It is early morning whenever vans from 8 different Hmong facilities pull-up to sell spring bouquets throughout King, Snohomish plus Pierce counties. Receptacles and boxes, packed with vibrant plants wrapped in white-colored paper, are put on the floor or on furniture. Gold and red-colored tulips, cream plus maroon peonies, and pink lupines. Volunteers move the flowers into the shade to avoid wilting, careful to keep the blooms brilliant for later, when they’ll be picked up by families and gifted to hundreds of beaming mothers in the area.
A bouquet drive called Solidarity Flowers raised over $26, 000 dollars this Mother’s Day weekend to support Hmong and Mien farmers as well as individuals excluded from COVID-19 relief funds. Online ordering opened May 1 and closed May 7, and individuals across the greater Seattle area positioned orders for more than 800 bouquets. On Saturday and Sunday, the bouquets were delivered to multiple pickup sites from eight Hmong and Mien farms: Yeng Gardens, True Garden, Cha Doua’s Garden, the Old Farmer, Jenny’s Garden, Cha Farms, Dao Lee Farm, and MeeGarden.
Normally, Hmong farmers sell the majority of their flowers at farmers markets, but those markets were closed for months due to coronavirus.
Hmong refugees commenced growing flowers within Washington in the particular 1980s included in the resettlement program known as the Indochinese Plantation Project, funded in part by King County and the Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Authority. The program was successful, and today Hmong farmers are well known at Pike Place Market, making up about 40% of flower vendors. But when the coronavirus pandemic hit King County in February of this year, flower sales were deemed nonessential business and the farmers’ stalls were closed in mid-March.