One Week Until Washington

Largest Flower Farmer Delegation Ever

A week from today, a delegation of American flower farmers will descend on Washington,D.C., for an action-packed, issue-filled couple of days.

As is our tradition, every farmer will don an American Grown boutonnière to help highlight our cause as we walk the halls of Congress next week.

This will be the largest delegation of flower farmers we’ve ever had for our annual fly-in. Of course, it isn’t just the number of farmers that makes this year’s trip so impressive, it’s the “who” is joining us. This year’s group canvases 10 states representing 21 different farms and reflects new and next-generation farmers, as well as some of the largest flower farms in the United States.

Designed by Certified American Grown Flower farmer and floral designer Andrea Gagnon of LynnVale Studios, every farmer will wear an all American Grown boutonnière.

The timing couldn’t be better for heading to Washington. The pace at which this administration is making changes makes raising our hands and unifying the voice for America’s flower farmers so important.

We also share our tradition with members of Congress. Here Andrea Gagnon pins an American Grown boutonnière on Congressman Jared Huffman, a member of the Congressional Cut Flower Caucus.

We can’t assume that this administration knows the U.S. Department of Agriculture recognizes floriculture as one of the top five most profitable crops for small-acre farms.

We need this administration to understand how “free trade” isn’t “fair trade,” and how imports continue to negatively impact American flower farmers.

And we must advocate for reliable access to labor that allows our farms to competitively harvest their flowers.

Our farms will meet with members of the new Congress, encouraging every representative to join the Congressional Cut Flower Caucus. The caucus continues to be a great resource for educating members of Congress and their staff on the issues, challenges and opportunities facing our flower farmers.

One week from today…

Martha Stewart Features the American Grown Field To Vase Dinner Tour

National Dinner Tour Highlighted on Marthastewart.com

Over the past couple year’s, the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour has enjoyed some remarkable publicity. The Wall Street Journal highlighted it in the “Top 50” things for the summer of 2015. Food and Wine Magazine called it the “Ultimate Al Fresco Dinner Party” and Sunset Magazine has made a number of mentions of the tour, including co-hosting one of our dinners in Sonoma last year.

Now add this month’s mention by Martha Stewart to the list of examples of national media attention the tour is creating for our farms.

An excerpt from the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour feature on marthastewart.com.

After all, that’s what this tour is about. It’s about inspiring a conversation and a different way of thinking about the flowers we buy. Yes, it is beautiful. Yes, the flower farms are amazing. Yes, the food is wonderful. But what makes this tour special is what it stands for, the cause it represents and the efforts being made to raise the profile on why buying American Grown Flowers is important.

Depending on the farm, seating at our dinners is limited to somewhere between 100 and 150 people. This year, we’ll host seven dinners. So, at the most, we’re going to be hosting just over 1,000 people. That might not sound like a lot enough people for a national campaign.

But it is.

Each attendee becomes an ambassador for the cause. They all leave recognizing that this was more than a dinner, that there’s more that can be done, and they help us champion the message. Combine that with the earned media the dinners continue to generate and we then have hundreds of thousands of people learning about the tour, reading about what we’re doing and engaging with us on social media. We can see from the Martha Stewart example that there has already been 232 shares of the article on their website since it was published. We love that.

For all of these reasons, the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour is invaluable and a tremendous way for our farms to share why origin matters and what a difference it makes when you buy flowers that are guaranteed to be American Grown.

Of course, I also recommend that you try and be one out of a thousand that experience the dinner for yourself.

Floral Marketing: 2017 Outlook Report

"Could Trump Administration Help U.S.-Grown Flowers?"

Each year, I’m asked by Floral Marketing’s editor Richard Lutes to provide an outlook report and forecast for our domestic farms.

Click to read complete article.

Decisions by California’s Legislature and the governor will have some long-term consequences for our country’s largest farms. A $15 minimum wage will cause wages across the board to rise within companies, and the elimination of agriculture’s overtime exemption will decrease productivity and increase costs for flower farmers, putting them at an even further competitive disadvantage with flowers being imported from South America.

However, there is

Transitioning To Trump; Let’s Go To Washington!

Now Is the Time For Farmers To Rally In Washington, D.C.

It’s time to take our issues to Washington, D.C.

We’ve held many successful farmer fly-ins over the past seven years, but this year might just be the most important fly-in we will have ever organized.

America’s flower farmers will be descending on Washington, D.C. for our annual fly-in 

Thank You Rose Parade Ambassadors

Farmers Speak to Thousands During 'Deco Week'

Every year, I seem to forget what a powerful opportunity the Tournament of Roses Parade is for driving awareness for California Grown flowers, until I’m back in Pasadena watching our farmers working the crowd and talking about flowers.

It’s amazing, and we simply couldn’t do this without the volunteer commitment of our farmers.

We’re not talking to hundreds of people, we’re talking to thousands. Sharing California’s passion for flower farming in the Golden State.

We handed out so many CA Grown stickers to people who had questions, comments and appreciation for what California farmers do to bring flowers to market. Our farms donated over 54,000 stems of flowers for Cal Poly’s float, and it turned out beautifully.

Thank you to all of our farmer ambassadors who came out to talk about California Grown flowers and their passion for flower farming. It made a difference. Hundreds and hundreds of people from Pennsylvania (Penn State University is in the Rose Bowl) learned a lot about where America’s flowers come from this past week because of this effort to educate.

A big thank you to Ashley Nally of CallaCo and Linda G. with Mobi’s for their leadership in organizing the volunteers. Thank you Anna Kalins and Andrea Philpot for helping make sure we kept the wheels on the bus this year between our promotion efforts and our California Grown certification ceremonies. Everything came together wonderfully.

CallaCo’s Ashley Nally, a CCFC Promotion Committee member.

Today is the Rose Parade. I’m confident that we have some California Grown award winners. Cheers to a promising 2017.

A proudly displayed CA Grown license plate was affixed to the back of Cal Poly’s float this year. Photo by Keith Humphrey, VP of Cal Poly Student Affairs.

My No. 1 Blog Post in 2016 …

It surprised me, too!

Well, as Google would have it, my most widely read blog post for Field Position in 2016 was written in 2013.

Why I Fly with Flowers & You Should, Too,” takes the top spot for the most unique page visits.

i-fly-with-flowers

Why is this post the most popular post three years after it was written?

That’s a great question. But I’m not exactly sure what the answer is.

However, recognizing that people are still reading posts I wrote three years ago, I have recommitted time and made it a priority to blog more often in 2017. Blogging is a great resource for people to access information about the Cut Flower Commission, Certified American Grown Flowers, all of our efforts and what we represent as an organization.

P.S. – “They Grow Flowers in Alaska?” was No. 3!

Which “Field to Vase” Dinner Will You Attend?

“Farm to Fork.” It continues to be the rage.

Events are created for it, restaurants are themed around it, even the White House has their own kitchen garden that communicates the merits of freshness, quality and just knowing where your food comes from.

…but what about the flowers?

F2V_web_logo

From the White House to the average house, how do we help communicate to consumers those same values and virtues they find in buying and featuring locally grown food, can also be found in the flowers they buy.

How do we translate this momentum for “farm to fork” in such a way that helps people ensure that the flowers at the center of the table are as fresh, local and sustainable as the food on their plates?

Enter, the 2015 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour.

Working with the Certified American Grown flowers campaign, the California Cut Flower Commission is helping to sponsor a series of 10 dinners in 2015 to help translate the “farm to fork” message to support locally grown flowers. This “field to vase” concept provides a perfect translation to help connect the dots with caring consumers who want to know where the flowers they buy are coming from.

But will people come?

Yes! In fact, our first dinner in Carpinteria at Westland Orchids is oversold. We have more people wanting to come than we have seats. This, of course, is a great problem to have.

Over 100 people will be dining on locally grown fare while we celebrate American Grown flowers as the centerpiece of every conversation.

The good news is that the tour is coming to a city near you. From San Diego to Brooklyn to Washington DC, please visit the schedule and see which dinner you’d like to attend and “Save Your Seat” today.

These seats will go fast.

Which dinner would you like to attend?

 

Was This The Best Valentine’s Day Ever?

Based on the seven years that I’ve been serving as CEO & Ambassador with the California Cut Flower Commission, this past Valentine’s Day appears to have been the best coverage by media that we’ve ever seen for our American flower farms.  Definitely the best during my tenure here.

2015_Valentine’s_Day_for_American_Grown___CA_pptx

Headlines from this Valentine’s Day.

Why was this year so good? And what made the difference?

It’s certainly never just one thing, but the three things that I know helped to make this

If Flower Farming Were An Olympic Sport, Who Would You Root For?

I do enjoy the Olympics.  Winter, Summer, it doesn’t matter, I like it all.

Washington Post: Kotsenburg celebrates after winning gold in the men’s snowboard slopestyle final. Mike Blake / Reuters

This week it has been nice to wrap up my busy days at work leading up to Valentine’s Day by sitting down in the evening and watching the competitions in Sochi.  I’m not a snowboarder, but I enjoy watching Shawn White, Danny Davis and Gregory Bretz in the halfpipe.  I’ve also noticed that the older I get the more I appreciate figure skating, although I couldn’t tell you the names of anyone on Team USA.  I think it’s the dedication, the sheer determination and that they do represent the very best America has in these unique disciplines that both fascinates and

5 Examples of the Growing Demand for Local Flowers

With Labor Day on Monday, kids heading back to school and that familiar turn in the morning temperature, sadly, the summer of 2013 is coming to an end.

I really enjoy the summer season.  I enjoy going on vacation with my family, I enjoy hearing about the vacations of others and I enjoy catching a couple of baseball games when I can (none this season…so far).

As the summer season for locally grown flowers comes to a close, there is a bright future ahead for American Grown flowers.

However, as this season comes to a close, I thought I would share 5 examples of the growing demand for locally grown flowers that I also enjoyed seeing this summer.

While flowers imported from South America still dominate the U.S. market (almost 80% of flowers sold in the U.S. are imported), these five examples reflect a growing trend by consumers who desire to