Debra Prinzing

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Episode 502: New Findings on Consumer Attitudes About Domestic & Locally-Grown Flowers with Dave Whitinger and Paul Cohen of the 2021 National Gardening Survey

Wednesday, April 21st, 2021

Since Slow Flowers Society’s roots were established in 2013, there is a perennial question I’ve been asked over and over: How Do We Know if Consumers Care about Local Flowers?

I strongly believe having a statistically-accurate snapshot of people’s attitudes is one important way the Slow Flowers Movement can demonstrate and help move the needle on this subject. Yet, I’m aware of only two surveys that ever asked consumers about their attitudes toward domestic and local cut flowers — one in 2013 conducted by the California Grown Association and one in 2019 conducted for the Washington Flowers Project in my region. Clearly, we need research metrics to measure and document how awareness and attitudes are changing around one of the most important topics of the Slow Flowers Movement.

At the beginning of 2021, Slow Flowers Society began to collaborate with and invested in the well-respected National Gardening Survey, which has been conducted annually since 1973. Now, for the first time, the National Gardening Survey has established benchmarks around consumer attitudes on domestic and locally-grown cut flowers. The findings are so encouraging and we now have a statistically accurate tool to use to track changes and shifts in future years.

Dave Whitinger (left) and Paul Cohen (right), our guests today

I’m so pleased today to welcome the two men responsible for the 2021 National Gardening Survey, David Whitinger, National Gardening Association executive director, and Paul Cohen, research director and a professor in the Department of Business Administration at Carleton University and principal of Paul Cohen & Associates.

Dave and Paul will explain more about the National Gardening Survey, which is the comprehensive market research report that leaders in the lawn and garden industry count on each year to track consumer shifts and help them make strategic marketing decisions.

The Survey provides in-depth and up-to-date marketing information on industry trends, household participation, consumer profiles and retail sales. Nearly 2,500 U.S. households respond each year to an array of questions about their behavior and spending power in the lawn and garden space. Companies in the gardening industry financially support the research and sales of this year’s 361-page report provide revenue for the National Gardening Association.

Download our graphics inspired by survey findings. You are welcome to use them in your own conversations with customers, newsletter articles, blog posts and social media. It’s my goal that the Slow Flowers membership will join me and encourage discussion about consumer behavior and attitudes!

Social media graphics for IG:

Let’s dive right so you can hear the “big reveal” as we hear how survey respondents answered the two Slow Flowers questions:

How important is it that the flowers you purchase are American-grown?


How important is it that the flowers you purchase are locally-grown?

Thank you so much for joining me today as we geeked out on the research and contemplated what consumers think about your cut flowers. I’m eager to hear what you think! Do the rankings of 57% preference for domestic flowers and 58% preference for locally-grown flowers resonate with you experience as a flower farmer or floral designer? Please let me know your thoughts!

We are already beginning to plan for additional questions to pose in the 2022 National Gardening Survey, so please reach out if you have suggestions and/or if you’re interested in sponsoring this endeavor as a Slow Flowers partner. Let’s leverage the power of research and use this well-regarded study to validate our values and beliefs around the importance of local and domestic cut flowers.

Thanks to Ellen Frost of Local Color Flowers and Lisa Ziegler of The Gardener’s Workshop for helping me present a bonus Slow Flowers Meet-Up last week. Ellen shared her timely preview of her upcoming online course, “Growing Your Business With Local Flower Sourcing.” Registration for Ellen’s course continues through Friday, April 22nd so check out the link I’ve shared and join me in congratulating floral designer Teresa Rao of Belle Petale for winning our giveaway of one complimentary registration to Ellen’s course.

Please join me TOMORROW, April 22nd, on Earth Day, for an interactive IG Live Q&A on Sustainable Floral Design with Tobey Nelson and Becky Feasby. The event takes place at noon Pacific/3 pm Eastern. You’re invited to join us at @slowflowerssociety on Instagram! Hope to see you there!


You’re invited to join the Virtual Book Launch & Happy Hour on Tuesday, April 27th at 4 pm Pacific/7 pm Eastern to celebrate the publication of BLOOM Imprint’s first title, Where We Bloom
The Zoom Party will include a Q&A conversation with Robin Avni and me as we discuss how this beautiful and inspirational book came to be. We also will welcome:

  • Guest appearances from three of the Creatives whose spaces are included in the pages of Where We Bloom: Maura Feeney of Camellia Faire, Aishah Lurry of Patagonia Flower Farm and Susan Chambers of bloominCouture.
  • fun giveaways (2 signed copies of the new book + 2 sets of our BLOOM notecards) along with a few surprises from our Resource Section sponsors


  • a toast from Emily Thompson, of Emily Thompson Flowers, who wrote the sweet and personal foreword to Where We Bloom

Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by, the free, online directory to more than 850 florists, shops, and studios who design with local, seasonal and sustainable flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

Farmgirl Flowers Banner

And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2021, Farmgirl Flowers. Farmgirl Flowers delivers iconic burlap-wrapped bouquets and lush, abundant arrangements to customers across the U.S., supporting more than 20 U.S. flower farms by purchasing more than $9 million dollars of U.S.-grown fresh and seasonal flowers and foliage annually, and providing competitive salaries and benefits to 240 team members based in Watsonville, California and Miami, Florida. Discover more at

For each Podcast episode this year, we thank three of our Major Sponsors. Thank you to The Gardener’s Workshop, which offers a full curriculum of online education for flower farmers and farmer-florists. Online education is more important this year than ever, and you’ll want to check out the course offerings at

Our next sponsor thank you goes to Red Twig Farms. Based in Johnstown, Ohio, Red Twig Farms is a family-owned farm specializing in peonies, daffodils, tulips and branches, a popular peony-bouquet-by-mail program and their Spread the Hope Campaign where customers purchase 10 tulip stems for essential workers and others in their community. Learn more at

Our final sponsor thanks goes to Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Formed in 1988, ASCFG was created to educate, unite, and support commercial cut flower growers. It mission is to help growers produce high-quality floral material, and to foster and promote the local availability of that product. Learn more at

Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 716,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much. As our movement gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of our domestic cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too.

I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right at

(c) Missy Palacol Photography

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more Slow Flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto iTunes and posting a listener review.

The content and opinions expressed here are either mine alone or those of my guests alone, independent of any podcast sponsor or other person, company or organization.

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Brenlan. Learn more about his work at

Music Credits:

LaBranche; Brass Buttons; Turning on the Lights; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions

Lovely by Tryad

In The Field