The Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers, Inc. (ASCFG) has seen tremendous membership growth in the last ten years, reports Executive Director Judy Laushman. “As the interest in all things local has increased, both growers and buyers are understanding the value of cut flowers produced closer to the consumer, and more farms are being created to meet the demand.”
To fulfill the needs of these growers, the ASCFG has for nearly 35 years provided production and marketing information through in-person and virtual education, as well as in its popular magazine, The Cut Flower Quarterly. The ASCFG also sponsors on-farm and academic research, coordinates mentor and scholarship programs, and conducts the only major cut flower trial in North America, in which growers evaluate new varieties of annual and perennial cut flowers. Its members and their floral products can be found at localflowers.org.
In 2021, the ASCFG hosted nine single-day Farm Tours, providing opportunities for members to be together for the first time since the pandemic. Twelve Farm Tours are scheduled for 2022, including British Columbia, North Carolina, Ontario, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Illinois, Kansas, Arizona, Ohio, and Maryland.
The ASCFG Conference will also return in August, to be held in Framingham, Massachusetts. The educational sessions offer a wide range of learning opportunities, ranging from winter tulip production to business planning and sustainable urban cut flower farming and soil health methods. A morning tour of nearby Fiveforks Farm will cap off the week.
Growers often comment that the strength of this organization lies in the generosity of its members, known for sharing their experiences with each other without the worry of competition or market imbalance. It is with this sense of optimism and confidence that ASCFG members continue to thrive.