This weekend, one of our farmers reached out to me asking me to send him, “one sentence to describe the mission of the CCFC.” He was preparing to give a presentation and wanted to be able to clearly articulate the purpose of the CCFC to his audience.
The good news is that the CCFC’s mission is only once sentence:
“To provide a unified effort by farmers to enhance the performance of the California cut flower and foliage industry.”
I quickly shared this with him, but also forwarded him a less formal, more conversational version that I often use when I’m asked what the CCFC is about.
“The CCFC is a state agency that serves as the lead advocacy and promotion organization for California’s flower farmers.”
I was inspired to share this story in light of how important a mission statement is during times of challenge and uncertainty. At both the federal and state level, California’s flower farmers continue to face some difficult issues.
The availability of labor, transportation, unbalanced trade agreements, a $15 minimum wage, family estate and succession planning and regulatory overreach are all threats to the continuation of California’s hallowed flower-farming heritage and tradition.
At the same time, we’re seeing signs of opportunity and progress. Increasing production of flowers by farms in Southern California. An increasing number of new and beginning flower farmers throughout the country. Increasing promotion and consumer demand for California and American Grown Flowers. A groundswell of support from lawmakers and consumers for America’s flower farmers. More requests for all-American Grown Flowers at major events such as this year’s First Lady’s Luncheon. Origin-based campaigns by major retailers such as Safeway’s “Blue Bucket Campaign” featuring flowers labeled California Grown.
A mission statement is important not only because of what it says, but also what it doesn’t say.
The CCFC doesn’t represent lettuce, cucumbers or tomatoes. You’re not going to see the California Cut Flower Commission discuss or get involved in the promotion or advocacy of crops that do not reflect our mission.
Our mission statement also makes it clear who we serve. The CCFC was created for and is focused on California’s flower farmers. It is a “unified effort by farmers” for flower farmers. As we look at issues, develop strategy and identify opportunities, we have to keep asking the question, “How does the work we do better serve California’s flower farmers?”
June is California Grown Flowers month. Our flower farmers recently rallied in Sacramento to help raise the profile of flower farming in California and encourage lawmakers to support this year’s resolution to declare June as “California Grown Flowers Month.” This was a great example of farmers working together, staying focused and promoting what value they bring to their communities and the economy. To help us celebrate this special month, the CCFC featured a campaign that really symbolizes how coordinated efforts from the field to the store can produce successful mission-oriented results.
Just check out this fantastic “Blue Bucket Campaign” by Safeway. The entire Northern California division of Safeway has adopted the California Grown program and made it their own, increasing sales and getting the customer recognition they deserve for their efforts to source California Grown Flowers.
This is just one example of the kind of mission-driven initiatives that help our farms grow and succeed; the kind of effort that unites farmers and shows how working together on a common cause can make a difference.