Why Do We Still Go To Washington DC?

Sitting on the plane for 6 hours, flying from the “left coast” to that other coast, one has a lot of time to reflect.  Today, I’m on my way to DC to spend the next 48 hours meeting with lawmakers, their staff and members of the Administration.  Over the past six years, I’ve probably averaged three trips a year to our nation’s capitol to advocate on behalf of our flower farms.  That’s 216 hours of flight time (yes, 9 full days on a plane)!  For me, that’s a lot of time to be without access to cell service, the internet and most importantly, my family.

The Commission’s 2012 delegation of California Flower farmers on “The Hill,” in Washington DC.

While more and more flights are providing Wifi, I still find plane flights a great opportunity for reflection.  And on this trip, I am reflecting on value of all of these trips to Washington DC.

It’s a healthy and important exercise to occasionally ask, “why do we

Stem by Stem

This is a guest post by Bill Prescott, Marketing Communications Associate for Sun Valley Floral Farms. Bill is responsible for Sun Valley’s social media platform, blogging and multi-media communications.

Subscribe Sun Valley’s “Flower Talk” blog and follow Sun Valley on Twitter.

 

A little over a year ago when I started working at the Sun Valley Floral Farm, I was out walking the farm with Lane and the other growers.  I was likely asking the team all sorts of rookie questions about flower farming,

Sun Valley Floral Farms’ CEO and head flower farmer Lane DeVries proudly display’s his farm’s commitment to promoting their “CA Grown” flowers.

“Where do we get the water? Where do we get the bulbs? How much does a single bulb cost?”

Lane and the growers patiently answered my questions as we walked at Lane’s unusually fast pace.  My eyes were wide open as row upon row of lilies, tulips and irises were discussed and inspected.  I noticed many flowers left in the fields, ones that hadn’t bloomed yet, it seemed to me that these would just be left to bloom out.

I asked Lane, “So are you just going to leave all those other flowers out there?”

He replied,

10 Valuable Examples of the #CaGrown Hashtag

One of my goals in 2013 was to become more active with Twitter.

A great example of one of our California flower farmers using the #CaGrown hashtag.  (I added the #AmericanGrown, #CaGrown and #OriginMatters hashtags onto the original image.)

I was somewhat active already on Twitter [read 2009 blog post, “Why I Twitter.”], but I also knew we hadn’t been tapping into Twitter’s true potential as a platform for our farms and their flowers.  In fact, I even joined a group called the “Twitter Team” this year to help hold me accountable to my 2013 goal and to better understand the benefits of this social media platform by learning from others.  I understood what Twitter was, but I wanted to explore how we could more effectively advance our message that California’s flowers represents America’s fresh and local choice when buying flowers and to help lead the charge in the movement for more American Grown flowers.  So, tweeting, retweeting, favoriting and hashtagging has all become second nature and now is a part of my day-to-day responsibilities.

I’ve learned a lot, but I have to say that one of the most important points of learning has been

Marketing: 5 Things Flowers Can Learn From California Avocados

Wow!

Who knew that there would be so many parallels between how to market avocados and the marketing of flowers?

The California Avocado Commission has been working since 1978 to help consumers understand the benefits of buying California Grown avocados.

Yet, when California Avocado Commission‘s Vice President of Marketing Jan Delyser speaks on avocado marketing, you can’t help but translate what her experience and expertise suggests for how to increase awareness and sales for California Grown Flowers.

So, it was a real privilege to have had the opportunity to hear Jan share her experience and expertise as our keynote speaker during the opening dinner at the Fun ‘N Sun floral convention in Santa Barbara last week.  As the CEO/Ambassador of the California Cut Flower Commission, I was listening intently for what more we could be doing to replicate the success the California Avocado Commission has had in maintaining a brand premium in the marketplace for their growers.  The similarities between the industries were eye opening and

3 Advocates of the American Grown Flowers Movement You Should Know

One of the primary objectives of the California Cut Flower Commission has been and continues to be to promote the virtues and values of California Grown flowers.  However, in a country where, over the course of the past 30 years, approximately 80% of the flowers being sold in the U.S. are now being imported from places like Colombia and Ecuador, the task of educating a consuming public as to the benefits of buying locally grown blooms seemed nearly impossible just 3 years ago.

Where your flowers come from matters. Do you know a champion for locally grown flowers? Let me know.

However, as they say, the one thing you can always count on is change.

With the growing popularity of farmers markets through out the country, U.S. consumer food safety concerns rising, the Slow Food movement and increasing demand for Made in America products, it now appears that

3 Important Points I Shared During IFE in Miami

Last week I had the privilege of speaking to standing room only crowd of my floral industry colleagues at the International Floriculture Expo to give my part of the “State of the Industry” program.  My part of the presentation was to represent the state of the domestic cut flower industry, recognizing that approximately 80% of the flowers sold in the United States are imports.  With California representing almost 80% of what remains in U.S. flower farming, the position and perspective of the Commission’s role on behalf of the state’s flower farmers does provide for a good overview.

My presentation was titled “Heart & Soil,” recognizing the daily effort and commitment U.S. flower farmers make to remain competitive with imports.

With only an hour for two presentations and some Q&A, my part needed to remain

Farm to Fork? How About Field to Vase.

It seems like everyone is talking “Farm to Fork,” these days.  Don’t you agree?

A great image from a recent article by Trey Shelton, “Could Foodies Save American Flower Growers?

Having recently moved to Sacramento, I have found myself smack dab in the middle of the “Farm to Fork” Capital of America.  And recently I read that Whole Foods is planning on growing a rooftop crop above one of their new stores near Boston. Yes, the produce is expected to be grown on their roof and sold in their store

It seems that the fervor for all things local and the support for family farmers is at an all time high.

So what about flowers?

Are You the “Ultimate Flower Fanatic?”

The Farm to Float Experience Project

I am very excited to announce our search for a special person to join me and the flower farmers of California for the most iconic floral parade in the world on New Year’s Day.

Who are we looking for?

Someone with a lot of passion for flowers.

Someone who cares about where their flowers are grown.

Someone who has always wanted to sit street side on Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena, California as float after float of gorgeous blooms go by (Don’t worry, we won’t make you camp on the street).

Our search is headquartered on our

Help Us Name This New CA Grown Rose!

The CCFC is working hard to try and determine a name for this BRAND NEW rose varietal, only available in California!

What should we call it?
A) Star Struck
B) Disco Queen
C) Funfetti

We need to know today!

Leave your vote in the comment section below or go add your vote on our Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/CaliforniaGrownFlowers

#AgDay Makes Social Impression in Sacramento

Tweeting, Posting, Delivering the Message that ‘California Grown’ Matters

Armed with their passion, their stories and the Twitter hashtag #AgDay, farmers from across the country celebrated National Agriculture Day and communicated the value of American Agriculture brings to the economy and our communities on March 19th.

On March 20th, California Agriculture celebrated Ag Day on the steps of the Capitol in Sacramento.  The Commission and the California State Floral Association co-sponsored the floral booth, featuring the bounty of “CA Grown” flowers and sharing the important economic impact that the floral industry has on the state’s economy.

The "CA Grown" logo continues to represent a powerful message to both lawmakers and consumers. Are you labeling your sleeves?

CSFA’s Executive Director Ann Quinn organized all of the industry and student volunteers to help ensure that the California flower booth was another big hit and that all of the “CA Grown” flower bouquets were delivered to members of the legislature.

CDFA Secretary Karen Ross, proudly wearing her "CA Grown" button, during her remarks at Ag Day in Sacramento

CDFA Secretary Karen Ross provided the official remarks from the Brown administration, highlighting the importance of celebrating AgDay and the significant role California’s family farms plays in producing safe and healthy food, both nationally and internationally.

“This annual effort is an important opportunity for California’s agriculture community to work together to promote itself and highlight its significance,” explained CCFC CEO/Ambassador Kasey Cronquist.  “Working with Ann Quinn and her team at CSFA to showcase our industry on the steps of the Capitol, is just another opportunity for us to explain why California’s flowers are America’s flowers.”

 

Visit our Flickr page to see more photos from Ag Day