Happy New Year!
I want to first wish you and yours the best in 2015. Going into this new year, I have a tremendous amount of gratitude for my friends and colleagues in the floral industry and beyond. I consider it a privilege to serve in my position on behalf of California’s flower farmers, advocating for their future success and promoting their beautiful flowers. I am also grateful for all of you who followed this blog during 2014. We had over 3,500 people find their way to this blog during this past year and 367 of those folks became regular subscribers. That’s 367 people who want to be notified as soon a new post is published! For a new blog, I consider these figures a success and I want to thank all of you who left comments and sent emails, offering support and encouragement for our efforts and programs.
When you consider the accomplishments for the California Cut Flower Commission in 2014, it may well have been the best year ever in the organization’s history. I won’t recap everything that I believe deserves mention, but a few of our top highlights of this past year’s accomplishments include:
- The White House’s featured use of American Grown flowers during the only state dinner in 2014
- The Knot’s American Grown Dream Wedding
- The Launch of Certified American Grown flowers
- The formation of the Congressional Cut Flower Caucus
- A cover page feature story on a California flower farmer in Sunset Magazine
- Our founding support for the launch of SlowFlowers.com by Debra Prinzing via her sucessful Indiegogo campaign
If you’d like to see images from these examples, I created a keynote to give my end of year report to CCFC’s Board of Commissioners in December that covered these accomplishments and others which can be found on SlideShare.
So, how will 2015 surpass the success of 2014?
I believe what we experienced in 2014 is really just a prelude to the big things yet to come for flower farmers in this country. I really like what SlowFlowers.com founder and author Debra Prinzing describes as a “cultural shift,” rather than a just a trend towards local, American Grown, flowers. Trends have the proclivity to fade, whereas the consumer awakening that we’re witnessing demonstrates much more significance in response to the question “where do my flowers come from?”
Heading forward, I predict that 2015 will be the best year ever for America’s flower farmers. Building on the success of 2014, here are three significant indicators that I am tracking. I invite you to engage in and embrace these specific shifts, as well:
Collaboration & Cooperation
Launched in July, the Certified American Grown established a way in which consumers could support their preference for homegrown flowers. Thirty-five farms are already certified American Grown and 2015 will see that number rise exponentially as flower farmers from across the country come together to help promote the value and virtues of buying and supporting America’s flower farmers.
Growing Consumer & Industry Support for American Grown
In 2014 a study by the Boston Consulting Group found that 80% of Americans would pay more for a Made-in-USA product, with 93% of those folks citing that they want to keep the jobs here at home. A new word – at least to me – seems to have been created to describe the effort now underway to bring manufacturing and tech jobs back to the United States. “On-shoring,” shows no sign of slowing in 2014, as companies, like Wal-Mart, revisit their “triple bottom-lines.” Meanwhile more and more consumers are scrutinizing the safety and quality of the products they’re purchasing and you can expect that an increasing number of them will translate their “buy local” preference to the flowers they buy. More Americans will buy more American Grown flowers in 2015.
Increasing production and sales
You can’t sell more American Grown flowers to more Americans if you don’t have them. However, the good news is that there is not only an increased interest in buying locally grown flowers, but there is an increased interest in growing flowers locally. While California’s flower farmers are planning to grow and expand their production in 2015, I’m encouraged by the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers’ record growth in new membership from flower farmers throughout the country. Even Alaska will see increasing growth in their peony crops in 2015. All of this production eventually translates into sales to meet that growing consumer demand for local, ultimately helping make 2015 the best year ever for America’s flower farmers.
What other ways do you predict 2015 to be the best year ever for American Grown Flowers?