Brianne Womack, founder of Fields of Grace Flower Farm, is no stranger to the restorative benefits of spending time in nature. She and her husband started farming flowers last year in an effort to offer visitors a place to go when they needed to just be.
When a friend suggested they take over her farm, Brianne knew it was an opportunity to serve others in an exciting new way that could really make a difference for her family and their community-at-large.
A few geese, pigs, and a zillion flower seeds later, Fields of Grace Flower Farm is up and running. Read on to discover Brianne and her husband's dream for the farm, and how they hope to see it being enjoyed by others for years to come.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Where do you live?
We live about a mile down the road. I know there's a house here, but it's not our home.
How did you come by this farm then? And what made you decide to start a flower farm here?
The lady that was here before us is a sweet, sweet friend of mine. When she decided she was leaving and wanted us to take over the farm, she knew she wanted to leave some of her animals here.
My friend knew that it was my dream to have a farm someday, so she asked us to take over and said, "I want you to treat this place as your own."
We knew we'd need extra funds to take care of the animals, and we didn't know how we were going to swing that. We have five children. We don't have the extra funds to just like pick up a bunch of animals one day. Cows are expensive, the animal feed is expensive. So I had to figure out a way to pay for these things to basically have a happy husband.
(Laughing) Yep! I've always grown flowers at my house. My yard has been a source of joy for me and I've always had a goal to grow it to where I could bring in an arrangement all year round. That's what I've always wanted.
But until the farm idea came along, I'd always done simply perennials and annuals. I have a yard full of perennials that are beautiful flowers that I bring in year round. When the farm concept came up, I started looking into the business of flower farming as an additional source of income to pay for the farm. When I began researching, I realized it was a viable business.
I was like, "Okay, flower farming. That sounds cool."
So, I pitched the idea to my husband and he looked at it. He owns his own business, and when he saw the concept and realized that it was viable, he said,"Sure, let's go!"
We started looking at the farm and the first day that we dug in, I was afraid we'd run into the typical Georgia red clay. It is awful for growing things. But when we got here, the first time we dug in, we were pleasantly surprised to discover this beautiful, soft, brown, magical soil. We were expecting to have to bring in tons of dirt, amendments, and composts. Instead? We found that almost everything we needed was already here. So we felt that that was just a blessing from the Lord.
How incredible. Were you surprised?
Yes. And still, every time we turn around, we're realizing how this place is set up perfectly for the dream that we want to do.
Did you end up getting to keep the animals?
We did! We have three pigs: Hank, Charlotte, and Pity. They're really cute, and they love to be pet and fed. We're thinking that it'll maybe be an option down the road to come and see the animals and pet them.
How fun! Are there other animals, too?
Our friend also left a ton of chickens and four geese. And then she gifted us Camilla, our Great Pyrenees, to help take care of the farm.
Do you want to expand into having other animals as well?
Yes! I really want a milk cow. (laughing) I even have a song that I sing to my husband about how badly I want to a cow.
What is the cow's name?
Oh, she doesn't have one yet. We'll have to wait to meet her to decide that.
It is beautiful out here. What's your purpose or hope for the farm, Brianne?
Thanks. It is beautiful, isn't it?
Our hope for this farm is to bring healing, restoration, and peace to people. We want people to be able to come here and be filled up, to feel refreshed, and to just receive healing on all different levels.
Wonderful. Nature is healing. How will you achieve this here, specifically though?
We've already started expanding into several different directions that will aid in providing our visitors with opportunities for restoration and healing on the farm. We have yoga on Thursday mornings here. It's just great time just with the Lord. The lady that teaches it, Ms. Carla, she's incredible.
Then we have the You Pick section of the farm where we invite our guests to come out and pick their own flower bouquet and just enjoy time on the farm. We also have a butterfly garden out there that is a great place to just sit and just be. I spend lots of time in prayer there.
We also have a little kids area that we're putting in for children to come and play and just be in nature. I'm really excited about this because I feel like nature is a great place for children to connect with Creation and learn about their Creator.
I love the plans you have for this place!
Have you found restoration here as well, Brianne?
Definitely. I've spent lots of time in prayer here in the mornings by myself. I just love this place. I know what flowers and gardening do for my soul, and just how relaxing it is. I want people to have the same. I want them to experience it, too.
So, how does one learn how to become a flower farmer?
Great question. I honestly just started looking into it and did a ton of research. I found someone called Lisa Mason Ziglar with The Gardener's Workshop. She's incredible. She is very practical and she teaches something called Flower Farming School. It is incredible, and has taught me so much since last fall.
You've learned all of this since last fall?
Yes. I started picking up the low-hanging fruit from her website. I began learning from there and reading her courses and all of those things. And then once I realized, she had courses that you can actually sign up for, I went for it. It's run like a real class, too. You have other students in the class, access to the teacher, you can ask questions and you have all of the material you need. You even have homework! It's legit.
This is fascinating. Will you keep going?
Yep. She has several courses that she offers, and I've taken a few of them. I just signed up for the next one so I can learn more about perennials and how to build out our farm further with them.
How will you expand this year?
Well, as you can see, we have lots of hydrangeas we put in last year. Then there are willows. Curly Willows, Dappled Willows. And then we will have two, 400 foot rows of roses coming this fall.
This next class through The Gardener's Workshop is what's going to teach me what to buy, when to buy, how to buy, where to buy. All those skills. It's been very helpful, and the flower farming community is very, very, very supportive.
How many flower farmers are here in the local or region?
Well, it depends on what you mean by region, but locally, there's no one else farming flowers. There's a lady here in Shiloh that grows on a small scale. She doesn't sell to florists. She'll go set up some places and sell her flowers. She's got a beautiful garden, but it's just a hobby.
Regionally, we do have a Georgia growers organization. There are several flower farmers in the Athens area but there aren't any down here I'm aware of yet. There are a couple of flower farms around Georgia though.
Have you considered beekeeping? Do you want an apiary someday?
Yes, we will eventually. Right now we are not, but we're looking for a grant to make that possible. There are grants that help beekeepers get a start, and we'd love to do that down the road.
Do you ever see the farm being an event space?
Absolutely. It's definitely an event space. We're actually doing a flower festival in October. It'll be like a fall festival, but not. We want it to be a true flower festival. We're going to have competitions and we're going to have a big butterfly wing structure that's made out of flowers. We might do some dresses that are made out of flowers, too.
We'll also offer workshops where you learn to make wearable designs like flower tattoos or flower necklaces. We can do the crowns. Everyone loves them. But I like to kind of step away from the trends, you know? I'm not into what everyone else is doing. How can we offer something different?
Absolutely. What about your family? You have five children?
We do. They're all involved in some aspect at the farm. We have five kids, three adopted and two biological.
Big Zeke is here often. He's here right now. He is a hard worker. We're very thankful for him. He has been a massive help, and we couldn't have done it without him. He really enjoys being out here, too. It's been a blessing.
My other kids are usually here as well. They're not here right now, so I can actually have a conversation. (laughing) But yes, my family has been a huge support of everything here. We're doing it all together.
I love that, Brianne. What else do you want people to know about Fields of Grace Flower Farm?
I want people to know that here in America, our flowers used to be primarily American-grown. There was an American group of florists that typically grew the nation's flowers and there were a lot of flower farmers in the U.S. Then people started getting mass imports from other countries, and it was very detrimental to the American growers.
COVID shut down the supply chain and then there was a terrible fire in Ecuador. It was awful, but the good thing that came out of it, is that it actually helped the American farmers because the florists are now looking for American growers. They see how valuable our American farmers are, and now they're giving back the ability for the American farmer to come back into the supply chain.
The thing about flower farming is that it's really essential for us to educate and raise farmers because if we can get flowers back into being grown here, then it would just be a game changer for the entire industry. I'm proud that we can be a part of that.
The other thing is that with locally grown flowers, you can get all sorts of different, unique flowers. Some flowers just do not ship well, but they are easily enjoyed locally. I want more people to understand the value of locally-grown flowers and all they can offer to us as human beings. ◼︎
Connect with Fields of Grace Flower Farm
Website coming soon!