Jan 30, 2024
Get first-hand look at flower farms during SAF’s Next Gen LIVE!

Attendees of the Society of American Florists’ Next Gen LIVE! event Feb. 25-27 will tour two San Diego-area farms — Mellano & Company and Kendall Farms — and visit the International Floral Trade Center in Carlsbad, California.
Visiting two flower farms and the flower market allows attendees to experience firsthand the factors contributing to a thriving floral supply chain, including sustainability practices, cutting-edge technology and more.
“It’s so helpful for everyone in the floral industry to understand what’s happening along the supply chain, and there’s no better way to do that than with boots on the ground,” said SAF immediate past president Michelle Castellano Keeler, AAF, of Mellano & Company, one of the grower’s on the tour.
“We hope that these visits will help Next Gen attendees better understand where their flowers come from and what it takes to get them into the hands of florists and consumers,” Castellano Keeler said.
The tours are just one aspect of the third annual conference for young floral pros. The event, designed by and for the next generation of the floral industry, also connects young professionals with networking activities — including a supplier expo and design competition — and features nearly a dozen education sessions. The sessions focus on topics for every segment of the industry and are geared toward young professionals: how to pitch ideas, sales strategies, product development, productivity hacks, leading with empathy, work-life balance, and insights on breeding. (See the full schedule here.)

Tours are optional and take place on the final day of Next Gen LIVE!

First on the stop: the International Floral Trade Center in Carlsbad, California, a large market for florists and the public. Tour highlights include browsing the plethora of fresh product provided by three California growers as well as product imported from South America, Holland, New Zealand and Israel.
Second stop: Kendall Farms in Fallbrook, California, which grows eucalyptus, waxflower, protea and pincushion on about 500 acres for wholesale and mass market. Tour highlights include an emphasis on the technology the farm uses, such as drones for pest control and machines that make bouquets, and the farm’s sustainability practices.
Final stop: Mellano & Company in Oceanside, California, which grows a wide variety of cut flowers, foliage and succulents on nearly 400 acres for wholesale and mass market. Tour highlights include a look at how the farm makes bouquets, how it’s built a reputation for hosting events, and how it cares for its employees with perks like onsite housing.
For more information about Next Gen LIVE! and to register click here. Attendees must also register for the tours.