This bouquet, grown and arranged by Englewood-based Southside Blooms, is now part of the Field Museum’s permanent Economic Botany collection. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

“Our work is part of the sweep of human history. It’s very humbling,” said Quilen Blackwell, co-founder of Southside Blooms.

A young flower farmer creates a bouquet at Southside Blooms. (WTTW News)

A fresh floral arrangement is a quick way to brighten up a room, but those buds and blossoms likely came from farms hundreds or even thousands of miles away. A local organization is on a mission to change that.

Eco House’s Englewood farm site. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Eco House is planting the seeds for a homegrown flower industry on vacant lots in Englewood, Woodlawn and West Garfield Park. We learn about the mission behind this slow flowers movement.

Southside Blooms grows it own flowers, on farms in Englewood, West Woodlawn and West Garfield Park. (Southside Blooms / Facebook)

These days, buying flowers might seem like the very definition of a nonessential luxury purchase. But dozens of struggling nonprofits are in fact relying on flower sales to fund the vital social services they provide.