It’s so obvious, and such a great idea, that it’s surprising it’s not already common practice.
If the federal government is going to buy and showcase cut flowers and greens at events, memorials, to be displayed at national cemeteries or even for the day-to-day arrangements featured in the White House, shouldn’t they be grown in the U.S.?
Alaska Congressman Don Young, a member of the Congressional Cut Flowers Caucus, recently introduced legislation that would require the U.S. federal government to purchase cut flowers and greens grown in the U.S. for use in its facilities. The legislation is deemed the American Grown Act.
Consumer research commissioned by the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC) found that 74% of consumers have no idea where flowers come from. Therefore, the average taxpayer likely assumes the flowers they see displayed at national cemeteries, federal buildings and government events would naturally be grown in the U.S. However, the fact is that imports, primarily from South America, now make up approximately 80% of the flowers sold in the U.S.
Without this mandate, imports are likely making up the bulk of the flowers purchased by the federal government.
In proposing the legislation, Young said requiring the federal government to use American Grown Flowers and Greens to decorate its facilities shows support for American flower and greens farmers and raises awareness of the beauty they grow.
“It seems like a no-brainer that the United States should be putting American farmers first by choosing not to import cut flowers,” Young said. “Unfortunately for the federal government, this is not the case. American farmers are hugely disadvantaged by the foreign growers that are subject to fewer environmental regulations and labor standards, and it is time Congress does something to help our country’s farmers compete. Putting our farmers first starts at the top, and I am proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation. I encourage my friends on both sides of the aisle to do right by the flower and greens farmers in their districts and sign on to this important effort.”
“Once again, Congressman Young’s support and leadership to raise awareness and advocate for our Alaskan flower farmers is greatly appreciated,” said Alaskan peony farmer Rita Jo Shoultz of Homer, Alaska, and a member of the Certified American Grown Council. “The American Grown Act is something that makes sense and is a wonderful way to acknowledge and support our hardworking flower-farming families across America.”
“This is great news for U.S. cut flower farmers because the bill will bring special attention to the beautiful flowers and greens we grow,” said Benno Dobbe, a flower farmer with farms in Washington State and California. “It will definitely highlight our products and is an outstanding PR opportunity for flower farmers.”
We couldn’t agree more!
The bill has received support and endorsements on the Hill and around the country. Each of the six co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Cut Flower Caucus, including Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Rep. Salud Carbjal (D-CA), Rep. Ducan Hunter (R-CA), Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Rep. Chillie Pingree (D-ME) and Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) are original co-sponsors of the bill. Additionally, the legislation has received quick organizational endorsements from Certified American Grown, the Alaskan Peonies Growers Association, AmericanHort, California Farm Bureau Federation, California State Floral Association and the CCFC.
More information on the Congressional Cut Flower Caucus can be found at carbajal.house.gov/district/congressional-cut-flower-caucus.htm
More information about the American Grown Act can be at bit.ly/HR3019