Sustainable Business Spotlight Series

Spill the Dirt Flower Truck

Interview with the founder, Dana
Photos provided by Spill the Dirt Flower Truck

1. What’s your business, and how is it sustainable?

Spill The Dirt Flower Truck is a mobile flower shop. We service the Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge and Guelph area, offering a unique flower buying experience. You can build your own bouquet out of the back of our pink 1959 GMC truck named Andie. Our goal is to encourage new connections in our community, maintain meaningful relationships and create inspiring spaces through our unique mobile experiences and top-quality flowers.

We use environmentally friendly packaging for all of our bouquets at the truck. Deciding on packaging was an important step when I started my business. I wanted material that was environmentally friendly, aesthetically pleasing and budget friendly (so long icky cellophane and plastic ribbon, hello Kraft paper and twine). Kraft paper and twine was everything I was looking for; recyclable and reusable, classic and simple, allowing the flowers to be the stars of the show and affordable.  

2. Did you start out as a sustainable business, or did you shift to a more sustainable model later on? Either way, what was your motivation to be a sustainable business?

When I first started my business, I’ll be honest, I didn’t know much about the impact the floral industry had on the environment. Our packaging was just a teeny tiny part of what we could be doing. On top of pesticide and water usage and the plastic packaging wholesale flowers arrive in, imported flowers can generate major carbon emissions due to the hundreds of miles they travel, in refrigerated air and ground transportation. Going into our third year of business, we are expanding and will be growing a large chunk of the flowers we sell next season. Growing our own flowers will help eliminate some of these negative environmental impacts and help us get our flowers from field to vase quickly, in a sustainable manner. We can implement sustainable practices like crop rotation, water management, composting, plastic free packaging and all natural pest control methods. 

The motivation to becoming a more sustainable business was by following a few regenerative gardening accounts on social media. The more I learned, the more I realized I didn’t know and that I needed to do better. I was motivated to take the first step and begin to educate myself on becoming a more eco friendly and sustainable business. 

3. What is the biggest compliment you’ve been given about your sustainable business?

The biggest compliment I’ve been given about my sustainable business is when someone picks out one single flower on the entire truck and gushes over how gorgeous it is, and it’s a flower I’ve grown. You just can’t beat locally grown flowers. They are a labour of love.  Each and every bloom is celebrated and cared for from seed to flower and my heart does a backflip every time someone compliments a flower I’ve grown.

4. What were some of the challenges you experienced when developing a sustainable business?

I think one of the biggest challenges I face now with shifting to a more sustainable business model, is imposter syndrome. Even though I am implementing these new sustainable practices and continuously learning more, there’s always the fear of looking like a fraud, appearing poorly educated or like I’m still not doing enough. Expanding my growing space this fall took quite a bit of time and money and I’m committing to growing as much locally grown product as I can, but I still won’t be 100% local. Imposter syndrome has a funny way of sneaking up and making you feel like you shouldn’t share your accomplishments. And that’s just plain silly. I’ve made some big changes here that matter and I will be making a difference, big or small.

5. What words of wisdom or advice do you have for businesses and/or citizens on how to implement more sustainable practices and lifestyles?

My advice for businesses or citizens that wish to implement more sustainable practices and lifestyles is to start small! Baby steps! A baby step in the right direction is movement. You can’t possibly know every single thing about every topic to start having conversations about the differences you can make on our planet. And it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Do what you can, every little change helps and matters!

Follow Spill the Dirt Flower Truck on Instagram and Facebook @spillthedirtflowertruck.