ASCFG 2023 Election Ballot
Every election is determined by the people who show up.
This year, members in the North and Central and South and Central regions will elect new Regional Directors.
Both positions will serve 2024, 2025, and 2026. Please review this information, and take just a few minutes to cast your vote now.
Your participation is vital!
Thank you for showing up.
North and Central Regional Director (2024, 2025, 2026)
Amanda Cook, Cook’s Market, Baldwin City, Kansas
Any experienced farmer will confess they learned something from another grower that propelled a crop forward or helped them look at farming in a new light. It might be through a book, blog, farm tour, growers’ school, mentorship program, or even random conversations on the bus at an ASCFG conference. We are always learning from each other. Our industry stands on the shoulders of years of great breeders, fellow farmers, marketers, researchers, authors, florists, retail customers, and countless others. Each collaborator simply shares, cultivating more wisdom for the next generation, and those recipients are then able to build on and share their knowledge. At the heart of this legacy of sharing you will find the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers.
This could not have been more evident to me than at my very first ASCFG conference in Texas in 2014. Matthew and I had just bought our first packets of seeds and we were raring to grow, and decided to take a chance and attend a conference with this organization we had just heard about: the ASCFG. From the moment we arrived at the conference till we were packing up to leave, fellow growers shared information with us, the lectures had us burning through yellow legal pads, and putting our hands on some flowers on that cold March day felt magical. We were hooked! That was almost ten years ago and since then we have moved a farm, grown and sold to the retail, florist, and wholesale markets, started a floral collective (a new endeavor), banged out some flowers for weddings, participated in the ASCFG Mentor Program, built two polytunnels, laughed, cried, made some amazing friends, and killed A LOT of plants. Currently our farm focuses on selling to florists through the collective and to retail customers at our local farmers’ market. We grow on 2 acres in Baldwin City, Kansas and serve the surrounding metropolitan areas.
All of this would not have been possible without members like you, encouraging, sharing, serving, and leading. I’m honored to be nominated for the North and Central Regional Director and would be excited to serve the ASCFG members in this role. Previously, I served as a board member for the Lawrence Farmer’s Market for 2 terms (6 years), and was president of the board for 4 years. During that time, I led the effort to overhaul our hiring process for the Market Manager, and took steps to improve retention. I also created and organized multiple new promotional and fundraising events for the market. My off-farm background is in events, marketing, and surveying. I’ve worked as a contractor to the National Agricultural Statistic Service for ten years; with the majority of that work focusing on building relationships with farmers. Prior to that I worked for a non-profit event planner with the Kansas 4-H Foundation and in culinary service for the Rock Springs 4-H Camp. I studied apparel and textile marketing at Kansas State University, and still dig out my color theory textbooks at least once a year to plan our fields.
I believe my experiences and my passion for the ASCFG (especially events) will enable me to serve our organization and make a difference. Thank you for your consideration.
Susan Rockwood, Arcola Trail Flower Farm, Stillwater, Minnesota
It has been an honor to serve on the ASCFG Board of Directors as the North and Central Regional Director for the past 2 ½ years. My first year on the Board was during the pandemic which kept most of us close to home and in Zoom meetings. The Framingham conference last year and in-person gatherings have been so welcome! As an active member of ASCFG since 2015, I have benefited greatly from the education, resources, networking, and lasting friendships that the ASCFG affords its members and it has enabled me to become a successful cut flower grower in Minnesota for the past nine years. Our farm is located just outside the Twin Cities and currently sells retail to the public and wholesale to designers as well as offering on-site workshops.
Prior to becoming a full-time flower farmer, I had a career in healthcare administration leading physician group practices and hospital-clinic integrations. My passion has been helping to position organizations going through growth and change for continued success. The ASCFG has experienced tremendous growth and will for the first time in 35 years have a new Executive Director in 2024. If selected to serve another term as Regional Director, I would like to help the organization move forward and continue to be THE relevant professional organization for large and small growers at all stages, to promote local flowers, to provide quality education and research-based information, and to create opportunities to connect, collaborate, and promote membership throughout the North and Central Region. I truly believe there is strength in numbers, and I am enthusiastic about the role the ASCFG plays as our collective voice for our profession as cut flower growers.
After serving one term on the ASCFG Board, I now have a greater understanding of the tremendous effort and commitment required of the staff and Board to support the mission of ASCFG and to serve its growing membership. It has been a privilege to serve the ASCFG community of growers and I would be excited to work on your behalf as Regional Director for another term.
South and Central Regional Director (2024, 2025, 2026)
Heather Griffiths, Wasatch Blooms, Paradise, Utah
My name is Heather Griffiths and I want to be your South and Central Regional Director. I have been farming for 6 years beside the beautiful mountains of Northern Utah. I started farming on a tenth of an acre in an urban setting, then moved to leased land to farm one-third of an acre, and in my fourth year I bought my 1 ¼ acre farm to put down both literal and figurative roots for my family. In this time I learned to maximize production under challenging environmental conditions, and to adapt and grow with the changing needs of my farm, as we all do, and quickly realized the importance of a supportive community in order to have a sustainable business and farm.
In 2019 I helped found the Utah Cut Flower Farm Association (UCFFA) and served as its first president until January 2023. I loved the opportunity to work with my community to help provide education, resources, research, and outreach to support the growing industry. At the beginning of the UCFFA we started with around 30 members and as of this writing, we have 200 members and counting. I viewed my role as president as an opportunity to facilitate connections between farmers, bring awareness to the public of the value and importance of local flowers, collaborate with our local land grant university, and provide additional resources for local growers to help us all grow better flowers in our unique and sometimes temperamental climate.
As ASCFG Regional Director I want to bring the skills I have learned to the South and Central Region to help us connect to one another and find support from our fellow farmers so we can build sustainable business and farms. I look forward to being a part of the ASCFG team and the opportunity to serve this community.
Jane Hudon, Rancho Verde Flowers, Nathrop, Colorado
I am so honored to be given the opportunity to run for the South and Central Regional Director. As an ASCFG board member I would encourage collaboration over competition. I would encourage community, a safe empowering place to share our knowledge, and a place to build friendships and lasting relationships that would make us all stronger. This is what the ASCFG has been doing all along, and I would love to be a part in carrying this forward. I have been designing with flowers for most of my life. In 2012 I started our flower farm in the high mountains of Colorado. We are a regenerative, no-till flower farm, supplying flowers to local stores, a hotel, our CSA, and many, many weddings.
We are in the process of moving our farm to southern Arizona, transitioning from 8,000’ down to 5,000’, with a longer growing season. We are looking forward to learning a new climate and environment, building a strong business relationship with the community, and creating a strong, resilient, working flower farm.
The ASCFG is an amazing organization, one that I would work hard to support, and contribute to.
Gretchen Langston, Blooms, LLC, LaPorte, Colorado
My name is Gretchen Langston and I would be honored to serve as the South and Central Regional Director for the ASCFG—it would be a dream, actually! Colorado has been my home for almost 19 years now, but I was raised on a small farm in Missouri. Some might say this work is in my blood.
I am the proud owner of Blooms, LLC, a family-operated flower farm in northern Colorado. My sister-in-law, Gaylene, is my business partner in all things and 2023 is our seventh year in operation. We specialize in spring bulbs, peonies, woodies, perennials, dahlias, and all things autumn. We are committed to organic practices with a focus on soil health and farming as gently as possible on our land. I have a passion for growing and promoting local flowers. Our farm serves the designer event- driven business in Colorado and southern Wyoming. We are an active part of two flower collectives in our state and I cherish the sense of community that has developed with our flower farmer and designer friends. We are all truly family. In 2023, our farm took on the lead role as market manager for the Northern Colorado Flower Community Collective. Promoting the gorgeous crops of the hard-working flower farms in our area has become central to everything we do.
For the past 17 years, I have served in a global division head role for a large company. I believe that the skills I’ve learned in bringing people together for a common cause, communicating well, facilitating development and learning, and managing large-scale projects will add value to the ASCFG’s mission and especially to our region. I would relish the opportunity to give back and represent our area of the country for the ASCFG.
Thank you for your consideration, and happy growing!
Helen Skiba, Artemis Flower Farm, Longmont, Colorado
Helen Skiba has been growing cut flowers in the arid mountain West since 2014. She runs her business, Artemis Flower Farm, with her partner Nelson and their long-term employee Kailey, near Boulder, Colorado. Helen has both worked for herself and as staff at a large market vegetable farm in the area, and has experimented with a broad swath of farm practices and crops. She currently farms on 1 ½ acres, and expanding, at the Treehouse Farm Collective, a group of farm businesses collaborating to lease a large property in common. Helen is a returned Peace Corps Volunteer, and spent 2 years in the Ecuadorian Amazon, where she also studied cacao production as her thesis work for her Masters of Agriculture. Before that, she studied English literature and poetry at Barnard College in New York City, and was born and raised in Denver.
Helen says, “Beyond my career as a flower farmer, I am in service to those around me who need help growing their dreams. Teaching and learning from others are two huge passions in my life. I have been filling that need through service in the Flatirons Farmers Coalition, where I’ve served as the Education Chair for three years, creating educational workshops for young and beginning farmers alongside other members of our committee and leadership board. I relish learning about the diverse topics in our field—from irrigation to employee management and everything in between—and I love how every grower’s experience and situation is completely different, leading us to create ingenious and unique solutions. Flower people are so creative, resourceful, and smart!
As a Regional Director, I would again offer my service to our fascinating part of the country, where growing cut flowers is so different than in other regions. I would reach out to new growers along the Front Range (there are many!) and help them connect with the ASCFG. I would be excited to highlight the concerns and difficulties of our region so that educational and social events the Association offers can be useful and accessible to us too. And of course, I would be thrilled to get to know more growers in our area! I think I can be a great representative and I look forward to serving if elected, though I know Shanti’s will be hard shoes to fill.
Shelly Zollinger, Flourish Flower Market, Brigham City, Utah
A bit about myself. I am one class (math) away from my bachelor’s degree in ornamental horticulture. I have worked at a world-famous garden for 15 years, then a landscape design business for ten. Then we bought a farm, so it’s been flower farming for 6 years. I have loved every minute—well maybe not every one, but most of them.
I sell mainly to florists, about 25 of them. Every year I tell myself I did not plant enough. A very good place to be! I have been mentoring a few of the new flower farmers in the area, which has been fun, and have taught a few classes on flower farming and crop planning.
One of the greatest joys in life is helping others learn and grow—sharing triumphs and mistakes from which we learn so much. As the regional representative it would be so fun to get to know other farmers and bring the community together more.
The ASCFG is a great resource for all things flower farming. The next best resource is farmers sharing news, ideas, resources, and getting to know each other, making the group stronger. Thanks for this possible opportunity.