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Congress supports American-grown flowers for Mother’s Day

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A bouquet of pink roses may or my not have been grown domestically.

A bouquet of pink roses may or my not have been grown domestically.

It may be more than a bit late, but the House and Senate have voted to support American-grown flowers for Mothers Day, and presumably other occasions when flowers are a thoughtful gesture.

“As Sunday’s holiday approaches, we remember that Mother’s Day is the most important day of the year for America’s flower farmers, with two-thirds of Americans purchasing flowers to honor their moms,” says Kasey Cronquist, administrator of the Certified American Grown program. “We are very pleased that on May 5, 2015, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), with the help of Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), sponsored and unanimously passed in the Senate a resolution to honor America Grown flowers and the people who cultivate them on the occasion of Mother’s Day.”

“We are very appreciative to Sen. Feinstein for drafting the resolution and for her long-term leadership on flower farming and overall agricultural issues. Her Senate Resolution 166 notes that ‘purchasing flowers grown in the United States supports the farmers, small businesses, jobs and economy of the United States….(and) flowers grown in the U.S. enhance the ability of Americans to honor their mothers on Mothers Day,'” said Cronquist.

“Today, as the senators noted, millions of stems of domestically grown flowers are now Certified American Grown and the Slow Flowers movement continues to expand across all 50 states,” said Prinzing, author of Slow Flowers. “The support in both the House and Senate is welcome news for flower farmers across the country.

Last Friday, the four leaders of the House Cut Flower Caucus introduced an identical bill, H. Res. 245, in the House of Representatives. We very much appreciate that Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA), Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) have started this cut flower caucus to educate their colleagues in Congress about the economic and cultural impact of cut flower farming. We look forward to building co-sponsors on their resolution, which is a wonderful first step for the organization.

“We appreciate our champions in the Senate and the U.S. House for their support for America’s flower-farming families. It’s a milestone moment in our efforts to encourage consumers to seek out locally and sustainably grown flowers,” Prinzing said.

Commenting on the resolution, Sen. Feinstein said: “We know that Americans want to support local businesses and increasing consumers’ awareness about the flower industry will encourage them to look for that ‘Certified American Grown’ label.”

Americans will spend more than $2 billion on flowers this Mother’s Day, and nearly $25 billion per year on floral products. Research shows that 58 percent of consumers would prefer to buy domestically grown flowers, an option made more clear-cut by the American Grown movement.

The American Grown Flowers brand symbolizes a unified and diverse coalition of U.S. flower farms representing small and large entities across the country. The Certified American Grown Flowers initiative has partnered with Certified Inc., an independent, third-party agency that verifies the source of products made and grown in the USA. Participating flower farms are certified by this agency through a supply chain audit that qualifies them to add the Certified American Grown logo to their floral packaging, websites and other marketing materials. To learn more, visit AmericanGrownFlowers.org.

The web site is a free, nationwide online directory to American flowers and the people who grow and design with them. Created by American flower advocate Debra Prinzing in 2014, the resource has grown to more than 550 members in 50 states. The site connects consumers with the farms, shops, studios and designers who provide American grown (local and domestic) flowers, ensuring transparency about the origin of each stem. To learn more, visit Slowflowers.com.

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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