Certified American Grown, a diverse and unified coalition of small to large cut flower and greens farms across the United States, has transitioned from a marketing and governmental relations group under the auspices of the California Cut Flower Commission to an independent trade association.
The reimagined organization is the only floral organization that certifies the origin of the flowers and greens the members grow, process, package and market. Membership in the organization is building as farmers seek to connect with the past efforts of Certified American Grown to open markets, increase sales of domestic cut flowers and greens and share the “origin matters” message with consumers.
As a trade association, Certified American Grown will continue its efforts to lobby on behalf of cut flower and greens farmers in Washington, D.C., sponsor American Grown Flowers Month in July, host the annual American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour and give consumers confidence in the source of their flowers and greens by providing a third-party guarantee validating the bouquets and bunches purchased were actually homegrown.
“I’m flattered and humbled to have been elected the first chair of the new independent Certified American Grown organization. I’ve enjoyed working with members of the Certified American Grown Council in the past and was thrilled when council members agreed to be part of our new board,” said Rita Jo Shoultz, owner of Alaska Perfect Peony. “We’ve worked well together in the past, and I’m excited to be collaborating again to continue to promote the importance, value and unmatched beauty of American grown flowers and greens.”
“This will be an innovative group to watch, and I look forward to an exciting future for our new, independent association,” said Dave Pruitt, administrator of Certified American Grown. “We’re excited to continue to connect people to the amazing flowers and greens grown right here in the U.S. and to grow consumers’ bond to a product that connects and brings joy to so many.”
Members of the Certified American Grown Formation Board are:
- Rita Jo Shoultz, Alaska Perfect Peony, chair;
- Mike A. Mellano, Mellano & Co., vice chair;
- Ko Klaver, Botanical Trading Co., secretary
- Rene Van Wingerden, Ocean Breeze Farms, treasurer;
- Benno Dobbe, Holland American Flowers;
- Diana Roy, Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers;
- Lane DeVries, Sun Valley Floral Farms;
- FJ Trzuskowksi, Continental Floral Greens;
- Frank Arnosky, Texas Specialty Cut Flower;
- Michael Genovese, Summer Dream Farms;
- Andrea Gagnon, LynnVale Studios;
- David Register, Fern Trust;and
- Erik Hagstrom, Albin Hagstrom & Son.
By the end of the year, the new board will present its vision and goals, including a new 2021 schedule for the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour, a signature event from Certified American Grown.