SLOW FLOWERS Podcast: Will 2014 be the Year We Save Our Flowers? (Episode 122)
January 1st, 2014
Greetings and Happy New Year! This is the first Slow Flowers Podcast episode of 2014 and I have devoted it to an essay about the state of the American floral industry and the critical changes that need to take place in order to save it.
Here are some highlights of my thoughts and ideas:
1. In early 2014, as promised for months, I will launch SLOWFLOWERS.com, a free nationwide online directory to florists, shops and studios who design with American Grown Flowers and the family farms who sell direct to the consumer. Please take a moment to sign up for more details – including the Beta Launch later this month.
2. Without the kind of valuable information shared by the amazing guests of the SLOW FLOWERS Podcast and without proper country-of-origin labeling on all flowers at the marketplace, American consumers simply do not know where their flowers come from. They do not know WHO grew those flowers. They do not know WHERE those flowers were grown and what SUSTAINABLE practices were used. *Infographic, courtesy of California Cut Flower Commission.
3. Above you will find two types of confusing labeling seen in the marketplace, used by retailers who are trying to ride the wave of American grown. These labels appeared on mixed bouquets of imported flowers. So the implication is that they are “local,” when all that’s local about those bunches was the fact that they were “assembled” with a twistie-tie or a rubber band in some nearby warehouse. It’s disheartening to see lack of leadership in flower retailing. Unless people like you and me object and insist on accurate product information, we will continue to witness this sort of dishonesty at the cash register.
4. Above you will find GREAT labeling from my friends Gretel and Steve Adams, flower farmers at Sunny Meadows Flower Farm in Columbus, Ohio, who promise “Local-Sustainable-Fresh” on all their bouquets and bunches. This is the precise type of information that helps consumers make an informed choice about the flowers they buy. It’s easy for their customers to log onto the farm’s web site and see photos of luscious, abundant fields and greenhouses of flowers growing in their own community.
5. The graph above begin in 1989, just prior the the Andean Trade Preference Agreement. You can see the dramatic trajectory of imports and how the U.S. government’s preferential treatment for South American flower producers has devastated domestic U.S. flower production. *Infographic, courtesy of California Cut Flower Commission. Let’s reverse this trend in 2014!
6. Today is January 1st and you may have seen the Pasadena Rose Parade broadcast on television. Tragically, only one out of 45 floats was created with all California-grown flowers. Read more about the status of Rose Floats that use imported flowers in yesterday’s Huffington Post column by Bill Prescott here. Read more about the Cal Poly All-American Float here. *”We want more California-grown floats,’ an article from Dec. 28, 2013 Santa Barbara Free-Press.
7. Please be conscious of your FLOWER MILE as much as you are of your FOOD MILE. *Infographic, courtesy of California Cut Flower Commission.
8. Take the AMERICAN FLOWERS Pledge in 2014! I look forward to sharing more inspiring flower stories from the farms who grow American flowers and the studios/designers/florists who sell and create beauty with American flowers in the coming year!
Thank you for joining me in this episode of the SLOW FLOWERS Podcast with Debra Prinzing.
Listeners have downloaded more than 4,500 episodes of the Slow Flowers Podcast since I launched it in July 2013. I thank you for taking the time to join to my conversations with flower farmers, florists and other notable floral experts.
If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.
Until next week please join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time.
The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about her work at hhcreates.net.