Last week, a delegation of flower farmers headed to Washington, D.C., to present the issues and concerns of American flower farmers to U.S. policymakers. These farmers left their farms, committed to the common cause, worked together, and shared their voices and insights on key topics, from immigration reform to ensuring the NASS floriculture report continues to requesting that the Trump administration feature American Grown Flowers in the White House.
This kind of trip isn’t possible without having a myriad of voices sharing their perspectives and passions in every meeting held. These flower farmers, along with floral designer Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore, brought their A-games!
“I feel we made great progress in Washington, D.C., this year,” explained Benno Dobbe of Holland America Flowers, a Certified American Grown Council member and chair of the California Cut Flower Commission’s Governmental Affairs Committee. “This was the very best trip we’ve put together. Very productive.”
Flower Farmers also went to the White House to discuss a key request: to have American Grown Flowers and Greens exclusively featured within the White House. This very special meeting went especially well, as the delegation explained why it was important that, like the wine and food served in the White House, President Donald Trump should take an “America First” approach to the flowers that are displayed in White House floral arrangements.
“I’m very encouraged by the year-over-year progress we make in Washington, D.C.,” shared Rita Jo Shoultz of Alaska Perfect Peony and a Certified American Grown Council member. “This trip and these meetings have really helped elevate the value of our farm in the minds of our elected officials, their staff and members of this administration.”
All in all, it was the group’s general consensus that this year’s trip was our most successful D.C. fly-in on record! Voices were heard. We met with the right people and made new connections. We grew the Congressional Cut Flower Caucus. And we came back with a sense that we made good progress on key topics.
Our thanks goes out to the following farmers, as well as Kelly Shore and federal affairs representative Jumana Misleh who did an outstanding job putting the schedule together and setting up meetings for our delegation:
- Fred VanWingerden – Pyramid Flowers, Oxnard
- Edith VanWingerden – Pyramid Flowers, Oxnard
- Ivor VanWingerden – Ocean Breeze Flowers, Nipomo
- Brooks VanWingerden – Ocean Breeze Flowers, Nipomo
- Bruce Brady – Mellano & Company, San Luis Rey
- Benno Dobbe, Holland America Flowers, Woodland
- Ko Klaver, Botanical Trading Co, Beltsville
- Kelly Shore, Petals By The Shore,
- Werner Jansen – Bloomia, King George
- David Register – FernTrust, Seville
- Quinton Tschetter – Tschetter Flowers, Oskaloosa
- Carolyn Tschetter – Tschetter Flowers, Oskaloosa
- Rita Jo Shoultz – Alaska Perfect Peony, Homer
- Betty Joslyn – Josyln Peonies, Homer
If you would like to be part of next year’s delegation, experience the process of advocating for your farm and being part of a team effort that makes a difference, email Andrea Philpot at Andrea@AmericanGrownFlowers.org to sign up. The trip will be held February 25-28, 2020.