Cottage Grove Flower Festival Builds Personal Connections Between Flower Farmers and Their Community of New Customers.

Project Overview

FW24-009
Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2024: $25,000.00
Projected End Date: 03/01/2026
Grant Recipient: The Happy Hill Homestead
Region: Western
State: Oregon
Principal Investigator:
Cindy Ingram
The Happy Hill Homestead

Commodities

Not commodity specific

Practices

  • Education and Training: farmer to farmer
  • Sustainable Communities: community development, public participation

    Proposal summary:

    Problem:

    1) Flower Farmers need help
    marketing their products. 

    2) Customers often have no
    knowledge of flower farms in their community.

    Solution:

    1) Host an event that introduces
    producers to their potential customers. They meet face to face
    and make personal connections.

    2) Create and distribute a map of
    flower farms in Lane County with photos of each farmer to
    personalize the buying experience. 

    3) Share our findings with the
    flower producer community. 

    U.S. Dept. of Agriculture reports
    that in 2022 imports of cut flowers grew to $3.3 billion. In
    2016, 80% of flowers sold in the U.S. were imported, and still,
    as of 2022, only 25% of the flowers sold and used in the U.S. are
    domestically produced. (
    https://www.petalrepublic.com/floristry-and-floriculture-statistics/)

    Oregon wholesale buyers told us
    they mostly purchase imported flowers. The average customer is
    not informed of the enormous carbon footprint shipped flowers
    have, wasting energy, refrigeration, and storage, as well as
    their use of environmentally concerning production
    practices.

    Most of our local flower farms
    use practices that are inline with sustainable and ecological
    production, including low chemical inputs and implementing
    practices that build soil health through use of reduced tillage
    and organic matter. Purchasing local flowers also contributes to
    Oregon's rural economy.

    The Cottage Grove Flower Festival
    will bring customers and flower farmers together to build
    relationships that are personal and sustainable.

    Method: 

    Prior to the Cottage Grove Flower
    Festival, potential customers (wholesale and retail) will
    complete a survey that explores their knowledge of local flower
    farms, and likelihood of purchasing their products.  Then,
    as festival-goers leave the festival, with map in hand, they are
    asked the same question. Did meeting their local flower farmers
    increase the likelihood of buying local in the
    future? 

    We will share what we learned with Lane County Farmers and
    greater area industry groups.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Research Objectives -

    Will meeting their local Flower Farmers face to face
    increase the likelihood of customers buying local flowers in the
    future?

    2024 - Survey community of potential customers (both direct and
    wholesale) before The Cottage Grove Flower Festival

    2025 - Survey community as they leave the festival

    2025 - Follow up to gather more info

    2025 - Analyze data and write report

     

    Education Objectives - 

    Educate the community of potential customers about the
    flower farms in their area, introduce them personally to the
    producers, and explain why they should buy local flowers in the
    future

    2025 - Bring customers to the festival to meet their local flower
    farmers

    2025 - Share a map of local farms

    2025 - Share what we learned with local farmers

    2026 - Share what we learned with farmer groups and associations

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.