far in our first week, we have delivered and donated more than $35,000 worth of plants and prevented the negative environmental impact from dumping them. We intend to keep going until we have rescued and re-homed as many spring season plants as possible.
My Plantscaping and plant stylist colleagues across the U.S. are getting on board in their cities. We are calling it the #StayPlanted movement. We are committed to keeping people healthy in our own way, and using the opportunity to say thank you to our frontline workers in this fight. At the same time, I get to spread the word about the many benefits of plants and their ability to improve our physical, mental, and emotional health. Every little bit helps right now. And you don’t have to worry about social distancing with your plants!
Good Earth Plant Company continues to serve our clients on a limited basis to protect their investment, keeping their indoor and outdoor plants healthy while waiting for the return of their “normal” business. We only provide service where it is safe; follow a specific protocol including masks, gloves, frequent handwashing, and social distancing. We are incredibly grateful to keep growing!
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” — Rachel Carson