It’ll be a return to familiar surroundings as I’ll be speaking at the upcoming American Institute of Floral Design (AIFD) Symposium in Washington DC, happening from June 30 to July 4 at the Marriott Wardman Park. As many of you know, a good chunk of my life was invested in our Nation’s Capitol — go Caps! #stanleycupchampions. Ok, back to the blog . . .
Accompanying me will be colleagues Lisa Carmichael, BloomNet VP of Marketing, Jackie Lacey, AIFD, CFD, PFCI, Floriology Director of Education, and Lesley Bolden, AIFD, Lead Designer at Napco. Watch for Floriology’s Facebook Live videos and Posts from Lisa, Jackie and I as we report on all the action.
Speaking of Floriology, we’ll be sponsoring all of AIFD’s Impact Business sessions where I’ll be presenting two sessions (repeated so, really four sessions). This is the first time AIFD is including business-first content in addition to the traditional design instruction of past events so we are very honored for this opportunity to promote this innovative change.
The first session on Monday, July 2 starting at 11am to noon, will be “No More Guessing: An In-Depth Look into the Floral Purchase Tracking.” This insightful session dives into the American Floral Endowment’s study into consumers floral purchasing habits. I’ll then add best practices to drive more traffic to florists websites leveraging the data. For the second session “How to be an Internet Superstar” on July 3 at 11am to Noon, I’ll be teaming with my friend and fellow Floriology Instructor Donald Yim, AIFD to instruct aspiring designers on how to make it big online.
As with any floral industry event, this will be an awesome opportunity to catch up with old friends and definitely make new ones. I’m looking forward to the week in my old city.
In the Vegetable Garden
Smile Farms in Moriches, NY, is the most incredible farm I’ve ever visited. It’s not what they grow, farming technology they use or size of the operation. It was the people who work there that make it special. Smile Farms in Moriches and four others like it in the state of NY provide jobs, opportunity and a sense of purpose for our neighbors that need it most — developmentally challenged adults.
Presently, Smile Farms employs more than 70 adults with developmental disabilities in these five locations. Here are some numbers straight from their website regarding adults with developmental disabilities:
- 80 Percent of adults with developmental disabilities are unemployed.
- 15 Percent of children born in the US are born with a developmental disability, including those in the autism spectrum.
- 4.6 million in the US are diagnosed with a developmental disability.
My visit was part 1800Flower’s Emerald Leadership Program. Accompanying me were 20 of our company’s best and brightest to visit, volunteer and, most of all, help spread the word about Smile Farms. As you can tell, I was inspired as a result of what I witnessed.
Many thanks to Monica Martinez, Smile Farms Development Manager for providing our group a great tour of the Moriches farm and introducing us to its employees. It was truly a treat to meet them and learn about what they did that morning. There was great pride and pleasure in their responses! It was also wonderful to continue chatting with Monica and Smile Farms Senior Director Jodi Taggart, whom both joined the Emeralds for dinner later that evening and shared more insight about the program.
If you live in New York (or plan to visit as a tourist or on business travel) visit one of these farms! Click here for a complete list of locations with descriptions of offerings. Please buy from them, request how you can help, donate and, especially, engage with those they employ. Personally, I look forward in contributing time and energy in supporting Smile Farms into the future.
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