OAK HARBOR, Wash. — Of course Leeann Fox talks to her plants.
"You know when I open the greenhouse door in the morning yes, I say ‘Good morning everyone!’ I can't help it!"
She also takes them on road trips.
"I'm the founder of Arrows Aim Greenhouse & Supply Co. we're mobile house plant shop and we also sell pottery and growing supplies."
She’s turned a utility trailer in to a mobile greenhouse, and she rolls into farmer's markets on Whidbey Island and in Skagit Valley, bringing plants to the people.
Fox grows all of these plants herself.
She also hand-makes everything inside her trailer from the clay pots to the grow lights to the plant propagation stations. She even designs the stickers she sells.
She's carefully tending every part of her business - in hopes that someday her plants can help those in prison.
“We're not just a plant shop, we have a mission, we have a goal within our community, and that is to become a worker-owned cooperative that offers entrepreneurial and business opportunities for formerly incarcerated folks,” said Fox. She added that jobs in the arts, marketing, design and sales aren't often offered to people fresh out of prison, instead they are steered towards manual labor. She's hoping that her business can give former inmates both jobs - and joy.
While this new plant pop-up scales up to that big goal, it donates 10% of its profits to organizations that support people impacted by incarceration. In addition, 100% of the proceeds from sales of a T shirt designed by artist Leetha Wilson that says ‘Grow Plants not Prisons’ goes to Solitary Gardens, a non-profit that helps people in solitary confinement design and grow gardens, via letter writing with the help of a proxy gardener.
Becoming a plant parent with a purchase from Arrows Aim Greenhouse & Supply Co. can inspire growth on a lot of levels.
"I feel like there are a lot of lessons we can learn from plants,” said Fox. “We learn a lot of lessons about patience, growth, optimism, opportunity and I think those are all things that we can learn to apply to our relationships with other people as well.”
This entrepreneur says she also grows each time she connects a plant - to a person.
“The joy is big for me honestly - seeing how happy bringing home a new plant makes people is just an incredible feeling.”