Where has the time gone? I’m writing this as my last Quarterly Regional Report because I have come to the end of my second term as the first ASCFG Canada Regional Director. Wow, I never would have seen this coming when I first received my membership as a birthday gift 10 years ago. I had been growing flowers for a few years and at that point I was a young mother who was growing flowers to get some side income while on maternity leave. I had read Lynn Byczynski’s book cover to cover. I never saw flower farming as a career until I went to my first ASCFG event in Wooster, Ohio in 2013. My husband and 2 young sons took our first family road trip to this regional meeting. Mark (my husband) was so awesome; he kept the boys in the hotel room and brought our youngest at breaks and lunches so I could feed him. I remember talking Mark’s ear off the whole way home, telling him all the things I learned and all the things I wanted to do. The world has changed so much since then and we are able to connect so much easier now. But 10 years ago, I didn’t know there were people out there as flower crazy as me. Thank you to you all, the Flower People.

I’m very proud of how the ASCFG has grown in the last many years. Exponential membership growth, embracing online education, surviving a pandemic, returning to in-person conferences, and still providing the best information, value, and experience for the members. Your board, Executive Staff, and Support Staff are the hardest working and most caring people ever. I had no idea what all was involved behind the scenes until I was immersed in it.

I am grateful for all the friends I have met through the Association and while serving on the board. I have loved sharing over breakfast, on the Facebook group, in line at the lunch buffet, on the bus to a tour or even until way too late at the hotel bar. There is always someone who understands your successes and challenges. They are also there as an ear to listen or a voice to encourage you back to your “why”. There may be borders, time zones, and even oceans between us but some of the people I admire and relate to the most are within this organization.

Sharing information and being involved is so rewarding. It is so nice to hear feedback from a member about how a question of theirs that I answered on the Facebook group really helped. Or having a person beeline straight to me at a conference to ask me more about a topic I wrote about in the Quarterly. And being greeted by a smiling face with “I recognize you from the magazine.” makes all the volunteer work all worth it.

I had the honour of welcoming members to my farm this summer by hosting an ASCFG Farm Tour. It was the week after the conference and the tour at Fivefork Farms. Grace and her team at Fivefork did such an amazing job—I was nervous having members at my farm. It was a wonderful day. We had a neighbour who is a professional videographer and drone operator come and take a video. I’m excited that the video of our tour will live on; check it out on the ASCFG website.

I am excited to pass the torch to the next Canada Regional Director (whomever is elected). I wish them the best in the role. Representing the entire country is a big deal but we are lucky to have our own distinction within the organization. I’m looking forward to attending ASCFG events in the future as a member again. I’m sure I will still be found helping out if needed—it’s the Canadian way.

Thank you again to the Executive Staff, past and present board members, and to the members. We are truly lucky to have such an amazing Association to be part of. Until we meet again!

Janis Harris

Harris Flower Farm

Contact her at [email protected]