Judy Laushman, Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers:

"US: "Locally grown flowers preferred over imported flowers"

About 80% of the flowers sold in the United States are not grown in North America, but in Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, the Netherlands, and Israel. However, the demand for locally grown flowers is increasing. This is explained by Judy Laushman, Executive Director at the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers (ASCFG).

People are becoming increasingly aware of what they consume in general and where it is coming from. "Increasingly more people are following the slow foods movement; a movement that strives to preserve traditional and regional cuisine. This also goes for flowers", says Laushman. Additionally, taking into account the carbon footprint, it is more environmentally friendly to buy locally grown flowers."

Even though this demand for locally grown flowers is on the rise, a lot still needs to be done regarding the perception of the flowers and consequently the marketing activities to promote flowers. "In the US, flowers are still considered a luxury item and people do not buy them as much as, for example, the Europeans do. Therefore, flowers in general need to be promoted in the US."

Flower Bucket Challenge photos (Source: ASCFG)

In order to increase the demand for locally grown flowers and the demand for flowers in general, ASCFG set up a promotion activity that is currently being carried out; The Flower Bucket Challenge. In this challenge, people need to take a picture of themselves holding a bucket or a basket filled with locally grown flowers. "It encourages people to buy locally grown flowers and, at the same time, it increases the popularity of flowers in general." says Laushman. Another marketing tool, is the ASCFG Flower Search. "Flower buyers can use this online tool to find flower farms near them by searching by state, or for specific flower crops."

The Flower Bucket Challenge and the Flower Search is only a small part of what ASCFG is doing, they support growers of specialty cut flowers in several other ways. In 1988, it was formed to unite and educate field and greenhouse cut flower growers. It provides an identity for the specialty cut flower industry. It connects more than 800 small and medium sized flower growers across the United States and provides them with production, marketing, and research information through periodicals, online communications and national and regional meetings.

"We are not there yet, but we will get there eventually." Laushman concludes.

For more information
Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers
Judy Laushman
Email: mail@ascfg.org

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