Based on the seven years that I’ve been serving as CEO & Ambassador with the California Cut Flower Commission, this past Valentine’s Day appears to have been the best coverage by media that we’ve ever seen for our American flower farms. Definitely the best during my tenure here.
Why was this year so good? And what made the difference?
It’s certainly never just one thing, but the three things that I know helped to make this year’s Valentine’s Day coverage for locally grown flowers the best ever were:
- Debra Prinzing’s SlowFlowers.com
- Certified American Grown campaign
- Increasing number of caring consumers, designers & decision makers (aka flower buyers)
Debra Prinzing & SlowFlowers.com
You might recall my post, “She’s Going To Change Valentine’s Day Forever” featuring SlowFlowers.com founder Debra Prinzing that I published before Valentine’s Day last year. In fact, this was my most popular blog post in 2014 and foreshadowed the successful launch of Debra’s SlowFlowers.com. From an idea, to an Indigogo campaign to a robust online directory of florists who are proudly acknowledging their commitment to local, American Grown flowers, this helped to provide consumers who care, a place to go to find the homegrown blooms they’re looking for. Certified American Grown flowers and our farms benefited greatly from the “Big Story” published by the Associated Press on Slow Flowers. From there, the AP story took off and was found in many other local and regional newspapers prior to Valentine’s Day.
Certified American Grown campaign
Like SlowFlowers.com, this was the first Valentine’s Day for the Certified American Grown brand that was launched by a nationwide coalition of flower farmers in July of 2014. The new campaign provides consumers and retailers alike the only label in the market that guarantees that 100% of the flowers in a bouquet or bunch are grown and assembled in the United States. Retailers throughout our country began taking receipt of flowers labeled ‘American Grown’ this past fall and the testimonies of success have begun to come in.
Increasing Care (aka #OriginMatters)
We know Americans care about what’s American Grown, because we asked them. A recent nationwide consumer research study by the Buy California Marketing Agreement found that 77% of Americans would prefer to buy agriculture products grown in the United States over those grown and then imported from another country. SlowFlowers.com and the Certified American Grown campaign now provide two tremendous resources for consumers to find and identify our homegrown blooms. Not only do consumers care, but more and more flower buyers and retailers are electing to support and source more American Grown flowers. Reasors, a retailer in Oklahoma, has welcomed the Certified American Grown label as a resource for their customers to support what’s local. Christina Stembel of Farmgirl Flowers in San Francisco and Ellen Frost of Local Color Flowers in Baltimore are also examples of florists who have built successful floral design businesses on marketing that they source 100% American Grown flowers. To top it off, it was just one year ago this month that the White House itself choose to highlight their commitment to American Grown flowers during their only state dinner in 2014. The momentum of care, concern and support for our local flower farmers continues to grow.
The combination of all of this energy and support for locally grown flowers culminated in a tremendous week of media and press featuring the Slow Flowers and Certified American grown campaigns this Valentine’s Day. Not only was there a big story in the AP, but Reuters, LA Times, USA Today, the Oregonian, the Denver Post and other regionally based media outlets all highlighted the “cultural shift” towards locally grown flowers that is taking place in our country.