PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Gardening and farming can be therapeutic, and for a Portland woman, her micro-farm is both a happy place and the root of her small business.
A recent setback kept her away, but Kelly Rae, owner of the Petal Dispatch, is bouncing back in a community that’s helping her thrive.
Rae creates arrangements and bouquets from her Southeast Portland home. It stems from a small business she started working on early in the pandemic, which truly started from an empty space.
“We’re growing on about 2000 square feet. So it’s micro-farm, like to the micro-est,” she said. “We basically pulled up grass, mulched it out and just started plugging plants in there.”
For Rae, it’s a passion that takes her to a place she enjoys. But in February, she was out in the garden on a rainy day when she hurt herself.
“The floor was really, really muddy and I slipped and fell, and upon impact, I fell on my back. When I land, my feet touched the ground, it dislocated. My knee was dislocated,” she said.
It was an injury so bad, Rae couldn’t get around.
“I couldn’t walk or anything. My partner literally carried me to and from the bathroom, onto bed. I was laying in bed for two months altogether not being able to move,” she said.
But with so many flowers growing, business couldn’t stop.
“My partner stepped up and he learned how to become a farmer. I had to teach him kind of everything, what to do with flower farming. And he really stepped it up,” Rae said.
With extra time to plan on her computer, Rae reached out to local women with small businesses, like coffee shops, to create collaborations where her flowers could be seen, and more importantly, sold.
“It has been the most welcoming community I’ve ever lived in,” she said.
The Portland area is showing Rae support once again, because years ago she moved from California during another difficult time.
“I just kind of decided that I wanted to move to Portland,” Rae said. “I was having a kind of house houseless crisis and luckily I had friends who were like, you can stay on my couch for this week… I was kind of bouncing around.”
Now, walking again and getting stronger each day, Rae’s roots are firmly planted in Portland.
“It feels so fulfilling to be a part of such a community that really has each other’s back,” she said.