California floral farms are on a mission to get designers of flower-covered Rose Parade floats to use blossoms grown in-state instead of blooms from South America. And at least two floats set to participate in the California tradition have heeded the call.
Floats from Pasadena and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo will be covered with Oxnard-grown Gerber daisies, ideals for the floats because of their wide blooms and vibrant colors.
"That’s taking the parade back to its roots," said Kasey Cronquist, with CA Cut Flower Commission. "Those floats in the beginning were all California grown."
Sun Valley Flora farms survived a mass shift among consumers from buying locally-grown flowers to purchasing those imported from South America, in part, by specializing in flowers that thrive in the California climate.
"Our company specializes in bulb crops, like tulips, like iris, like lilies. Those crops grow very well in California," said Lane Devrie, with Sun Valley Floral Farms.
Devrie and Cronquist are two men on a mission to bring one of California’s signature events back to its origins.
California grown labels (pictured below) are part of the effort to steer consumers to buy flowers grown locally. That will make a difference in the state’s economy, Cronquist said.
"We represent 15,000 direct jobs; over 122,000 jobs related to the industry throughout the state; and a $10.3 billion economic impact," Cronquist said. "I think that speaks to people today."
Workers in the city of Pasadena and students at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo wanted to echo that statement by adorning their floats with locally grown flowers.
"Our schools are deeply engrained in California agriculture and I think it’s the right thing to do to support our California agriculture as well as our economy," one student said.