The Rose Parade in Pasadena is a unique California experience. I was thrilled to be part of pre-parade festivities on Sunday, January 1st, when I made presentations to the first two floats to be certified California Grown for using all California-grown products. Over the years, floats have featured more imported flowers. But this year the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Buy California Marketing Agreement partnered with the California Cut Flower Commission to put California Grown back in the spotlight! This effort was highlighted in the Los Angeles Times. What better way to remind people about California’s glorious climate that produces so much agricultural bounty!
I was very impressed by the stories behind the two floats we certified. The first one, Cal Poly Universities to the Rescue, was by students of Cal Poly Pomona and San Luis Obispo. This was their 64th consecutive float in the Rose Parade. The program gives students and volunteers a hands-on learning experience by designing, engineering, building and operating their own float. I loved meeting the students and witnessing first-hand their enthusiasm, knowledge, commitment and leadership. California flower farmers donated many of the materials used on the float, which was amazing. It was fun to learn Cal Poly students helped the float win a popular viewer vote!
The second float to be certified California Grown was sponsored by the Kit-Cat Clock Company, www.kit-cat.com. The float, Timeless Fun for Everyone, featured a three-foot tall iconic Kit-Cat to celebrate the company’s 80th anniversary. Wally Young, the company CEO, has a strong commitment to California and using local products whenever possible. I commend him for seeking out California flower farmers to make his float a true California production!
Seems like the current interest in locally grown products makes this the perfect time to set a goal to double the number of floats to be certified California Grown every year. It was wonderful to partner with the California Cut Flower Commission to set us on the path to achieving this goal!