Murphy Urges Consumers to Buy Domestic Flowers, Plants

By Turmelle, Luther | New Haven Register (New Haven, CT), February 13, 2017 | Go to article overview

Murphy Urges Consumers to Buy Domestic Flowers, Plants


Turmelle, Luther, New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)


As consumers make their mad, last-minute scramble to honor their loved ones on Valentine's Day, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., is urging them to support flowers and plants grown domestically which will benefit the floral and horticulture industry at the state and national levels.

That is not as easy as it might seems: Florists and other retailers that sell flowers and plants aren't required to tell consumers whether what they are purchasing was imported. And, currently, 80 percent of the cut flowers sold by U.S. retailers are imported, according to Kasey Cronquist, chief executive officer of the California Cut Flower Commission, which is leading the "Buy American" effort.

Murphy said Monday that he favors labeling that would tell consumers where their cut flowers and plants are coming from.

"(Connecticut) garden centers, landscapers, perennial growers, and landscape designers employ 30,000 people; (but) the vast majority of cut flowers are imported from countries such as the Netherlands, Colombia, Ethiopia, Ecuador, India, South Africa, Australia, Thailand, Kenya, and Israel. "That's despite the presence of over 60,000 floral businesses nationwide. The practice of relying on foreign growers not only disadvantages American farmers and businesses, but it is expensive and resource-intensive."

At the same time Murphy was urging consumers to Buy American when it comes to floral products, he was also urging U.S. Department of Agriculture Acting Deputy Secretary Michael Young to step up efforts to encourage the sale of domestically grown flowers and plants. Murphy sent a letter to Young on Monday, reminding him of the economic impact the floral and horticultural industry has on Connecticut and the nation.

"I write to you today, as a new administration begins and farmers and greenhouse growers enter a busy Valentine's Day season, to ask for your continued support of the American horticulture industry," Murphy's letter said in part. "In my home state of Connecticut, over 1,700 nurseries collectively gross more than $800 million annually for the farming, sale, and maintenance of fresh flowers and plants.

Cronquist said the market share of imported fresh cut flowers became lopsided after a series of free trade agreements that the U. …

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