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Welcome to the final Slow Flowers Podcast of 2016
Last year at this time, I mentioned that the Slow Flowers Podcast had been downloaded 76,000 times in two-and-one-half years.
Today, I can tell you that 2016’s listenership nearly doubled that total, meanings as many people tuned into this weekly episode in 12 months than in the previous 30 months combined.
That’s the best news I could ask for as we reflect on the successes and strides of 2016.
Every single week this year; in fact, every single week for 178 weeks, it has been my privilege to feature the voices of our Slow Flowers community with you.
You’ve heard from flower farmers and floral designers, pioneers and personalities, who together are changing the floral landscape, disrupting the status quo, and bringing flower sourcing and growing practices, not to mention eco-conscious design methods, to the center of the conversation.
As I have done since the beginning of 2014, I would like to dedicate today’s episode to the Slow Flowers Highlights we’ve witnessed this year.
Next week, on January 4th, I will share my 2017 floral industry forecast with you.
As the Slow Flowers Movement gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too.
I’ll start with some ACCOLADES
2016 kicked off with a lovely surprise as the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market honored me with the Growers’ Choice Award for outstanding contributions to revitalizing the local floral community. The flower farmers and staff of this innovated farm-to-florist wholesale market are near and dear to my heart, and it’s so gratifying to receive their recognition. My efforts to promote and sustain domestic flowers is especially sweet because of those who gave me this award.
In September, the Garden Writers Association, my professional community, honored Slowflowers.com – the web site – with a Silver Medal in the digital media category. The organization also inducted me into the Hall of Fame, an honor given to one person each year — an unexpected and humbling acknowledgement for my work in gardening communications.
And then there’s VALENTINE’S DAY
The opportunity for engaging the media in a discussion about American grown flowers, local flowers and the origin and growing practices of flowers at Valentine’s Day is an obvious one — and we have been vocal about sharing the Slow Flowers story.
The 2016 press was major, with Martha Stewart Living’s mention of Slow Flowers and the slowflowers.com directory in its February 2016 issue –
Here’s the text:
“The benefits of choosing locally grown foods over those from all over the world extends to flowers as well. That’s why garden and features editor Melissa Ozawa likes Slowflowers.com, an online directory of more than 600 florists and flower farms across the United States. The site offers local blooms in season (for instance, winter tulips or anemones, if you’re in the Northwest). Have your heart set on classic roses? It also helps users find growers in California and Oregon that ship nationally.”
There you have it! Short and VERY sweet!
Individually, none of us could have earned this type of media attention from a magazine with paid circulation of more than 2 million subscribers, monthly newsstand sales of 115,000 issues and total audience reach of more than 9 million. The demographics of the Martha Stewart reader are in close alignment with your own floral business.
You can feel especially proud of what we’ve accomplished knowing that the value of this earned media mention is $45,000, something that none of us could have ever afforded if we purchased advertising space in the magazine.
As for travel, in 2016, well, I retained my MVP Gold status on Alaska Airlines, which means I spent more than 40,000 miles in the air in 2016.
Perhaps not an accomplishment when it comes to burning jet fuel, but to me, the amount of travel I was able to make on behalf of floral promotion, including connecting with many of you, was significant — and to compensate for that travel footprint, I tried to engage with as many flower farmers and florists at every destination!
I attended seven lovely and inspiring FIELD TO VASE DINNERS, serving as co-host and sponsor.
Slow Flowers partnered with the Certified American Grown campaign’s Field to Vase Dinner Tour, which took me to flower farms in California, Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Washington State.
I teamed up with Kasey Cronquist, administrator of the Certified American Grown brand, to welcome more hundreds of dinner guests who enjoyed local food AND local flowers, who heard the Slow Flowers message and met and learned from Slow Flowers member farms and designers.
It has been a huge honor to be part of the Field to Vase Dinner tour for the past two years — and I am confident that the dinners helped to change attitudes, assumptions and understanding about the origin of flowers at the center of the table. And a footnote, the Field to Vase Dinner Tour dates for 2017 should be announced soon.
At many of my travel destinations, I was able to meet Slow Flowers members and even take part in Slow Flowers Meet-Ups.
I can’t tell you how meaningful it has been to put faces and voices to names I perhaps only before knew via social media.It was thrilling to visit cities and towns where I was welcomed into beautiful shops and studios, as well as onto prolific farms where domestic flowers flourished.
Many of those events only took place because so many of you stepped up to host me and I want to thank the following folks for making connections possible when I was in their towns:
In early February, Gloria Collins, GBC Style, hosted me at her Manhattan apartment when I visited NYC. We recorded a podcast episode and took Laura Dowling’s design workshop together at Flower School New York — what a fabulous experience.
Later that month, for the third consecutive year, I traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet up with a motivated group of American Flower Farmers for the annual “Fly In” sponsored by California Cut Flower Commission and Certified American Grown.
I participated in the day-long advisory board meeting for Certified American Grown, where I fill the Consumer Advocate seat. And I joined farmers on visits to meet staff in congressional and senate offices, as we shared the message of domestic and local flowers. A highlight for Diane Szukovathy of Jello Mold Farm, and me was meeting our own amazing Senator Patty Murray, and thanking her for support she and her staff have given Washington state’s local flower farmers.
During my time in D.C., I also hosted a Slow Flowers Meet-Up at Tabard Inn, a beautiful historic venue in the nation’s capitol. There was a crazy storm that caused some of our members in the Maryland, Virginia, and D.C., area to miss the event, but we had about two dozen together for cocktails and conversation — and I was inspired by our conversations and connections made.