We had the good fortune of connecting with Christina Blodgett and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Christina, how do you define success?
I will preface my answer by stating that I am a big list person. I have notebooks on notebooks of my random lists. These range from the classic “To-Do” all the way to my lifelong goals. Success, for me, is creating a list of goals then achieving those goals by exhibiting self discipline, consistency in your hustle, and showing up for yourself. Most important of those is showing up for yourself. If you do not show up for yourself first, you will not be as disciplined or consistent.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am The Sustainable Florist in Phoenix. I specialize in local blooms and sustainable designs! After working in flowers for a couple years, I realized the need for more sustainable florist practices. Commercial floristry is full of imported blooms pumped with preservative chemicals, a large carbon footprint, tons of floral foam based designs, and questionable ethics across the supply chain. I knew that I didn’t want to contribute to those issues. I also knew I couldn’t be fully on the opposite end of the spectrum where everything is locally grown/ foraged for. I am trying to be right in the middle of those two worlds! I want to create beautiful floral designs that you really can feel good about, educate on the issues with imported blooms, and connect you to your local flower farmers!

The coolest aspect of my business, in my opinion, is connecting with the flower farmer! How awesome would it be to order anniversary flowers from the person who grew them for your wedding? How awesome would it be to grow your own bouquet garden, or a mini wedding garden afterwards? I absolutely adore everyone who grows in Arizona, and I want to uplift their work! Have you tried to grow anything in the desert? It’s tough!! However, with their knowledge and expertise to help you along the way, anyone can grow! Each farmer has their own services where you can continue to support them even after your wedding. I love being part of this community, and want to bring awareness to more people.

I have come to learn that the AZ flower season is not during the bulk of the wedding season. I had to shift my mindset to view my business through lenses of sustainability. Whenever I cannot source local blooms, I source from my closest Wholesale. My compromise is only buying blooms that will have the lowest carbon footprint. From October – February I import blooms grown in California, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, and Florida. I am able to source some local foliage at this time, but still it is very scarce. I am always transparent with my clients about where their blooms are coming from!

To stay on my eco-friendly path, I cut out all single-use plastics from my business. Everything is recyclable, compostable, or able to be repurposed. Since the 1960’s, florists have heavily relied on floral foam to create their designs. It’s a super convenient mechanic to have. However, we now know it is a microplastic made from petrochemicals and formaldehyde. Plus, there is no way to dispose of floral foam without harming the environment! Knowing these two facts does not lead me to purchase floral foam for my business. We did without just fine until the 1960’s. It’s time to take it back old school! This is your sign to always request foam free floral designs from your florist! I am a firm believer that small impacts lead to bigger, meaningful changes.

Being a foam free florist allows me be creative all the way through the design process! I have to figure out which pre-1960s floral mechanic is best for the design, or design a whole new mechanic. A lot of the time I use combinations of chicken wire, sticks, and flower frogs. I love that I am required to be intentional throughout the entire design of a piece. I am already intentional with my bloom selection. It only makes sense to take that same sentiment to the creation of an arrangement or an entire floral installation.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I always take visitors to South Mountain to view the valley from Dobbins Lookout! Arizona is known for its stunning sunsets, so it’s a MUST for any visitor to experience a sunset. This experience is either a first day here or a last day here type of thing. I love the outdoors, so taking time to hike out at Papago, Camelback Mountain, and/or North Mountain are all experiences I enjoy taking friends to do. Arizona sunshine is the best. Getting out and soaking up that vitamin D is essential to a perfect trip!

There’s always a day set aside for a resort day! I love using Resort Pass to purchase day passes to resorts in the valley. After a couple days of hiking, it’s time to chill by the pool or spend time at the spa! Dinner is always at the resort that day.

When it comes to food in the valley, that’s tough. There are too many amazing places to grab a bite to eat or a quick drink. Here’s a quick list of my favorite spots: El Siner Tacos, Dark Hall Coffee, Vovomeena (brunch) , Pop N’ Tea Bar (drinks and snacks), Nami (vegan but even a favorite for non-vegans), Fruitlandia, Chino Bandito, Rice Paper, Belly, Modern Market Eatery, Flower Child, Joyride, Taco Guild, and Ocotillo.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to dedicate my Shoutout to a few AZ flower growers: Stephanie owner of The Potter’s Bench, Anne owner of Anne’s Garden Fresh, Simone and Jenni owners of Flora Curated, and John owner of John’s Plant Adventures!

Each person is someone I have connected with in my flower journey. They have all been incredibly encouraging and supportive of me! Each person has inspired me in one way or another to continue my journey in local cut flowers.

Thank you all for your kindness, willingness to answer all my questions, and being amazing Arizona flower growers!

Website: www.urbandesertflora.com

Instagram: @urbandesertflora

Facebook: @urbandesertflora

Image Credits
Jessica Maddela

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