Debra Prinzing

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SLOW FLOWERS Podcast: Will 2014 be the Year We Save Our Flowers? (Episode 122)

January 1st, 2014

Greetings and Happy New Year! This is the first Slow Flowers Podcast episode of 2014 and I have devoted it to an essay about the state of the American floral industry and the critical changes that need to take place in order to save it.  

Here are some highlights of my thoughts and ideas:




1. In early 2014, as promised for months, I will launch, a free nationwide online directory to florists, shops and studios who design with American Grown Flowers and the family farms who sell direct to the consumer. Please take a moment to sign up for more details – including the Beta Launch later this month. 


2. Without the kind of valuable information shared by the amazing guests of the SLOW FLOWERS Podcast and without proper country-of-origin labeling on all flowers at the marketplace, American consumers simply do not know where their flowers come from. They do not know WHO grew those flowers. They do not know WHERE those flowers were grown and what SUSTAINABLE practices were used. *Infographic, courtesy of California Cut Flower Commission.


3. Above you will find two types of confusing labeling seen in the marketplace, used by retailers who are trying to ride the wave of American grown. These labels appeared on mixed bouquets of imported flowers. So the implication is that they are “local,” when all that’s local about those bunches was the fact that they were “assembled” with a twistie-tie or a rubber band in some nearby warehouse. It’s disheartening to see lack of leadership in flower retailing. Unless people like you and me object and insist on accurate product information, we will continue to witness this sort of dishonesty at the cash register.


 4. Above you will find GREAT labeling from my friends Gretel and Steve Adams, flower farmers at Sunny Meadows Flower Farm in Columbus, Ohio, who promise “Local-Sustainable-Fresh” on all their bouquets and bunches. This is the precise type of information that helps consumers make an informed choice about the flowers they buy. It’s easy for their customers to log onto the farm’s web site and see photos of luscious, abundant fields and greenhouses of flowers growing in their own community.

cutflower_graph5. The graph above begin in 1989, just prior the the Andean Trade Preference Agreement. You can see the dramatic trajectory of imports and how the U.S. government’s preferential treatment for South American flower producers has devastated domestic U.S. flower production. *Infographic, courtesy of California Cut Flower Commission. Let’s reverse this trend in 2014!


6. Today is January 1st and you may have seen the Pasadena Rose Parade broadcast on television. Tragically, only one out of 45 floats was created with all California-grown flowers. Read more about the status of Rose Floats that use imported flowers in yesterday’s Huffington Post column by Bill Prescott here. Read more about the Cal Poly All-American Float here.  *”We want more California-grown floats,’ an article from Dec. 28, 2013 Santa Barbara Free-Press.

How far is Too Far

7. Please be conscious of your FLOWER MILE as much as you are of your FOOD MILE. *Infographic, courtesy of California Cut Flower Commission.


8. Take the AMERICAN FLOWERS Pledge in 2014! I look forward to sharing more inspiring flower stories from the farms who grow American flowers and the studios/designers/florists who sell and create beauty with American flowers in the coming year!

Thank you  for joining me in this episode of the SLOW FLOWERS Podcast with Debra Prinzing.

Listeners have downloaded more than 4,500 episodes of the Slow Flowers Podcast since I launched it in July 2013. I thank you for taking the time to join to my conversations with flower farmers, florists and other notable floral experts.

If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

Until next week please join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. 

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about her work at 



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4 Responses to “SLOW FLOWERS Podcast: Will 2014 be the Year We Save Our Flowers? (Episode 122)”

  1. Miriam Goldberger Says:

    Bravo Debra! Onward and upward in 2014! Thank you for your passion and your leadership in the Slow Flower Movement!

  2. david dahlson Says:

    This discussion is crucial to our industry and you raise many good points. Unfortunately, it is not an issue that is easily resolved. If the object is to encourage USA grown flowers for domestic consumption, then that is laudable. If people purchase flowers grown locally, say within 100 mile radius, that will work in many areas. In south Florida there are very limited amounts of flowers available. If I bring them in from California, the carbon footprint is double that of bringing them to Florida from Colombia!
    So the discussion is great, but there are many aspects that need to be considered, and there are no simple solutions.

    Hi David, thanks for writing! I’m convinced that if more consumers demand locally-grown, then farmers will be emboldened to expand their fields and plant more flowers. It doesn’t make sense to ship flowers to Florida from California – you’re right. But it does make sense for retailers, florists, flower wholesalers and designers to nurture their local farms by supporting them! I hope to showcase Florida flower farms and florists in the upcoming launch of Stay tuned — Debra

  3. Viv Herman Cws Says:

    Outstanding! I feel like I’ve been living under a rock…..with a brain to match. I’ve just fallen in love with the farmer-florist. I’ve been on both sides of this fence,-( on a small scale), compared to others out there. I feel this is very important. I’m in the process of a “life-shift” in this business, –and I now know which direction I’m going! I only wish I’d have known of this sooner.

  4. Debra Prinzing » Post » 2015 Floral Insights and Industry Forecast (Episode 174) Says:

    […] The segment I recorded one year ago, for the January 1st episode, asked: Will 2014 be the year we save our flowers? […]

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