Save the date for SAF's 2024 events

The Society of American Florists announced its premiere in-person events for 2024, open to floral community members from all industry segments.

Next Gen LIVE!, February 25-27, San Diego
SAF is building on the success of the past two Next Gen LIVE! Conferences and taking the event to the West Coast, where floral pros 45 and under will tour flower farms, network, and attend educational sessions tailored for their generation, by their generation.

The Next Gen LIVE! 2023 conference in June drew 180 young retailers, wholesalers, importers, growers, breeders, and manufacturers to Miami, where they got a glimpse into the importing scene, toured several Miami-are progressive floral shops, and attended educational sessions focused on leadership, communication, social media skills and more.

“All of the sessions were absolutely incredible, but I think the thing that changed me the most was being around so many like-minded individuals — especially people so close to my age,” says Danae McKenna of Radebaugh Florist and Greenhouses in Towson, Maryland. “To be around all of those people that can share their experiences and give me advice on how they handled things was just incredible.”

The event is unique because it exposes young floral professionals to different facets of the industry and enables them to develop leadership skills and network with peers, which can help keep them in and excited about the industry, says SAF CEO Kate Penn.

“This event addresses a strategic priority for our industry: engaging the next generation of talent,” Penn says. “It’s something the entire industry can really embrace because the success of the industry depends on it.”

44th Annual Congressional Action Days, March 18-19, Washington, D.C.
Floral professionals will continue their work on Capitol Hill in March during Congressional Action Days, where in 2022, they successfully lobbied for and secured a $1 million increase in annual funding for the Floriculture Nursery & Research Initiative.

During the March 2023 event, attendees successfully lobbied to protect that increase in FNRI funding for the fiscal year 2024 budget despite cuts across other domestic spending programs. They also discussed the need to reform agricultural labor, provide access to duty-free flowers, and renew the Farm Bill, which provides funding for innovations, research, and disaster relief for specialty crops. At CAD 2024, Farm Bill renewal negotiations will likely be front and center on Capitol Hill and be at the top of the list of SAF’s legislative asks.

“Our legislators need to hear about the issues affecting the floral industry,” President Michelle Castellano Keeler, AAF, says. “We need as many voices as possible to join us and share our priorities face to face with Congressional offices — especially in an election year.”

SAF Miami 2024, August 6-9, Miami
SAF’s 139th annual convention in 2024 is happening a month earlier than usual at the JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa in Aventura, Florida. The date was shifted to early August in response to feedback that September is a busy time of year with weddings and back to school, Penn says.

“We hope that this time of year makes it easier for our industry to step away from the business for a few days – and maybe even add on a vacation while they’re there,” she says.

SAF’s annual convention features more than two dozen educational sessions, the Sylvia Cup Design Competition, the Outstanding Varieties Competition, a Supplier Expo, and countless opportunities to network.

“SAF’s convention is one of the only places I know of where all floral industry segments come together to learn and get a better understanding of each role in the supply chain,” says Amy Desperito of Natural Flowers. “The educational content is exceptional, and the energy is electric!”

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