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At least $220,000 raised for Pike Place flower farmers

A Seattle photographer has spearheaded an effort to raise money for flower farmers impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. So far, $220,000 has been given to 45 farmers.

SEATTLE — A Seattle photographer and nonprofit founder has helped to sell more than $200,000 worth of flowers from farmers unable to sell the bouquets at Pike Place Market due to coronavirus restrictions.

Tara Clark, who runs a nonprofit called Believe, Love, Unite, launched a movement that she calls Flower Power of Love about a month ago. 

She spoke to KING 5 in early April about how she connected with a community of Hmong flower farmers through a friend and began ordering dozens of bouquets of flowers and selling them to friends.

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Clark said she could not have known then that the program would take off.

“It just evolved beyond my wildest imagination,” she said. “I believe I’m right at about $220,000 in checks written to 45 different flower farmers.”

Clark fronts the money to the farmers, then accepts bulk orders for the blooms online, often publicizing the latest bouquets on Facebook and Instagram

Customers then pick the bouquets up at a designated location and either keep the flowers for themselves or send them to someone else. Clark said customers have sent the bouquets as tokens of thanks to sanitation workers, hospital staff, and even the homeless.

In recent weeks, Clark said the program has expanded. At a pop-up stall in Capitol Hill where people pick up their pre-ordered flowers, Clark is now also selling wine from a local sommelier and frozen food packaged by Seattle restaurant Nue

Clark is also accepting cash donations that allow her to pay farmers for vegetables like kale and potatoes, which she is offering to three different restaurants, including Nue.

Uyen Nguyen, who owns Nue, said the additional food is helping her restaurant make meals for healthcare workers.

“I’ve been able to feed over 857 people as of today,” said Nguyen. “Projects like this are really what is going to bring communities together and get us through the pandemic.”

Clark said she has been grateful to witness the connection and goodwill that the project has fostered. She said she is now looking ahead to Mother’s Day, one of the most important days of the year for flower farmers. 

She believes the first $220,000 raised is just the beginning.

“I really believe a quarter of a million dollars in a week is so possible,” she said.

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