Seed Your Future and the Society of American Florists have announced plans to join forces to promote increased awareness of horticulture and floriculture and inspire more people to pursue careers working with flowers and plants. Citing their close mission alignment and shared desire to consolidate and prioritize resources to strengthen the industry and ensure a long-term pipeline of green-collar professionals, the leadership of both organizations enthusiastically approved the partnership.
“In 2019, SAF established career and workforce development as a top priority of our strategic plan,” said Chris Drummond, AAF, PFCI, president of SAF and owner of Penny’s by Plaza Flowers in Philadelphia. “We looked around to see what others were already doing in this area, and we were impressed by the momentum of Seed Your Future. Instead of creating a new initiative for SAF, the most impactful decision was to join forces and work together to build more interest in careers across horticulture and floriculture.”
The movement was founded in 2016 and has grown to a coalition of more than 200 partners, including horticulture companies, gardening organizations, schools, colleges, universities, public gardens, youth organizations, nonprofit organizations, and individual advocates united in their mission to promote horticulture and careers working with plants.
“We started the Seed Your Future movement in 2016 in order to address a critical issue across the breadth of the horticulture industry,” said Anna Ball, CEO and chairman of the board of Ball Horticultural Company and co-chair of Seed Your Future. “There have never been so many career opportunities in horticulture, yet awareness of these opportunities was at an all-time low.”
Seed Your Future has quickly achieved stunning results including the development of an award-winning website (SeedYourFuture.org) with resources for educators, parents and students, opening their eyes to the diversity of careers across the art, science, technology, education and business of plants. And, in partnership with Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education, and media company, Seed Your Future’s youth-focused BLOOM! initiative has reached more than 4.5 million students and 700,000 educators with their free eye-catching, fact-based content including educational and fun videos, lesson plans and student activities, plant-focused games and an interactive online learning module.
“As a start-up movement, Seed Your Future has been housed under the supportive fiscal agency of Longwood Gardens,” said Susan E. Yoder, executive director of Seed Your Future. “As we have grown and expanded our reach, we’ve been exploring a permanent home for our work. Joining forces and creating a new 501(c)3 entity under the leadership of SAF is the perfect partnership to reach our long-term goals to open more eyes to the power of plants and flowers and the rewards of a green-collar career.”
Operational and governance transitions for Seed Your Future will occur throughout the year, with a goal of late 2021 for the finalization of the partnership. In the meantime, both organizations will work full speed ahead on their 2021 initiatives. For Seed Your Future, Yoder says that means the creation of new videos and resources for youth, families and educators; and the continuation of their #YearOfPlantPower and #NatureNeverCloses campaigns to show how – especially during these times of the global health challenge – plants and flowers have the power to calm, soothe, heal, nourish and inspire. For SAF, CEO Kate Penn said 2021 priorities include advocating for the industry’s interests in Washington, D.C., launching its new Career Connections platform, the upcoming Great Big Plant Event, local marketing resources and, in the fourth quarter, in person events.
“I’m eager to work with the leadership and staff of Seed Your Future,” said Kate Penn, CEO of SAF. “By teaming up, we can do so much more to ensure new talent is always joining the industry by showcasing both the power of plants and flowers, and the rewarding career opportunities available in horticulture and floriculture.”
Katie Butler is the senior vice president of the Society of American Florists.