Sacramento, California - Once again I was honored and thrilled to receive an invitation from the California Cut Flower Commission to spend time with them last week at the fabulous Rose Parade. The Commission has developed partnerships with the Buy California Marketing Agreement (CA Grown), the floral company FTD, the California Milk Advisory Board, Miracle-Gro, and Cal Poly University (both the SLO and Pomona campuses) to utilize primarily California-grown flowers, seeds and other plant materials for their floats and vehicles in the parade.

The California Milk Advisory's Rode Parade float, "Adventures in Real Food.

The California Milk Advisory Board’s Rose Parade float, “Adventures in Real Food.”

Prior to the parade, I was pleased to provide certification that 85 percent of the flowers on the Cal Poly, Miracle-Gro and Milk Advisory Board floats were CA Grown. Achieving that designation requires extraordinary planning, creative designs and innovative engineering, as well as a year-round working relationship with flower growers who must plant the right crops to be ready for the big day. All that work paid off – the Cal Poly float, called “Sweet Shenanigans,” once again won the Lathrop K. Leishman Award for the Most Beautiful Non-Commercial Float. Miracle-Gro’s float, “Life Starts Here,” won the coveted Governor’s Award. And the Milk Advisory Board’s float, “Adventures in Real Food,” was recognized, as well – receiving a Tournament Special Trophy from the judges.

"Life Starts Here," a float from Miracle-Gro

“Life Starts Here,” a float from Miracle-Gro

This year’s parade also included CA Grown certification for the vehicles carrying Rose Bowl VIPs. The cars were sponsored and decorated by FTD.

The Cut Flower Commission is encouraged by the visibility the certification creates within the FTD national network of floral designers. Proof-positive of the benefits of this exciting partnership to keep locally-grown flowers at the center of the Tournament of Roses!

Cal Poly students built this float, "Sweet Shenanigans."

Cal Poly students built this float, “Sweet Shenanigans.”