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Alumni News


Butterbee Farm’s Laura Resnick ’07 and Irene Donnelly ’02 “grow happiness” by Carling A.W. Elder LAURA BETH RESNICK ‘07 relaxes in

Finding suitable land for farming in Baltimore City proved to be a challenge. a chair after a long day of tending flowers at “I spent days writing proposals and sending Butterbee Farm. She’s tired, but it’s the good kind of tired that comes from doing work you out feelers for land in the city through such vacant land resources as Adopt-A-Lot, Power love and from building a business, quite in Dirt and the Baltimore Office of literally, from the ground up. “What’s the Sustainability.” Unfortunately, the available best part of owning my own flower farm?” plots were either too far away or were unsafe she asks, her face beaming, “It’s how happy for a lone female to be working late hours. flowers make people!” Just as Resnick’s dream of starting an “It’s why we love the work we do,” adds urban flower farm began to feel distant, Irene Donnelly ’02, a local floral designer and a solution appeared last winter. Elisa Lane, one of Resnick’s employees. manager of Whitelock Community Farm in Located on two urban plots in the city’s Reservoir Hill, approached Resnick about Reservoir Hill and Clifton Park communities, taking care of the farm’s flowerbeds and Butterbee Farm is Resnick’s creation. Her stewarding the plots. Resnick jumped on the interest in farming grew out of a desire to opportunity. With land finally secured, she escape the hustle and bustle of Manhattan began preparing the soil and ordering seeds, and Boston, where she attended Barnard hoping to sell her organically grown flowers College and New England Conservatory for at the Waverly Farmers’ Market, the graduate school. Internships and apprenticeWhitelock Community Farm Stand and her ships at Kearsarge Gore Farm in Warner, own CSA, as well as to interested florists and N.H., Drumlin Farm in Lincoln, Mass., individuals. When the first eager seedlings and North Star Orchard in Cochranville, Pa., poked their way through the soil, Butterbee convinced Resnick that (cue the theme from Farm officially became Baltimore City’s TV’s “Green Acres”) “farm living was the life first urban flower farm. for me!” She began hatching a plan in With flowers and a September 2012 to start a young business to care for, sustainable vegetable farm in Resnick quickly realized she her hometown of Baltimore. needed help if Butterbee A providential meeting Farm was to succeed. “One with Ellen Frost, owner of thing I’ve learned in all my Local Color Flowers in entrepreneurial classes and Charles Village, convinced books is that you can’t do Resnick to grow flowers everything yourself,” she instead of food. During that says. “If you start your conversation, Frost told own business, it’s equally Resnick of her success in important to work hard designing with 100 percent and to carve out time for locally grown flowers and Irene Donnelly ’02 designs floral leisure.” Resnick needed to explained the need for, and creations for every occasion. find reliable help. potential benefits of, having Enter Irene Donnelly, whom Resnick an urban flower farm in Baltimore City. met at Local Color Flowers, where Donnelly “After that conversation, I did some further is a floral designer. The two women bonded research and soul searching and realized over their love of flowers and soon realized that growing flowers was what I wanted they were both Friends School alumnae. After to do.”



Stop to smell the roses: Butterbee Farm founder Laura Beth Resnick ’07

Donnelly volunteered to spend a day turning dirt and compost with Resnick at the farm, their friendship took root. “I have a true respect for the work Laura Beth is doing, and I’m amazed by her broad vision for Butterbee Farm,” says Donnelly. Sharing the physical and often emotional workload of starting a new business with Donnelly by her side has made Resnick’s farming life easier, and also more fun. As Butterbee’s operations wind down for the year, Resnick is already looking ahead. The 13th of an acre she farmed was perfect for this year, but she hints at expansion. “I want to farm eight hours a day,” she says. Whatever form Butterbee evolves into, it will surely flourish under Resnick and Donnelly’s care. After all, it is their dedication and commitment to flower farming, and to friendship, that produced the farm’s first growing-season success. FS Follow Laura Beth’s farming adventures on her blog at:

Collection Magazine - Fall/Winter 2013  

Malala Yousafzai inspires project-based learning | Cousin Eli and the Gettysburg Address | Spotlight on the Arts: Photography in focus | Spa...

Collection Magazine - Fall/Winter 2013  

Malala Yousafzai inspires project-based learning | Cousin Eli and the Gettysburg Address | Spotlight on the Arts: Photography in focus | Spa...