WESTFORD — A new business has blossomed in Westford — and it’s run entirely by students. This year, organizers hope to continue to bloom into a beloved community staple.
Run entirely by women, Flowers to Empower was founded by Elizabeth Almeida, a former member of the Agricultural Commission and owner of Fat Moon Farm.
Settled on a parcel of land near the Westford Community Garden, young women between 12 and 16 years old grow flowers and create hundreds of bouquets to sell to members of the community.
The program is “completely free” for young girls to attend, and received “tremendous support,” from the community, including donations from the Westford Rotary and Westford Remembers, as well as land leased by the Agricultural Commission. In 2022, they raised $10,162, which the “Farmhers” used to fund camping trips, bike rides and small day trips.
Farmhers were also able to donate $2,000 to Westford Food Pantry, Newhouse Wildlife Rescue, Westford Remembers and House Rabbit Network.
“On behalf of the Westford Food Pantry, I would like to thank the young women of Flowers to Empower for making the Westford Food Pantry one of their charities of choice for 2022,” President of the Westford Food Pantry Tim Baker said in a news release.
He continued, “their very generous donation will enable us to continue to serve our many neighbors that are in need with nutritional food and personal care items. On behalf of our many volunteers as well as our neighbors that you help to support, we thank you!”
For the 2023 season, Almeida and the Farmhers plan to continue cultivating flowers on the existing parcel at the Day Field on Graniteville Road. She does not plan to expand the physical size of the farm.
This year there are 15 returning Farmhers and an expected 20 new Farmhers joining the program.
Flowers to Empower is possible through the support of Westford Remembers, Westford Conservation Commission, Muffins on Main, Farmer Dave’s at Hill Orchard, and more than a dozen parents and adult volunteers.
“The future of this program is up to the participants and parents in the community,” Almeida told WestfordCAT.
She believes if it is a worthwhile idea, the group will blossom as more farmers and volunteers join. “As we launch into year two, every indication is that our farmers greatly benefited and our community loved purchasing the flowers,” Almeida adds.
Almeida finds the benefits are both “profound” and “unique” for each participant. Despite the physical beauty of watching a garden bloom, Almeida is even more inspired by the personal growth of each participant.
“As a community, Westford is deeply committed to improving mental wellness. Flowers to Empower builds confidence and grows friendships, two things essential for raising emotionally healthy and resilient teens”, Almeida concludes.
Flowers to Empower will hold a Zoom info session about the upcoming spring season on March 20. Young women between 11 and-16 years old can RSVP with a parent to: firstname.lastname@example.org