California Grown Certification Returns Locally Grown Pride to the Rose Parade Print E-mail

Established in 1889, the Rose Parade was founded to showcase the beauty and bounty of California. It’s a concept that has become a national New Year’s Day tradition.

The flowers and foliage that adorned the parade carriages in the early days were from nearby California flower fields and served as a breathtaking visual display of what the state could grow at a time when much of the country was snowbound.

Today, the celebration of California’s locally grown flowers continues through a new program that honors and highlights floats and parade features dedicated to keeping the annual tradition of featuring locally grown blooms alive.

On December 31, the Buy California Marketing Committee (BCMA) and the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC) will recognize both California Polytechnic universities (San Luis Obispo and Pomona campuses) and FTD, Inc., for their commitment to California’s flower farmers.

The recognition event will be officiated by California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross, who will be joined by Congressional Cut Flower Caucus Co-Chair Congresswoman Lois Capps (D-24) and California’s Assembly Majority Leader Chris Holden of Pasadena.

“I’m excited to once again be honoring our Cal Poly students for their hard work and commitment to building a California Grown Certified float for this year’s Tournament of Roses Parade,” said Ross. “And it’s great to have FTD join in this important effort this year by decorating the VIP entries, including the parade’s Grand Marshal vehicle, with California Grown flowers.”

The California Grown Certification is a volunteer program that recognizes parade floats and VIP vehicles built with a minimum of 85 percent of cut flowers and greens from the Golden State.

The California flower industry has a $12.2 billion annual impact on the state’s economy. California’s flower farmers represent over 4,500 jobs and contribute $1.7 million to California’s economy every day.

“Highlighting the use of California Grown flowers not only harkens back to the origins of the parade, it puts a focus on the important movement toward American Grown, sustainable flowers that farmers are literally delivering from their farms to our homes,” said Kasey Cronquist, CCFC CEO and Ambassador.

FTD, the storied premier floral and gifting company, is proud to be the Official Floral Partner of the Tournament of Roses. FTD’s flower experts will design the floral on the official parade vehicles which carry the VIP dignitaries in the Rose Parade with certified California Grown products. FTD and its iconic Mercury Man symbol have a 60-year history of participating in the Rose Parade.  

“We are excited to be certifying this year’s VIP parade vehicles as California Grown,” said J. Keith White, FTD Education Consultant and lead designer for the Rose Parade VIP vehicles. “FTD counts on the high quality, locally grown flowers from California every day, and the Rose Parade is a perfect place for us to highlight our commitment and support for California’s local flower farms.”

The float from the Cal Poly campuses, with a theme of “Soaring Stories,” will also receive certification on the 31st. “We are proud to be certified California Grown again this year,” said Cal Poly San Luis Obispo President Jeff Armstrong. “Our universities are dedicated to educating the next generation of farmers and ranchers in California, so it’s only natural that we are committed to supporting the hard-working flower farmers in California today, many of whom are alumni.” 

“California grown flowers play a significant role not only in the history and beauty of the Rose Parade, but also in California’s agricultural economy,” said Congresswomen Lois Capps. “I’m particularly proud of Cal Poly’s recognition for their work and ongoing commitment to using locally grown flowers for their floats. I look forward to seeing the beauty of their efforts on full display at the Rose Parade.”

# # #

About the California Cut Flower Commission:

The California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC) is a state agency created in 1990 by the Legislature to advocate and promote California cut flowers and foliage farmers. For more information about California Grown flowers, visit www.ccfc.org.

About the Buy California Marketing Agreement and the “California Grown” Program:

The Buy California Marketing Agreement (BCMA) is a joint effort of agricultural industry groups representing the products of California’s farms and ranches. Working as an advisory board to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, BCMA brings together industry and government resources to increase the awareness, consumption and value of California agricultural products, helping the state’s consumers enjoy the best of the California lifestyle. For more information, visit www.californiagrown.org.