GAF Fellow Aga Jones’ passion for sustainable floristry has taken her to the USA to learn from industry leaders practising floral foam-free installation work and researching composting systems in metropolitan areas.
Aga’s Fellowship project ‘Towards Zero Waste In Floral Design’ highlights the darker side of the floral industry, including chemical treatments on flowers and non-degradable floral foam. Aga wishes to raise awareness of these issues amongst industry professionals while empowering florists with the skills to make their work sustainable.
How did you feel when you received a George Alexander Foundation fellowship?
Being awarded a GAF Fellowship came as an exciting surprise and most welcome opportunity. I felt honoured to be given this experience and eager to plan and pursue my Fellowship overseas.
How far did GAF take you? Where did the fellowship enable you to travel? Who did it
enable you to visit and learn from?
The GAF Fellowship took me to the USA, predominantly to New York, Rhode Island and Utah to undertake workshops and inter-studio experiences. I was fortunate to work alongside and learn from industry greats such as Fox Fodder Farm, TinCan studios, Shane Connolly, Studio Choo and Soil and Stem.
What skills have you developed because of this Fellowship/what did you learn?
During the fellowship, I was able to learn how to construct large-scale installations and arbours all without the use of floral foam which is a non-degradable polymer used widely across the industry.
I also investigated local and seasonal flowers in Rhode Island and New York from the perspective of accessibility to florists and seasonal availability. Finally, I researched composting solutions available to businesses in New York.
What led to your interest in sustainable floristry?
A background in environmental management and sustainability and a passion for nature and ecological living meant that my business venture naturally became sustainably focused. I not only believe in creating beautiful seasonal arrangements but want to do so in an environmentally sensitive manner. Otherwise, there is no point.
How do you hope to change the Australian floristry industry?
I hope to inspire change within an industry that uses a lot of floral foam, plastic, imported flowers and often this all ends up in landfill. Through conversation and demonstration, I endeavour to teach as many florists about ecologically sounds floristry practices.
Any flower arranging or buying tips for the George Alexander Foundation community?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Are these flowers grown locally? Are they bee-friendly? Do you spray these flowers with chemicals? Do you use floral foam in your arrangements?
By asking questions and voting with our dollar, florists and their customers can make a change.