Intro: Sam Normandeau – Horticulturist

Home Forums Welcome and Introductions Intro: Sam Normandeau – Horticulturist

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    • #957
      Phyllostachys
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      Hello!

      I am a horticulturist living in Vancouver, Canada. I am looking to connect with like-minded individuals, and to develop sustainable concepts with the aim to affect positive change. I see the field of horticulture as being ripe for sustainable innovation, and this is where I dream of focusing my efforts.

      In 2007, as a teenager pondering trivial things such as my post-secondary life choices —while realizing the unsustainable nature of our 21st century society, I set out three main criteria to guide my career choice. 1- It should be a topic that I enjoy. 2- It should be a field where I could apply my skills with the aim to affect positive change to our society’s sustainability. 3- It should pay at least enough to live.

      The name of the 3-year program I studied is in French and translates to: “Environment & Horticultural Production Technologies”. In addition to being motivated by my personal interest in plants and the natural world, my decision to pursue a career path in horticulture was motivated by my desire to better understand the horticultural systems which underpin our society and form the basis of our relationship with the environment.

      While in college, a teacher asked me what my ‘dream job’ would be. I gave him three answers: 1- Own my own plot of land and have a horticultural production (as a testbed for innovation), 2- work in research, 3- work at a botanical garden. A few months later, as luck would have it, I was offered a part time job at a horticulture research institution, and later interned as a research assistant. It was great, and it helped me learn that I didn’t want to do repetitive research every single day of my life. One dream job done!

      After my studies, I moved to Vancouver and scored a job as a horticulturist at the UBC Botanical Garden. I worked there a couple years and it was great, but I didn’t want to wait a decade for a promotion, and would never be able to afford land with the available pay. Second dream job done!

      I decided to shift gears and to focus on integrating plants into the built environment. I worked a stint in interior design & sales to pick up some skills, and eventually got a job at an interior landscaping company. I worked on nice projects, built some living walls, learnt some things, and it was great. But ultimately, I realized that most of the demand was for surface level aesthetics, and though there was money to be made in this niche, I would never make enough money to buy a plot of land while working as an employee.

      In 2018 I started my own interior landscaping company called Botany Agency, with the intent to help connect city-dwellers with plants, and hopefully one day (before retirement) afford land. After two years of hard work, the growth of the business really started taking off and then -wait- oh yeah that pandemic happened. All projects stopped, I had to let go of staff, and I had to shut down. It, was great.

      Over the last two years I’ve had the opportunity to think long and hard about my trajectory and goals. One of my key takeaways is that I can’t do it alone. Though in the past I haven’t been very successful at finding other individuals or communities of like-minded folks, I was excited to stumble onto this website and am joining in the hopes that this may be the start of something great.

      I look forward to meeting you!

      Cheers!

      Sam

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