By Jill Brooke
When you think of Alaska, often we think of the oil pipeline and not peonies, right?
Well, guess what – Alaska is the home to 500 peony farms.
Which explains why Senators Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Don Young are part of the American Grown Act which is asking that flowers at federal events be harvested from American growers since only 20% are currently. At the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, those flowers should be American-made.
As I’ve mentioned, this is bipartisan -hooray – and an opportunity for our beloved healing inspiring flowers to bring peace, joy and prosperity. And as I also told you would happen, a week after the House introduced the American Grown Act, U.S. Senators Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Angus King (I-Maine) put the bill in play in the Senate.
I say petal on and this gives the spotlight to farms including Alaska Farms, Alaska Perfect Peony, Scenic Place Peonies, Josyln Peonies, East of Eden Flower Farm in Maine and Salt Farm Flowers as well as the Sun Valley Group in California as well as Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers and Menagerie Farm & Flower and countless others around the United States.
The American Grown Act requires the Executive Office of the President, the Department of Defense, and the Department of State to only procure cut flowers and cut greens grown in the United States.
“Our federal agencies spend millions of dollars procuring flowers and greenery for our many events, ceremonies and galas, and those flowers should be American grown,” said Republican Senator Dan Sullivan.
Over in Maine, which has so many fabulous lilac farms, Senator Angus King signed on because he believes that when “the U.S. government spends taxpayers’ dollars, it should prioritize American products in order to reinject these funds back into the national economy.”
“We have an opportunity to meet this responsibility by buying American-grown flowers – but under the current system, the vast majority of flowers purchased by the government are foreign-grown, meaning that money is sent to stimulate foreign economies,” he adds. “This is a simple fix that will benefit our flower-growing industry and the overall economy.”
As we reported, tax breaks to other countries for political reasons helped jumpstart their flower-growing industries. In the past, the U.S. government was worried about crops for drugs and made deals to help farmers if they grew flowers. This turbo-charged the flower industry for these countries.
“Our country, especially California, has a robust flower industry. But nearly 80 percent of flowers purchased in the United States are imported from abroad,” adds Democrat Senator Diane Feinstein. “The federal government should lead the way to correct this, and I’m proud to join Senator Sullivan to support our flower industry by requiring federal agencies to purchase only American-grown flowers.”
I think this is great news, don’t you?
As Senator Lisa Murkowski pointed out, “nationwide, cut-flower growers are making significant investments in America’s economy..”I am proud to sign on as an original cosponsor of this legislation led in the Senate by Senator Sullivan and introduced in the House by Congressman Dan Young,” she said. “I hope it will come to a vote quickly.”
We are hoping for the same results.
Jill Brooke is a former CNN correspondent, Post columnist and editor-in-chief of Avenue and Travel Savvy magazine. She is an author and the editorial director of FPD and floral editor for aspire design and home magazine