Just days before Valentine’s Day, the Washington Post’s front-page feature highlights why 95 percent of roses are now imported into the United States and how subsidies and trade agreements for foreign flowers have had an overall negative impact on America’s flower-farming families.
Click the image above to read the full article.
The article, “In Rose Beds, Money Blooms
,” discusses the detrimental effects U.S. efforts to reduce Colombian drug production have had on American flower production over a 27-year period.
- Statistics highlighted in the story include:
- 30 flights leave Colombia for Miami every day in the run-up to Valentine’s Day.
- Each plane carries 1 million flowers.
- Colombian minimum wage is under $300 a month or approximately $13 a day. In comparison, California’s minimum wage will be $15 per hour by 2023.
- Walmart alone is purchasing 24 million Colombian roses to sell for Valentine’s Day.
- The American flower industry has seen its production of roses drop roughly 95 percent, from 545 million to less than 30 million.
America’s flower farmers aren’t giving up.
To help counter these negative impacts, consumers will find more flowers labeled Certified American Grown in the market this Valentine’s Day.
Kasey Cronquist, administrator for Certified American Grown, a coalition of American flower farmers, was quoted in the Washington Post article, saying;
“What we’re challenged by is Colombia as the low-cost provider, and it’s the reason we don’t have many rose farmers in the United States today.” Cronquist has led a push for tougher restrictions on Colombian exports. “It’s a machine, and it’s built on influence and the ability to drive the market.”
“It’s never too late to do the right thing,” Cronquist goes on to explain. “President Trump has said he understands just how unfair these trade agreements have been for our U.S. producers. There are certainly steps that can be taken to better level this playing field for our flower farmers so they can better compete with countries like Colombia, and it starts at the White House.”
Since the Obama administration, American flower farmers have been encouraging the White House to adopt an all-American Grown policy on the flowers displayed in the first family’s home.
Each year, farmers from around the country head to Washington, D.C. to lobby on behalf of American Flower Farms. Photo by Nony Park of Ken Pak Photography
“It is certainly symbolic,” shares Cronquist. “Like all the food and wine served at the White House, having this tradition extended to the flowers that are featured would mean a lot to our farmers.”
Would you like to do a Valentine’s Day interview an American flower farmer or Certified American Grown Administrator Kasey Cronquist? Contact him on his cell phone at 805.696.5000 or email at Kasey@AmericanGrownFlowers.org
About Certified American Grown
Launched on July 1, 2014, Certified American Grown represents a unified and diverse coalition of U.S. flower farms, including small and large entities in multiple states across the country. Certified American Grown flower farms participate in an independent, third-party supply-chain audit to verify both origin and assembly of the flowers they grow. When it appears on bouquets, bunches and other packaging or store signage, the Certified American Grown Brand and logo gives consumers confidence in the source of their flowers and assures them that the flowers they purchase come from a domestic American flower farm. For more information about Certified American Grown flowers, visit americangrownflowers.org