Sunday’s New York Times featured a great story on the success of Farmgirl Flowers of San Fransisco. The article does an outstanding job of sharing Christina’s passion and commitment to local. Stembel is quoted as saying, “I won’t use imports. I won’t offer an import line. I won’t test it out and see if people care. It’s not aligned with what the mission for our company is. Nor do I think it’s the right thing to do business-wise.“
The article by reporter Gloria Dawson also included perspectives from varying segments and people in the industry, including myself.
Tom Prince, president of Prince & Prince, discounted Farmgirl’s success, calling it a “niche concept.” He went on to say that Farmgirl’s model only works because the business is near the growers.
I don’t want to sound defensive, but Farmgirl’s example of commitment, passion and loyalty for locally grown flowers is on the rise throughout the country. She’s not the only designer seeking more local American Grown options for clients and customers, she’s just the one that the New York Times featured this time. Her “niche concept” is appealing to niche markets and consumers throughout the United States, putting the kind of good pressure on our farms to grow their business and plant more American Grown flowers.
If over the past 20 years, part of the everyday flower buying experience for consumers and retailers included an explanation of origin of the flowers or clear country of origin labeling, this wouldn’t be the news story that it is. Unfortunately, 74 percent of flower buyers have no idea where they come from, and when a company like Farmgirl Flowers shares its passion and commitment to buying fresh, local, American Grown flowers, it naturally attracts a demographic of Americans who care about the same.
Ironically or coincidently, even the cover page of SAF’s latest edition of Floral Management had “Grown Local” featured as part of its 2016 Trends cover story.
This “niche concept” is really a national trend, and the trend is serving to grow domestic flower production, local economies and increasing American jobs.
SAF’s Peter Moran and California flower farmer Robert Kitayama were also quoted in the New York Times article. In fact, the article concluded with a quote from Robert saying, “She’s helping smaller farmers believe there is a future in growing flowers.”
It’s a very good article. You can read it in its entirety here.