My internship experience with the American Floral Endowment

Flowers. I thought I knew all there was to know about them. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Some make me sneeze. They can be arranged together or alone, and people buy them for apologies, decoration, well-wishes, romance, congratulations or no reason at all. However, there’s a lot more to flowers than an occasion, a few hometown florists, or a store-bought bouquet. AFE opened my eyes to this, and the entire floral industry.

IMG 6951Shanley KingMy name is Shanley and I’m a rising senior majoring in Communication Design at Elon University. My expertise in flowers and flower-growing goes about as far as the next non-gardener. What’s the opposite of a green thumb? But not long into my summer internship at AFE, I realized that this was quite alright. There are many more people in this field than I thought who are doing their part to ensure the future of flowers and the floral industry, especially American Floral Endowment. When I tell others who I work for I get a lot of questions. “Who are they?” “What do they do?” They, like me, had no idea an entity in the flower industry existed — but that’s the kind of problem I was employed to help fix.

AFE is a non-profit that raises funds to provide plant and flower research, customer market research, internships, scholarships, educational and research grants, and more to the floral industry. What better way to practice what they preach than by hiring an intern like myself to further disseminate their mission? This is one of many ways I learned AFE pursues their passion for aiding the industry. I’ve seen Debi, Candice and Ashley all work extremely hard to make AFE what the industry needs it to be. They prove to be successful as they continue to produce educational resources and young professionals and students participate in their programs.

Upon arrival in June, I was met with a welcoming and professional office environment in beautiful Alexandria, VA. AFE provided all the necessary tools to complete each project and I was given the kind of space and creative freedom I needed. Debi often approached me with fun ideas and made sure I was doing the kind of work I wanted more experience in. I received helpful feedback on my designs, was challenged to improve upon my design process and be more diligent with my work. Along the way, I learned a lot about the floral industry and all of its moving parts. I never realized how often these flower gurus gather to share research, products, information, and innovations. On top of that, I didn’t know the industry was even big enough to do that at all, let alone multiple times a year. AFE is not only reaching out and connecting with different faces in the industry through their online presence but also with their physical presence at these conventions, fundraisers and various gatherings. Their initiatives and dedication really speak to how important they feel flowers are to life, and I don’t know where the industry would be without them.

Working with American Floral Endowment this summer has been a wonderful learning experience. I now have more experience with non-profits in a professional office environment, creating graphic content under deadlines and now, writing, too. I was met with everything I could have asked for in an internship and value the lessons I’ve learned. I’m thrilled to have connected with the team at AFE and I’m excited to see how far AFE’s reach can extend. Power to the flowers.

Shanley King is the communications intern for AFE.

Ayco reports jump in bagged asparagus sales
Ayco Farms is experiencing a substantial increase in bagged asparagus sales to some of its largest retail customers as consumer trends are changing in today's economy. “Bagged asparagus grabbed attention and seems to have kept traction due to consumer trends and the convenience of packaged produce,” said Avi Nir, Ayco Read More ...
Natural Grocers announces new director
Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage Inc. announced that David C. Rooney was unanimously elected to the company's board of directors on Aug. 5. Rooney's election filled the vacant seat on the board created by the previously announced retirement of Michael T. Campbell, which was effective Aug. 5.  Rooney will serve an initial Read More ...
New cold storage and cross-docking operation Glacier Peak opens in Washington
Randy Hartmann, co-owner of Glacier Peak, a new cold storage, packing and cross-docking operation in Wapato, WA, announced its acquisition of the 55,000-square-foot cold storage warehouse Washington Harvest. Hartmann shared that "the purchase of this cold storage and packing operation is intended to provide for greater capacity and Read More ...
Keep on organic summer fruit for September success
Summer is cruising by and Stemilt’s Artisan Organics peach and nectarine season is doing the same. Now is the time to plan and push sales starting Labor Day and through the remainder of September, according to Brianna Shales, Stemilt’s senior marketing manager. Retailers should plan ads and focus on creative displays to show off Read More ...
Kroger launches contactless payments pilot in QFC division
The Kroger Co. launched a contactless payments pilot across the QFC division, located in Seattle, WA, allowing customers to use their mobile device for a more seamless checkout experience. The pilot includes the acceptance of Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay, mobile banking apps and contactless chip cards, Read More ...

Market Watch

the source pro-act

Western growing regions getting hit by rain, cooler temps

floral pulse