At the Pace of the Bloom
Over the last few years, there has been a growing tendency for residents of cities to move to smaller towns and rural areas in their province, searching for a more affordable place to live, and, for some, to remove themselves from the dictated structures that the urban/modern life demands and pursue alternative lifestyles. Curiously, while cities like Toronto are losing more than 140,000 people to other parts of the province, the number of agriculture, food and rural farms has also been decreasing. But there is a small community of flower farmers that seems to be growing, taking advantage of their own roots or using this path as an opportunity to make a living and find a better balance in life. This body of work is the result of several trips to document flower farmers around different locations of Southern Ontario.
Examining the fascinating idea of an alternative lifestyle – the independence, the rawness, the beauty of nature – this work explores the land flower growers connect to and cultivate, and the effect nature has on their process. While meeting with them, I was particularly drawn to how each one of them came from a different background, yet had similar experiences in their relationship to prior careers, schooling or big cities. Some of them had become new farmers recently while others have come back to their roots, leaving a job in the city and going back to a family business that needed to be adapted to a new era. Still others have found this path from a related passion.
At the Pace of the Bloom chronicles the slow pace of their current lives and the open space where they spend their days, while they understand themselves and keep on growing a connection to the land.
"I was hungry for fresh air and dirt after a life in front of a screen. I knew when I started I was desperate to spend time outdoors. Now, being outdoors, in the best and worst of weather and seasons, is my greatest and most precious joy."
Jessica Gale. Flamborough, ON
* This work would not have been possible without the support from Natasa Kajganic, Kendra Jackson, farms and their teams including Sweet Gale, Floralora, Dahlia May and Graeme Foers.