Cut flower grower is keynote for conference in St. Joseph

Asters flowers (Journal stock photo.)

Making urban farms bloom will be one of the many topics at the 2024 Great Plains Growers Conference and trade show, Jan. 11 to 13 in St. Joseph, Missouri.

Keynote speaker Karen “Mimo” Davis will share her 30-plus-year journey to becoming a year-round grower and seller of cut flowers in southside St. Louis. She speaks on “Finding Your Niche for Farming Over the Long Haul.”

Davis opens the conference 9 a.m. Jan. 12, at Missouri Western University. Davis grows flowers at Urban Buds in the Dutchtown area of St. Louis. Before moving to St. Louis, she ran Wild Thang in Ashland. It was considered the largest cut flower farm in the state at the time.

“Mimo has to be one of the best cut flower growers I know,” says University of Missouri Extension horticulturist Debi Kelly, who has worked with Davis her entire career as a cut flower producer. “Not only will participants learn about growing and marketing flowers, but they will also be entertained. She is a great presenter.”

A new event at this year’s conference is the Farm-to-Table Dinner, which offers a glimpse at agritourism with an added-value option, says MU Extension horticulturist Justin Keay, one of the organizers of the four-state event.

Session topics include business development/marketing, fruit trees, small fruits, vegetable production, integrated pest management, organic/regenerative agriculture, greenhouse/hydroponics, high tunnels, cut flower production and forest farming. There also will be a Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education farmer forum.

Pre-conference workshops on Jan. 11, include agritourism, worker protection standards/produce safety, Farm to School grower training, specialty corn and beekeeping. Separate registration is required for Thursday events.

Conference sponsors include MU Extension, North Central SARE, Lincoln University, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Kansas State University, South Dakota State University Extension and University of Nebraska Extension.

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