The Tournament of Roses – a California Grown opportunity to honor tradition and look to the future

Cal Poly's float at the 2015 Rose parade

Cal Poly’s award-winning float, “Soaring Stories,” at the 2015 Rose Parade. Photos courtesy of the California Cut Flower Commission 

Over the last several years I have been honored to receive invitations from the California Cut Flower Commission to spend time with them at the Tournament of Roses, and I was fortunate to be able to visit Pasadena again last week for the annual festivities. The Commission has developed partnerships with the Buy California Marketing Agreement (CA Grown), the floral company FTD, and Cal Poly (both the SLO and Pomona campuses) to place floats in the Rose Parade consisting of California-grown flowers!

Prior to the parade, I was pleased to provide certification that 85 percent of the flowers on the Cal Poly float were California Grown. This is the fourth year in a row the university’s float has been able to qualify for the CA Grown certification. It requires extraordinary planning, creative designs, and innovative engineering on the part of the students as well as a year-round working relationship with flower growers who donate many of the flowers used and have to know the design in order to plant the right crops to be ready for the big day. And all that work paid off – the float won the Lathrop K. Leishman award for the Most Beautiful Non-Commercial Float!

Once again, I was impressed by the outstanding Cal Poly students and their advisors. Their commitment, collaboration and hard work is inspiring and reminds me that the best crop we produce in California is our students – the future of our state.

A first at this year’s parade was CA Grown certification for the cars carrying Rose Bowl VIPs. The cars were sponsored and decorated by FTD. Its floral designer was thrilled to receive the CA Grown certification! In accepting the certificate, he noted that his inspiration comes from being able to work directly with California flower farmers.

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 fabulous Tournament of Roses!

The newly released movie Unbroken tells the story of Louis Zamperini, this year’s Rose Parade Grand Marshal, who unfortunately passed away in July. FTD Flowers honored him by adorning a 1936 Packard Standard Eight with delicate flower varieties alongside Olympic rings to celebrate Zamperini’s medal in the 1936 Berlin Games and a ribbon in tribute to his military service.

The newly released movie Unbroken tells the story of Louis Zamperini, this year’s Rose Parade Grand Marshal, who unfortunately passed away in July. FTD Flowers honored him by adorning a 1936 Packard Standard Eight with delicate flower varieties alongside Olympic rings to celebrate Zamperini’s medal in the 1936 Berlin Games, and a ribbon in tribute to his military service.

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One Response to The Tournament of Roses – a California Grown opportunity to honor tradition and look to the future

  1. Linda Giovannozzi says:

    I was once again honored to be a part of the CA Flower Farmers that were down in Pasadena to help educate the public about the importance of promoting the CA Grown effort. The agricultural industry in CA plays a significant role in the states economy and we were thrilled to have Secretary Ross with us again this year as we certified the Cal-Poly float and the FTD Cars driven in the parade as CA Grown. Great job from all involved! thanks, Linda G.

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