2022 Speaker Profile: Shannon Algiere

Meet Stone Barns Center's Shannon Algiere, whose leadership at the Center's Arts & Ecology Lab inspires a conscious approach to sustainable use of all that a farm may produce. Contributor Jo Ellen Meyers-Sharp recently interviewed Shannon for this Slow Flowers Summit feature.


Shannon Algiere grew up with rabbits, goats, peach orchards, and strawberry fields in Connecticut. Since then, that natural diversity expanded to include cut flowers, agriculture, lab work, and much more.


Shannon is the Arts & Ecology Director at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, the site of the 2022 Slow Flowers Summit. The Stone Barns Center campus comprises 80 acres of land, nestled within 350 acres of the Rockefeller State Park Preserve in Westchester County, New York, which it manages through a Conservation Action Plan that connects agricultural stewardship and ecosystems management.



“I’m really excited to partner with Debra Prinzing and Slow Flowers to hold the Summit,” Shannon says. She and other Stone Barns team members are planning our "Day Three" programming (June 28, 2022), for Summit attendees to experience the integrated programs of the gardens and farm. Guests of the "Day Two" dinner on June 27, 2022, are invited to spend the afternoon touring the farm and the Arts & Ecology Lab beforehand.

Developing uses for non-edible material not only provides added-value for the farmer and reduces “waste,” but provides a climate ecosystem service in and of itself, as well as a local economy in creating relationships with farmers and local artisans.

“Integrated” is a fine word for the Stone Barns Center's campus and mission. The Arts & Ecology Lab highlights how all of the resources generated through farm activities can be utilized, recovering the value of that byproduct through beautiful and creative collaborations with artisans. Developing uses for non-edible material not only provides added-value for the farmer and reduces “waste,” but provides a climate ecosystem service in and of itself, as well as a local economy in creating relationships with farmers and local artisans.


Summit attendees will learn more about the Farm Share Program for Stone Barns Center members who can sign up to receive weekly boxes of seasonal veggies as well as fresh-cut blooms. Bouquets feature varieties that serve an ecological purpose on the farm and in regional gardens, including pollinator-friendly flowers and cover crops. The Farm Share Program also offers vegetable and cut flower garden kits for those who want to grow their own. The flow is not just one way. Members are asked to make a commitment to farmers, ecological partners, and their community to create a better food system together.



“We need more conversations around agriculture, which we use in our daily supply chain,” Shannon explains. Whether farming food or flowers, “it’s important to look to our farmers to understand how to best fortify their ability and farming system to position them to meet the demand.”


And that’s the message she intends for Slow Flowers Summit attendees. “Every farmer is an economist who needs to consider service to the land first when expanding their operation to market potential,” she adds. Flowers have an important place in the farmer’s role as a health driver for a farm system.

 

Slow Flowers Summit welcomes Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp as our profile contributor for the 2022 season. Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp is the Hoosier Gardener. She’s a 25-year, award-winning veteran of print journalism and owner of Write for You! LLC, a freelance writing and editing business.

You can find her blog at hoosiergardener.com.

Jo Ellen is immediate past president of GardenComm: GardenCommunicators International. She's the former editor of four regional gardening magazines. She is a garden coach and has a four-season commercial and residential container planting business. For nearly 25 years, she has worked at a large, independent garden center in Indianapolis, including a stint as buyer of perennials, trees and shrubs. A popular speaker, she has more than 50 5-star reviews at greatgardenspeakers.org.


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