This was my first experience with SAF CAD. I wasn’t sure what I was in store for. What awaited me was an experience I will remember for a long time. SAF (Society of American Florists) is an American national trade association that represents the floristry industry in the United States. Everyone is a member, from retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers to producers, educators and students. SAF CAD aims to provide marketing, government advocacy, industry, and best practices information to members of the US floral industry.
It was the 42nd day of action of the SAF Congress, and I had interviewed various representatives from around the world; everyone was kind enough to answer all of my questions and provide behind-the-scenes insight into the industry, the issues it faces, and the actions taken.
This blog will provide insight into current challenges in the floral industry and how every member of the community, from grower to legislator, came together to create a solution, and how SAF CAD enables a platform for our voices to be heard.
I asked Kate Pen to give us an overview of board meetings and how they went. Kate shared with us that SAF has 3 producer councils; wholesalers, importers and retailers. All positions are staffed by volunteer industry leaders, and they meet and discuss challenges, current trends, and most importantly, how SAF can help address those challenges.
The council has also launched different working groups to assist in multiple aspects of the industry. Currently, there are 4 working groups:
- Future task force: helps define strategic objectives, modify the current model and include topics such as artificial intelligence, cryptocurrency and its impact on our industry.
- Career Development Working Group: Determine what kind of training is needed and how we can attract more people to the industry.
- Connections working group: gives us advice on our projects and how to manage them and increase profits
- Sustainability Working Group: Focused on the sustainability of the organization and decisions about which market to target, who to invite, membership structure, etc.
Producer Councils aim to bring the industry together, provide strategic goals and solutions, and channel talent to strengthen the industry.
Danny Sanchez of South Florals
It was Danny’s 3rd time spent at SAF CAD. When asked what was his favorite thing about this event, he said it was relationship building. You meet many people in the floral industry and share your problems that growers or retailers might not know about and provide effective solutions that can help the community as a whole. For example, they import roses from Ecuador, which increases the gross price, and we are trying to change that, which is a huge task.
The event also organized some activities, like the treasure hunt. And tomorrow, the councils will go to the Capitol to discuss current issues with the congressman and local senators.
Amanda Jedlinsky – SAF Senior Content Strategist
Amanda Jedlinsky is SAF’s Senior Content Strategist and works on the magazine and newsletter.
According to Amanda Jedlinsky, the main issues addressed in this year’s SAF CAD are the reauthorization of the SPG, labor and research for floriculture. All members should be on the same page and know what issues are being discussed and how they should be discussed. Newbies or regulars can also use this event as a networking opportunity to build relationships with legislators and the floral community by discussing business and technology. From florists to wholesalers, you can benefit from a plethora of information with this diverse group and make connections on a personal level.
BloomNet’s Renato Cruz Sogueco
Renato is the VP of BloomNet and is responsible for digital strategies for all their brands, such as NAPCO, Farm to Forest, etc. According to Renato, he had previously worked as a staff member of the Society of American Florists, but this was his first time as a member.
Despite being extremely nervous and spending most of the night studying position papers, Renato met with Congressman Greg Steube, a Republican. He engaged in thoughtful discussion where their issues were heard and followed up.
The best thing about this experience is the diversity and openness of communication. Any member, whether on the Retail Council or the Producer Council, is welcome. Their insight and opinions are appreciated to bring the best course of action as everything is interconnected.
Corrine Heck details
When I asked Corrine why she keeps coming back to these events, as it was her fifth time, she mentioned that the communication and learning experience was second to none, and I agree. You can enjoy the political process and see what the congressman and senators are up against and what actions are being taken for the greater good.
According to Corrina, “All we’re trying to do is share flowers with the world and make sure people know how to do it.”
Corrine also mentioned that she had met with the representative Stevie, and it was a positive experience. Because most of the time you don’t get to meet the actual reps and chat with them.
Austin Bryant of Heart of Florida Greenhouses Inc.
The Heart of Florida Greenhouses is a foliage nursery located in Central Florida. She grows indoor plants and tropical foliage. Although he is part of the producer industry, Austin thinks it is important to be part of the technology discussions that are prevalent in SAF CAD because any issues on the consumer side ripple down the chain and affect every part of the industry. floral, from producer to retailer.
Asked about his experience representing his district, Austin said he was very nervous at first. Yet once a personal connection was developed based on the same neighborhoods, representatives were eager to listen to community issues, whether they were water or labor issues. . So they could provide an effective solution before it gets out of control.
I also wanted to know more about the growers council, and Austin was more than happy to fill me in. According to Austin, “The Growers’ Council is a collaboration of a wide range of growers; anyone like me, who is an indoor plant grower, to international growers who have cut flowers from Colombia or Ecuador; have the privilege of serving on the Producer Council and connecting and understanding the global community.
CAD has been one of the most rewarding experiences since coming to the floral industry. From gaining insight into the floral industry, walking the halls of the hill, supporting change and creating meaningful relationships with people I have respected and admired for years, I will definitely do it again next year and I invite you to join me.
SAF’s CAD offers a fresh perspective to the floral industry and is a must-attend event for entrepreneurs, students, and anyone related to the floral industry. I will continue to share ideas and help the floral industry innovate, connect and thrive through community communication.