California Grown celebrates the Golden State in the Rose Parade

by Laura Berthold Monteros

It was 2011 when we first wrote about the California Grown credential awarded by the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC). The California Clock Company contacted us about their 2012 Rose Parade float celebrating their 80th anniversary and their most famous product, the ubiquitous Kit-Cat clock. They insisted on floral materials that were grown in California, and along with Cal Poly Universities, achieved California Grown status. In order to be certified, 85 percent of the floral materials on an entry must be grown in the Golden State.

By 2017, three floats and the Tournament of Roses vehicles carrying Rose Parade honorees, received certification, despite the years-long drought that plagued California agriculture until early 2017. The floats were Miracle-Gro “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” Cal Poly Universities “A New Leaf,” and California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) “Legacy of Generations.” We were able to attend the ceremonies at Fiesta Parade Floats for Miracle-Gro and CMAB, but there are photos of all the honorees below, along with links to more extensive articles on the Tournament of Roses entries.

At the ceremony on Jan. 1, 2017 at Fiesta, Karen Ross, Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, noted that the Rose Parade shows that California is a place like no other, partly because the state’s strong agricultural industry. She told The Rose Examiner that the California Grown designation has helped promote the state’s agriculture.

“Consumers today are much more interested in their food—how it’s grown and where it’s grown,” she said. “California stands for quality, flavor, beauty, and sustainability…. We grow to very high standards, higher than any other state.”  The reason that California is first in the country in agricultural receipts is due to the high value of the special crops the state is able to produce, many of which can’t be grown in other states, and the long growing season.

“We can plant, grow, and harvest almost every day of the year,” she stated. “We are blessed with resources, climate, water infrastructure, and innovative farming.”

John Sass, Vice President & General Manager at Scotts Miracle-Gro, expressed gratitude for the farming families. The float needed 32,000 roses. Where could those be procured? “Right here in the very state of California,” he said. “See all the beautiful flowers here.”

John Talbot, CEO of California Milk Advisory Board, said, “When we got in [the Rose Parade] last year, we didn’t know what we were getting into. We were given the opportunity to be California Grown, and we said, ‘Well, yes!’” Ross told us, “What I love about this float is the history of dairy in California.”

Read about the Tournament of Roses cars and Twenty Mule Team wagon:

All photos are copyrighted. Contact administrator for permissions.