Fun in the MUD 2

Dried flower workshop encourages urban sustainability

MUD, also known as the Missoula Urban Demonstration Project, is one of Missoula’s oldest non-profit organizations, not to mention a deep twisted root that grounds and reminds our community of sustainable practices.

Its mission is in the name—demonstration. Each year, MUD workshops are held to educate community members about topics far and wide, ranging from beer brewing to small engine repair to floral design and beyond. The Earth Friendly Floral Workshop was one of those workshops, held at the beginning of the year in the midst of late winter blues. There were dried flowers, sprays and sprigs spaced out on round tables—the scent of eucalyptus hanging in the air over a small gathering of strangers pooled together to touch anything that reminded them of greener days.

While doubling as a much-needed winter reprieve, the workshop—led by Melissa Lafontaine of Earth Within Floral Design and Paula Jean of Paula’s Garden—was a look into the simple ways in which we as community members can take advantage of our natural resources and create intricate, beautiful bouquets using plants and flowers from our own backyards and local flower farms as compared to buying imported fresh flowers.

“Since we don’t eat flowers, a lot of people don’t educate themselves about the ethics and choices in chemical use or the importance of sustainable practices in flower production,” said Ellie Costello, MUD Project Organizational Director. “We wanted folks to learn about ethics in flower production and wild crafting of flowers.”

Melissa and Paula carried on in true MUD fashion, teaching the class about design skills and choices, encouraging each individual’s vision through hands-on learning, resource sharing and engagement.

“We believe that sustainability is creative and fun and that by educating, demonstrating, and celebrating sustainable choices, we will create a healthy ecosystem and equitable communities,” said Ellie.

It’s a breath of fresh air knowing that an organization such as MUD is behind the curtain at what was first thought to be just a fun night out of hibernation. Their partnership with local experts is a microcosm of the camaraderie Missoula thrives on—it’s the thread that keeps the patchwork of our diverse community together.