When looking for blooms to beautify your home for spring, look no further than the International Management District, where Saturday flower sales benefitting the Shamba Ya Amani (Farm of Peace) are in full swing.

Dr. Kim Meyer, Shamba Ya Amani farm manager, said the farm is offering Queen Anne’s Lace, orlaya, calendula, bachelor’s buttons, nigella, corncockle, snapdragons and statice.

“We also have or will have lots of fragrant herbs to add to the bouquets: dill, mint, basil, lemon balm, hyssop,” Meyer said.

Coming soon are cosmos, strawflower, scabiosa and rudbeckia. As the weather heats up, look for zinnias, sunflowers, celosia, gomphrena, marigolds, sea holly and nicotiana at the farm’s flower stand at the Alief Community Garden, 8401 Dairy View Lane at Beechnut Street, across the street from Youngblood Intermediate School.

Flowers cost $10 for a bouquet and $50 for a large bucket. Bring your own container and wear shoes appropriate for a working farm (think muddy fields). Volunteers are on hand to help you gather your buds and check out.

Proceeds from bouquet sales go toward farm expenses, which include salaries for five women (farm stewards who care for the community field and a beekeeping apprentice) as well as supplies needed to run the farm such as compost, tools, seeds and more.

Shamba Ya Amani was founded in 2020 amid the pandemic and is run by the FAM Houston’s Women’s Empowerment Group, which includes women of all ages, most of them refugees and immigrants from Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Ghana and other African countries, as well as women who grew up in the U.S.

Kim Meyer

The farm is located on land owned by the Alief Independent School District and managed by the International Management District.

Natali Hurtado, executive director of the International Management District, said FAM Houston has been one of the most unexpected and rewarding partnerships the International District has had in recent years.

“Their dedication to giving back to the community, their commitment to providing women with financial independence and closing the food desert in Alief has proven to be a partnership experience worth taking a chance on,” Hurtado said.

Meyer said the District has been instrumental in the success of the farm.

“The International Management District has helped us every step of the way,” Meyer said. “They helped facilitate the permission to farm on this land. They installed irrigation lines for our community field. They invite us to participate in events they support. They connect us to other groups and individuals who can help with particular projects at the farm. They encourage us in our dreams and stand beside us in them.”

Next up for FAM Houston is a plan to start a Community Supported Agriculture Program that yields vegetables, herbs and, of course, flowers. Meyer said the group is working out how to take customer sign-ups.

Pick-ups for the shares will also be on Saturdays, Meyer said. More details will come soon.

Meanwhile, the pick-your-own bouquets (or buckets) operation will continue every Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon until late November, weather permitting.

Meyer said the farm is always looking for volunteers to help on Saturdays as well. Those interested should sign up here: https://www.volunteerhou.org/need/detail/?need_id=654331

FAM Houston
Shamba Ya Amani (Farm of Peace)
8401 Dairy View Lane

— by Dorothy Puch Lillig