For the past six years, we’ve been kicking off the new year in Pasadena by acknowledging those float teams who make it a priority to source and feature California Grown Flowers during the Rose Parade. These certifications acknowledge those teams who worked to ensure that over 85 percent of the flowers on their floats were sourced from California.
Why is this important? Aren’t all of the flowers in the parade from California?
The Rose Parade is a lot like the floral market in the United States today. Currently, imports make up the majority of flowers sold in the U.S., and even though the parade was started in Pasadena to reflect the beauty and bounty of California in December and January, the realities of today’s business environment and international trade dealings mean that almost all of the roses and other flowers used on the floats are imported from Colombia and Ecuador.
So, a tradition of gratitude was born, and together with California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA) Secretary Karen Ross, our flower farmers from up and down the state and the float teams dedicated to showcasing California, we celebrate what we can grow and accomplish by working together here in California.
This is a beautiful way to ring in the new year, and I want to thank Secretary Ross for her years of support for this wonderful tradition. She does a wonderful job officiating each ceremony, highlighting the value of California agriculture and connecting with the teams we work with.
This year, for the first time, we live-streamed a couple of the ceremonies via Facebook.
Thank you to Miracle-Gro, the California Milk Advisory Board (our dairy farmers), Cal Poly Universities and FTD for their commitment to California Grown Flowers this year.
And a big congratulations to Cal Poly and Mircle-Gro on their award-winning float designs. We also take great pride in seeing these Certified California Grown floats become award winners. Cal Poly Universities took home the “Founders Trophy” for most beautiful float decorated by volunteers of a community organization. Miracle-Gro won the coveted “Queens Trophy” for best use of roses. Miracle-Gro sourced over 32,000 roses for its float this year, celebrating the California Grown rose as part of their design.
Thank you to all of our farmers who joined over the course of the past week to help speak with thousands of consumers who came by to see the floats being built. Equally important are the flowers they continue to grow that give reason for the season and inspire us to continue our efforts to bring California Grown Flowers back to the Tournament of Roses Parade, one float at a time.
Happy New Year!
P.S. – If you would like to volunteer or support our efforts next year, please let me know. Just email me. Planning for 2018’s parade is already under way.