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Investing my time in the future of our planet

The endless rain in Cornwall this winter (apparently there have only been around 15 dry days since October!) has been a bit of a challenge. The benefits of living in Cornwall usually come into their own during the winter months, when the holiday makers are mainly tucked up elsewhere, and we get our beloved beaches and coast paths to ourselves, for long wintery walks and adventures. The beautiful wildness of Cornwall becomes, we find, more potent in the quieter times.

This year though, I’ve struggled to motivate myself to do anything more than the daily prescribed dog walk. The continuous lashing rain has meant that apart from an occasional coast path stomp, or an ascent or two of Rough Tor, I feel very much like we have been squirreled away indoors, like hibernating field mice, waiting for the warmer weather to swing by and bring us back to life.

There have been benefits to the enforced retreat inside…the kitchen and downstairs loo have had a long awaited spruce up for starters…but more importantly I have had space and time to complete lots and lots of training and development to take my little flowery business to the next level.

In March I have completed two extensive courses, that have been in progress for quite a few months:

The first is the Sustainable Wedding Alliance’s Building a Sustainable Business course . Last May, after meeting Michelle and Em from the Alliance, and being so impressed with what they offered small businesses like mine, I was thrilled to be offered one of their scholarships to complete their course, and become a member. 

It has been a brilliant ten months, and if you’re reading this from the point of view of a wedding business owner, I would urge you to get involved in the Alliance – it is so inspiring to be involved with other businesses striving for a better wedding industry. If you’re reading this from the point of view of planning a wedding, then do have a look at the Alliance’s For Conscious Couples website, which allows you to search for sustainable wedding suppliers for your big day.

Completing the course now allows me to be assessed by the Alliance and hopefully, in the next few weeks, become one of their accredited members. Accreditation, I believe, is a way of demonstrating to my clients that I have made an ongoing commitment to reducing the environmental impact of my business and  that I have put sustainability at the heart of everything I do – I am not just saying that I am a planet positive business – this accreditation will mean that external experts have confirmed my green credentials, which I think is of real benefit to clients, when choosing their wedding day suppliers.

I have also recently become a member florist of the Sustainable Floristry Network, in which all members have to complete an in depth Foundation in Sustainable Floristry course in order to join. The course is designed to reset ideas around flowers and floral design, enabling florists to become true ambassadors for nature, contributing to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and helping support emissions targets set by the Paris Agreement.

Rachel Ellis is an SFN Member Florist

Sustainable floristry is about nature-positive floral design, and I am very proud to be a member of this new network –  honouring the network’s pledge of choosing better flowers for my clients, designing out waste from my business and running a business made on good ethical decisions.

And now that the occasional warm day is returning to our beautiful little corner of our planet, it’s time to put all that I have learned into practice, growing my business slowly and steadily, taking my lovely clients on this sustainability journey with me, and surrounding myself by industry experts who are helping me to make the best choices for the future of our planet.