Greetings, everyone. At our spring meeting in lovely Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the ASCFG Board of Directors approved a one-time promotions account that can be used for outreach, promotion, and community building. We were prompted to be a part of such events by the proliferation of “mini meet-ups” going on in areas of the Northeast, where many growers are in close proximity and are eager to exchange horticultural and networking information relevant to their particular areas.Funding may be requested for partial sponsorship of a non-ASCFG event for commercial cut flower growers, hosted by a non-profit organization such as the extension service or an established regional growers’ organization.

 Since this is a new initiative, we’re testing the waters to gauge interest and to create protocol for the future.

Qualifying events would need to include complimentary registration for an ASCFG representative (such as Regional Director or active member), time for the ASCFG rep to speak, time for the ASCFG video to be screened, and a table for handout material.

The first event to lay the groundwork for the promotions fund comes from Rock Steady Farm in Hudson, New York. On July 17th, they’re hosting a workshop at the Etsy headquarters based in Hudson, and a farm tour focused on high tunnel production in the afternoon. Chris Wien, professor emeritus at Cornell University and now the Executive Director of the ASCFG Research Foundation, will be doing the morning presentation. The Hudson Valley Growers Network is a loose network of cut flower growers from New York City to Albany that has organized this training in conjunction with their local cooperative extension staff.

Another networking activity comes from Ardelia Farm in what we local folk call the “Northeast Kingdom” of Vermont. There have been discussions at ASCFG meetings about forming a study group to see if the formation of a cooperative to help in the marketing and distribution of our products makes sense on a regional level. The first step was to gather information via a survey forwarded to Nor’easters (spring 2016), so we have some data to consider. And the survey says…”I think my questionnaire raised more questions than it answered!” But it was a good place to start the conversation. Growers who are ready to wholesale to distributors—stay tuned!

Other models available to us via these member benefits include the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, Fairfield Flowers in Madison, Wisconsin, and eCommerce software, custom-created for ASCFG members to post availabilty and take orders from wholesale customers.Is “meet-up” about to become a new addition to the dictionary? The Atlantic Canadian growers had a meet-up earlier this spring, at Humble Burdock Farm in Nova Scotia. They hosted a group of mainly younger growers—lots of folks in their 20s and a few in their 30s, with a handful of folks in their (gasp!) 40s and 50s. It’s so encouraging to know that young folks are reviving the tradition of locally-grown cut flowers and local commerce. As we say often here at StrayCat, “You’re a rock star”!

At the spring gathering of the Atlantic Canadian Flower Farmers, the farmers’ market vendor training program was mentioned. I just wanted to share the link for it:

And check out this gem: BYOB Bring your own Boots! (and bagged lunch).

Best wishes during the peak of our season. Do access the Bulletin Board archives; there are generations of knowledge recorded there for your reading pleasure.