Our February Chompian of the Month this year is a new friend of ours and Chicago local, Hannah Bonham Blackwell, who we recently met and had participate in our Valentine's Day bouquet video with Southside Blooms. Southside Blooms is a farm-to-vase florist on the Southside of Chicago, providing unique floral arrangements, while maintaining an uncompromising dedication to the environment and surrounding communities. They're a non-profit organization so every single bouquet purchased directly contributes to job creation for at-risk youth and adults in some of Chicago's toughest neighborhoods.
During our video production at Southside Blooms, we met Hannah, and knew we had to learn more about her story and connection to this wonderful organization.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m the Creative Lead and Head Florist for Southside Blooms, a project of Chicago Eco House, that has the mission to alleviate poverty through sustainability. I’m in charge of the look of our brand and all of the new products that we roll out as well as helping to create floral designs for customers and planning out the flowers that are grown on our farms here in Chicago.
My Chicago story actually started when I was 15. As a Kansas native, I came up to the southside with my church youth group for a week and was deeply touched by the experience. Many teens my age that I met were living in dire conditions in the infamous Robert Taylor homes and it impacted me in ways I wouldn’t forget. Eight years later I would move to Chicago and would eventually find my life’s call only miles away from that first place where I was so moved.
Moving to Englewood and starting Chicago Eco House and Southside Blooms with my husband, Quilen, is a dream come true that took years of hard work and prayer. To see our goal realized of at-risk teens being pulled away from the streets and given a job is a feeling like no other.
What's your best tip on how to stay positive?
Forgive! Don’t hold grudges, and find ways to let things go.
What's your workout routine?
Running after my 3 toddlers :) Twin 4 year olds and a 2 year old - they have crazy energy! Other than that, I love going on walks and hikes with my husband in the many forest preserves around Chicago.
How do you consider yourself a “game changer?” This is 100% open to your interpretation!
Anytime one of our youth is at work and kept out of trouble or saved from the violence of the street it is literally changing the trajectory of their life. If my work can do that, I’d consider that being a change maker.
What’s the best thing you do for your personal health everyday (mental or physical)?
What is your favorite Chomps product?
Jalapeño Turkey all the way!!
How does Chomps fuel your lifestyle?
To learn more about Southside Blooms, their story and purchase some of their beautiful bouquets you can head here.