As the year comes to a close, all of us at AFE have been reflecting on everything that we’ve accomplished this year–and what a year it’s been!
1) Starting at the top, we have been able to fund 15 ground-breaking research projects that are working to move the industry forward and help solve some of the challenges our industry members face on a daily basis. These research projects focus on areas such as improving flower quality and longevity, pest and disease management, new technologies, and more. Read more about our research efforts this year here.
2) As always, we are focused on educating, inspiring, and empowering the next generation of industry leaders. We granted scholarships to 25 students this year, totaling $74,400 given to support students as they pursue education. We hope these scholarships can help to alleviate challenges to our labor force as new, young professionals are now granted the opportunity to pursue careers in floriculture and horticulture.
3) In addition, we awarded 10 of the best and brightest from universities across the nation internships focusing on floral production, greenhouse management, commercial plant production, and floral design. These students have been working in the industry hands-on and learning far beyond what can be taught in a classroom. We are so excited to keep up with these outstanding interns through their future endeavors in our industry.
4) On the other side of the leaf, we are also working to fund educational programs to recruit and teach students about the floral industry. This year, we awarded 19 organizations with grant funding for educational programs. These programs also support continued education for current industry members, creating opportunities at conventions and conferences to collaborate, learn, and connect within our floral community.
5) We can’t forget to mention our 13 free, interactive webinars we hosted throughout the year with industry experts. These include our monthly Grow Pro Webinars, which provide growers with direct access to new findings, best practices, and the chance to talk with industry experts. In addition, we hosted a webinar to help young professionals navigate going back to in-person industry events after COVID-19 put them on hold. This fully interactive session taught viewers how to make a strong first impression and how to better network with other professionals. All of our webinars are recorded and can be found here.
6) Lastly, we have to highlight our Sustainability Initiative we launched this year. With sponsorship from 7 other industry leaders, we are working to bring together experts in research and education to provide useable resources for businesses within the floral supply chain to encourage more sustainable practices. This project will also highlight gaps in the current sustainability knowledge and highlight research and education areas we can pursue in the future. We are thrilled about this project and all of the opportunities it will provide to make our industry more sustainable! You can learn more about this initiative here.
If you want to see programs like these keep blooming in 2023, please consider making a tax-deductible, year-end contribution to AFE here. It is only with donors’ support that we can continue working towards a stronger, empowered, more sustainable floral industry for all!