Colie Collen began as a veggie farmer and garden educator at Capital Roots, an urban farm in Troy. After a few years, she decided to grow something she could do solo and without a lot of infrastructure. “So I bought a little plot of land from the City of Troy in 2014, improved the soil and started growing flowers I start from seed in my dining room.”
She established Flower Scout, a floral design studio that does primarily wedding flowers, supplementing what she grows in her urban plot and forages locally with product from other local flower farms. Flower Scout offers a CSA that provides weekly bouquets of fresh-cut owers, available for the 14 weeks from summer solstice to autumn equinox.
Collen grew up in Menands and studied poetry at St. Lawrence University. She farmed for two years in the mountains of Santa Cruz, California, before returning home to work with Capital Roots.
Urban farming poses unique challenges. For example her tiny plot has no water, so she hauls what she collects in rain barrels placed under her roof line. Her car doubles as a mobile equipment shed as she makes the three-minute commute to her “farm.” Collen hopes to put up a small hoop house one of these days. “My specialty is wild, seasonal and local, and I make all my decisions based on aesthetics and ethical considerations.”