Anyone who has picked flowers straight from their garden knows the difference between freshly grown flowers and grocery store-bought flowers. They look, smell, and feel more natural and beautiful - because they are! Unfortunately, not all of us have access to the space or time to grow our own flowers, and are left with limited options. Joan Jach is working to change that, and is dedicated to providing her community with locally, sustainably, and freshly grown flowers through her flower farming business, Old Town Flowers.
Nestled into a quiet neighborhood near downtown Champaign, Joan grows her flowers in a small plot of land behind her family’s home, along with a larger plot of borrowed land nearby. Along with endless varieties of flowers, she also has several backyard chickens and a honey bee hive, and makes a variety of home remedies such as balms and tinctures. Joan sells her products at local farmer’s markets, on her website, and does flower arrangements for events.
Joan has a background in geology, with a BS in Geology from Illinois State University as well as an MS in Geology and an MAT from Iowa State University. Teaching is a huge part of Joan's passion for gardening, and her future plans include hosting camps for kids in her garden to teach about sustainability, composting, growing, and preparing food.
As I wandered through the colorful rows I was transfixed by the amount of sheer diversity that I saw amongst her flowers - there were so many different shapes, sizes, smells, and colors! I could tell from the way she talked about each variety how passionate she was for these little flowers, and it is wonderful to me that she can share that passion with her community.
Joan is also a strong advocate for locally and sustainably grown flowers. She explains that it is more than flowers simply being fresher or more beautiful - many store-bought flowers are grown in South America or other countries, and are preserved with many different chemicals in order to make the trip to the states. Furthermore, the working conditions for these flower farmers are far less than ideal, many of them being women and children. Joan strives to educate her surrounding community on the benefits of buying and supporting local, freshly grown flowers.
Among the many bustling flower varieties, bees, chickens, and the like, Joan’s luscious garden is also home to a peach tree and raspberry bush, and she continues to grow a few varieties of herbs and veggies for her family.
Thanks for having me out, Joan, and for sharing your Modern Prairie Woman story!