Budding Communication: Improving Sustainability and Communication in the Ohio Cut Flower Supply Chain with Availability Calendar and Database

Project Overview

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2022: $40,000.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2025
Grant Recipient: Central State University
Region: North Central
State: Ohio
Project Coordinator:
Dr. Alcinda Folck
Central State University


  • Additional Plants: Cut Flowers


  • Crop Production: high tunnels or hoop houses, intercropping, low tunnels, multiple cropping, row covers (for season extension), season extension, varieties and cultivars
  • Education and Training: decision support system, farmer to farmer, mentoring, networking, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research, workshop, Digital tool and database development
  • Farm Business Management: market study
  • Soil Management: organic matter, soil analysis, carbon sequestering
  • Sustainable Communities: infrastructure analysis, sustainability measures, values-based supply chains

    Proposal abstract:

    Demand for cut flowers has created an outlet for small-scale, limited-resource farmers to provide field-grown flowers for florists, weddings, and other buyers. Conversations with farmers revealed that challenges existed in marketing and promoting their products to buyers who had limited agriculture knowledge of flower seasonality or familiarity only with international cut flower trade. 

    This project will gather data from farmers on field-grown and high tunnel flower production in Ohio including flower species grown, length of growing season, and bloom availability based on regional differences in Ohio. The deliverable of the grant will be a printed brochure and a searchable database that will be available to growers to use for planning purposes and to educate florists and other buyers on the seasonality of cut flowers. 

    Sustainable agricultural systems are supported by elements of economic viability, environmental soundness, and social responsibility. Field and tunnel-grown local flowers use less water and have a smaller carbon footprint than most commercially available blooms, which are grown in energy-intensive greenhouses in other countries and rely on refrigerated shipping. The resources generated by this project will help promote more sustainable options to buyers, keep money in local communities, and improve outcomes for flower farmers throughout the region. 

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The objectives of this project are: 

    1. Generate a digital and printed calendar of seasonal cut flower availability that growers across Ohio can use to provide customers with a resource on seasonal cut flower availability throughout the year. 
    2. Create planting schedules from collected data that growers can use for planning purposes.
    3. Develop a network of local cut flower producers and generate a list of future extension and research opportunities. 
    4. Develop a carbon footprint comparison between Ohio farms and the existing international model of flower distribution to provide accurate sustainability metrics for marketing and research purposes.
    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.