Tours Matter

Carpinteria Flower Farms Host 9th Annual Farm Tour

California flower farmer Jerry Van Wingerden shares his passion for growing flowers with a group during this year’s annual farm tours in Carpinteria.

 

Awareness.

Approximately 80 percent of all cut flowers sold in the United States are imported from South America, primarily Colombia.

A national consumer research study found that 74 percent of people have no idea where flowers come from, yet 58 percent would prefer flowers that are homegrown.

Origin matters. Whether you’re focused on quality, longevity, sustainability, local jobs or the economy. Origin matters.

Look for the label when you buy your flowers. It makes a difference.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve repeated these messages during my time as the CEO of the California Cut Flower Commission to help drive awareness and raise the profile of the issues our American flower-farming families face.

I truly believe the more people that are aware, the more that know the issues facing America’s flower farmers, the more support we’ll see from elected officials, retailers and consumers.

Flower farm tours are fun for the whole family.

These are the same messages our flower farmers have shared with the thousands and thousands of people who have come through their farms over the nine years they have been giving these tours.

Nine years!

It’s amazing to think that our farms have been hosting these free public tours for nine years already.

Yet, nine years later, we’re still saying the same thing. Essentially, explaining why, “origin matters.”

A lot has changed over the last nine years. The American Grown Flowers movement is certainly one of them. More and more people care about where their flowers are coming from. We are seeing more and more new and beginning flower farmers. There are a lot of positive things happening right now.

However, I was struck by a report from one of our farmers who said he gave tours to about 500 people on Saturday. He said he would ask everyone in each group if they knew where the majority of cut flowers sold in the United States came from. He said that out of all of his groups that day, only one person said, “South America.”

One person out of 500!

Clearly, our effort is just as important and relevant today as it was when the tour was started.

We need to stay the course, stay on message and keep banging the drum for American Grown Flowers. It is making a difference.

I recall reading something leadership guru and author Michael Hyatt once quoted from a consultant he worked with who addressed this issue of repeated communication, saying, ““When you get tired of hearing yourself and you think that everyone is starting to get annoyed, you’re about half done.”

I’d say we’re just getting started.

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