When intrepid urban gardeners Mimo Davis and Miranda Duschack walked the green carpet into Walter Knoll Florists January 29, friends and customers from Tower Grove Farmers Market were on hand to greet them. The two had posted an invitation on Facebook to preview a film trailer for “Bloomtown,” a reality web series starring St. Louis’ horticulture industry.
“Bloomtown” will be a character-driven series that relies on real-life stories from quirky, funny and passionate people like Davis and Duschack, who grow flowers in their urban farm in Dutchtown, Urban Buds City Grown Flowers. In addition to growers, the series will also feature home gardeners, florists, designers and supply chain folks.
“They filmed us three or four times over the season,” Duschack says. “They even flew a small drone over the farm to get those great aerial shots. A lot of farmer-florists style themselves like Martha Stewart, but we show the dirt in the growing, in the fields, with the dogs and the butterflies.”
The series is the brainchild of executive producers Stephanie Winslow and Erik Light. Winslow is the owner and president of FlopaK, a floral packaging business in St. Louis. Light successfully produced the web series “Thrift Shop Divas,” which garnered a large audience of bargain shoppers, DIY enthusiasts and people who love a story well-told.
Winslow and Light officially launched a Kickstarter campaign during the trailer preview party to fund three eight- to ten-minute episodes. As of February 2, they’ve convinced 16 people to contribute $1,920 toward their $45,000 goal. The campaign will end February 28.
The two hope to ignite a green movement through greater understanding of how flowers and plants enrich lives. On their Kickstarter page they write, “We're passionate about this project because we believe it will soothe souls, spark laughter, inspire people to beautify their homes and communities and reach those who may never have touched a flower or plant in their lives.” The four-minute trailer does a great job of storytelling with humor, grace and so many beautiful shots of flowers you can almost smell them.
The growers featured in the trailer, Davis and Duschack, have been bringing flowers to the Tower Grove Farmers Market for two full seasons. Katrin, one of their customers, holds a small bouquet of flowers in the film. She speaks to the camera in lightly accented English: “When I get up in the morning and drink my coffee it wouldn’t be the same if there weren’t flowers on my table.”
“Katrin is European,” Duschack says. “Flowers are a part of her everyday life.”
At the preview party, producer Winslow mentioned that flowers and plants are more ingrained in cultures overseas, whereas in the United States, flowers are often more of a special occasion gesture.
On Kickstarter, she notes “Europeans buy, grow, give and enjoy plants and flowers on a daily basis. As our country is beginning to trend towards organic, eco-friendly, home-grown options, [we] believes the timing is right for an online community like Bloomtown where people from every corner of society can access the power of the flower.”
Davis and Duschack have harnessed the power of flowers in their patch of the city. Their inclusion in the Bloomtown project caps a year of quiet triumphs for the urban farmers, who transformed vacant land in Dutchtown into an urban oasis. They received a specialty crop block grant from the Missouri Department of Agriculture to purchase and construct a high tunnel to extend their growing season.
They expanded their crops to include 70 varieties of flowers, adding freesia, tulips and Star of Bethlehem and more. The greenhouse now has consistent heat from natural gas and specialty heaters, boosting their production capabilities. The trailer highlights their connection to the earth and to their work and home communities.
Other professionals featured in the film include Walter Knoll florists, garden designers, home gardening enthusiasts and support people like Big Ed, the floral delivery person whose smile lights up the screen. “If you like what you do, you’ll never have a bad day,” he says in the short movie. “You might have bad moments in a day but you’ll never have a bad day.”
Although the film is just four minutes and three seconds long, there’s a depth to it, as well as quiet humor and memorable moments, like when garden designer Mary Jo says, “There’s a lot of angst in the world, but there’s truth in the dirt.”
Producer Erik light found truth and humor in the Bloomtown participants. He writes in his Kickstarter notes, “As you might imagine after seeing the trailer, this is not your typical ‘How to’ Gardening series. Bloomtown is character-driven because let's face it, you won't be interested in the HOW if you're not interested in the WHO. We've found some seriously funny and fascinating people working in this industry and we can't wait to introduce you to them.”
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