Tuesday, May 16, 2017

American Grown Flowers Garnish First Lady's Luncheon

This year’s First Lady’s Luncheon was the latest inspiration for designing with all American Grown Flowers. Farms from across the country shipped over 18,000 stems of gorgeous American Grown Flowers to a team of over 20 volunteer floral designers led by Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore, Christy Hulsey of The Colonial House of Flowers and Margaret Lloyd of Margret Joan Florals.

The Certified American Grown program for the second year in a row sponsored this iconic Washington, D.C., event. An annual bipartisan tradition hosted by the Congressional Club since 1912 to honor the first lady of the United States, the luncheon was attended by a record 2,100 people, including Congressional spouses, associates of members of Congress and cabinet members.

During this year’s luncheon, I had the pleasure to meet and speak with the first lady and to encourage the White House to adopt an all American Grown Flower policy. My request was reiterated by the Congressional Club’s Luncheon Chair who took a moment during her remarks to acknowledge the beautiful American Grown Flowers and asked that “everyone, including the White House, support American Grown Flowers.” The request from the podium was met with resounding applause.

The White House has a long-standing tradition of featuring American wines and food at the White House and it’s my hope that such a commitment will be extended to sourcing all American Grown Flowers as well. It’s a wonderful practice that every room of the White House is filled with vibrant flowers 365 days of the year. I believe it would be an affirmation of American farmers, American agriculture and of beautiful American Grown Flowers if they committed to sourcing 100 percent American Grown Flowers in America’s home.

When the luncheon concluded I also had an opportunity to speak to second lady Karen Pence who had made special note of my request and encouraged me, as did the first lady, to write a letter requesting support for an all American Grown White House.

I had the pleasure of joining a wonderful group at the Certified American Grown table during the luncheon. Pictured left to right is Margaret Lloyd, Kurt Weichhand, Beth VanSandt, me, Rep. Ted Yoho, Christy Hulsey, Kelly Shore and Travis Rigby. Also seated but not pictured: Bill Frymoyer, Kasey Cronquist, Tim Dewey and Jerry Hagstrom.