Here’s a question that likely has been on the minds of federal employees for some time now – where should federal agencies be buying their flowers?
There is some good news for those who have been worried about this issue. One Congressman has introduced legislation that would require the federal government to buy its cut flowers and greens only from among those grown in the United States.
Congressman Don Young (R-AK) introduced the American Grown Act (H.R. 3019) to institute this requirement. He says the bill is necessary because around 80% of the flowers and greens purchased in the United States are imported from other countries which puts American farmers at a disadvantage.
“By requiring the Federal Government to use American Grown Flowers and Greens to decorate its facilities, we will be supporting our farmers and raising awareness of their beautiful products,” read a press release issued by Young.
Young is a member of the Congressional Cut Flowers Caucus (I had no idea there was such a group in Congress), so he has a vested interest in this matter. According Congressman Salud Carbajal’s (D-CA) website, the Congressional Cut Flowers Caucus “was created to help address, support, and represent the economic interests and opportunities facing America’s flower farmers” and it is “is a bipartisan coalition established to set the agenda and educate Congress on the cultural and economic value of flower and green farms.”
The bill currently has 6 co-sponsors, all of whom are members of this Caucus.
“It seems like a no-brainer that the United States should be putting American farmers first by choosing not to import cut flowers,” said Young. “Unfortunately for the Federal government, this is not the case. American farmers are hugely disadvantaged by the foreign growers that are subject to fewer environmental regulations and labor standards, and it is time Congress does something to help our country’s farmers compete. Putting our farmers first starts at the top, and I am proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation. I encourage my friends on both sides of the aisle to do right by the flower and greens farmers in their districts and sign on to this important effort.”