A Formation of Love, Knowledge and Experience in Agriculture

Follow along the journey of Barnswallow on Instagram and Facebook under the searchable name @barnswallowflowers or
"Barnswallow Flowers".

The formation of Barnswallow reflects Kerrilyn & Meredith Nunnikhoven's love, knowledge and experience in agriculture, combined with an equal appreciation of good land practice and support of our local bee pollinator population and wildlife habitat. Growing outside is a long-term theme for our farm operation, exemplifying our practice of growing local flowers and produce, while also encouraging our community to grow daily as human caretakers of our fragile eco-system. 
This love and knowledge was internally driven by the need to survive as a small, family farm operation under 500 acres. Co-Founder, Kerrilyn Loynachan Nunnikhoven, firmly believed that farms with diverse enterprises can survive difficult times. With positive and successful examples provided at her childhood century farm by parents, Elton & Helen Loynachan, Kerrilyn tirelessly worked to conquer well known, small-farm killers such as family succession, farm crises and commodity prices. Her answer was to start a flower farm with her daughter, Meredith, in a rural Mahaska County that could be an artery for fresh-cut flower supply in Southeast, Iowa. 
The conventional flower industry is huge and toxic. As flowers are not grown for human consumption, there is little to no regulation on the usage of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers worldwide. A huge contribution to intense chemical use comes from trying to avoid invasive pest species entering the USA.  The link to an research article written in 2017, lists many risks and issues which surround the conventional flower industry. It was published by The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Internationally shipped flowers also place a giant, carbon footprint on our environment. On a global commercial level, fresh floral product is grown in circumstances that are incredibly hard on the soil and the people who cultivate, harvest and handle them on a mass scale. The fuel and labor needed for transport from their origin to the florist is extreme. There are also large amounts of plastic and cardboard in these shipments, which requires frequent trash pick ups and increased processing costs for local recycling facilities. There is also a huge environmental impact in the vessel industry, primarily consisting of glass, plastic and tin. This lead to the patent-pending, compostable vase invention by Farmer, Meredith Nunnikhoven. 
Barnswallow continues to cultivate a passion surrounding the implementation of eco-friendly, farming practices to grow fresh, chemical free, unique and beautiful flowers to share with our community. The entire flower growing operation is outside, allowing the weather to determine the natural state and timing of planting, growing and harvesting. Since Kerrilyn's passing in 2021, Meredith continues to fly with her her Barnwallow flock in farming flower with organic practices while taking pride in soil care with regenerative farming practices. Market bouquets are wrapped in recyclable brown paper. Arrangements are now designed in Barnswallow's original compostable vases. Tillage is only conducted twice a year, utilizing crops that are able to be pruned back for multiple flushes through the harvest season of June-October. Cover crops help to provide needed nitrogen and organic material in healing the beds under the winter's natural snow pack. Barnswallow only sells what it grows locally from 95% of the flowers started from seed in the tiny farm greenhouse that is temp controlled for electric fans and a LP gas heater.