Press Releases

CalFlowers, the leading floral trade association in California serving growers and the entire supply chain in 48 states, is pleased to announce the hiring of Steve Dionne as executive director.

Dionne, who starts the new position November 2, says he is thrilled to be appointed and looks forward to serving in such a meaningful leadership role within the floral industry. “Contributing to the vision established by CalFlowers – including the elected board and association members is an honor and a golden opportunity to share my insights and lead with dedication,” says Dionne. His familiarity with CalFlowers is strong since he has served on the Board of Directors for more than 16 years, and has twice served as president of the association.

For more than 26 years Dionne has been involved in the floral industry and has been a feet-on-the-ground evaluator and participant. “Developing Wafex USA’s supply chain facilitated my visits to farms and distributors in 19 countries across five continents in the past seven years. I learned that even despite international differences, the flower business is just about the same everywhere you go and challenges are mostly universal.”

Industry achievements for Dionne include being named Floral Marketer of the Year in 1998 by the Society of American Florists, and induction into The American Academy of Floriculture in 2010. He holds a B.A. from University of San Diego. 

While maintaining focus on CalFlowers transportation initiatives, Dionne will also place great emphasis on collaboration with current CalFlowers affiliates and other industry associations. He says CalFlowers members especially deserve guidance and support now as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to hurl new burdens into the flower business playbook. “As the industry propels through this period, CalFlowers will be doing everything we can to help our stakeholders harness the opportunities that exist,” explains Dionne.

Frank Biddle, president and owner of Francis Biddle International, Inc. and president of CalFlowers, indicates Dionne is exactly the leader the association has been seeking. “We are an optimistic industry with wonderful products and services that make a difference in consumers’ lives, but challenges are plentiful right now. With his many years of experiencing relevant leadership roles and having so many levels of responsibility in the industry, we see Steve as the ideal person for the executive director,” says Biddle.

Dionne adds, “CalFlowers aspirational goal is clear – More Americans enjoying more flowers more often. I couldn’t be more excited to work with our great staff, members, and directors to help make this vision a reality.”



CalFlowers Strengthens Scholarship Fund with AFE Donation

January 5, 2021 Fallbrook, CA  CalFlowers, the leading floral trade association in California serving growers and the entire supply chain in 48 states, announces the donation of $50,000 to the American Floral Endowment (AFE) in Alexandria, VA. The monetary gift is directed to fund the CalFlowers Scholarship administered by AFE.

“Supporting the efforts of the American Floral Endowment by continuing to fund the CalFlowers Scholarship is a worthy investment and a genuine measure of our commitment to nurture and sustain the floral industry,” says Steve Dionne, executive director of the Fallbrook, CA-based association. “With longevity in mind, this substantial gift is a recognized way to fuel one of our many endeavors -- to assure Floral has a sound future with top talent coming into the industry.”

Created for undergraduate students attending an accredited California college or university, or for California residents attending a U.S. university or accredited college, the CalFlowers Scholarship was initiated in 2018. To date, the donation amount from CalFlowers to AFE for the designated scholarship fund has reached $200,000.

“Receiving this kind of financial support garners immeasurable attention to the on-going AFE scholarship program. We’re especially pleased to administer the CalFlowers Scholarship along with 30 others because it means so much to the students, their families and the floral industry,” says Debi Chedester, AFE executive director. “The $50,000 donation should result in an annual yield of $8,000 – a rousing amount sure to be appreciated by future scholarship recipients.”

A primary function of AFE, awarding scholarships for floriculture and horticulture students occurs annually. Interested candidates can read scholarship descriptions and application deadline information at

On board as executive director since November 2, but a long-time member of CalFlowers, Dionne adds, “Deciding and acting to donate to the scholarship fund at this level represents a way for the current board of directors to implement a mechanism to power the perpetual quality of the fund.” The board, which is comprised of 13 CalFlowers members, is dedicated to addressing current industry issues while planning for the future. Dionne indicates the board members of CalFlowers have great vision and the association is planning many ventures to bolster and augment current campaigns endorsing the aspirational goal of -- More Americans enjoying more flowers more often.

To learn more about American Floral Endowment, please visit
Photo Courtesy of AFE



We’re excited to give you… ‘That Flower Feeling’!

Thursday, January 13
11:00 a.m. PST (2:00 p.m. EST)

CalFlowers will share, for your viewing pleasure, our exciting new consumer-direct brand and marketing campaign launch.  Everyone is invited to join!

CalFlowers is on a mission to ensure more Americans enjoying more flowers more often.  We have partnered with marketing agency 180 Amsterdam and media agency Designory to produce and execute a professional, funny, edgy, and very shareable marketing campaign that will launch nationally across numerous social media platforms, podcasts, and music streaming channels in January. 

Our goal in this ‘viewing party’ is not only to introduce you to our concept and marketing assets, but also to encourage you – and give you the tools – to leverage this campaign for the benefit of your own business and the industry at large.  We need all segments of the floriculture industry to help amplify the campaign through your own established marketing channels, and we will provide you the access to do so! 

We will walk you through the range of marketing assets and explain the full depth of the campaign which will include films and stills for social media platforms, host-read and voiceover ads on selected podcasts, a roster of social influencers, and point-of-sale items such as posters and truck wraps.  CalFlowers is proud to offer this full range to all industry participants, regardless of whether you are a CalFlowers member.

Give us 45 minutes of your time on January 13th, and help us bring this transformative, national marketing campaign to flower consumers across the country.  We look forward to seeing you!

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

To learn more about That Flower Feeling - connect with Steve Dionne by phone: (760) 213-3996 or email [email protected].  


That Flower Feeling thanks Miley Cyrus for being the unofficial ambassador for flowers 

As per the lyrics of her now infamous song, Miley doesn’t need anyone to buy her flowers.So instead, That Flower Feeling thanked her with the next best thing: a defiant, Miley-inspired vase.

When Miley Cyrus unintentionally captures your brand purpose in a song, there’s only one thing that can be done: thank her for the selfless act and make her your unofficial ambassador.

The lyrics in Miley’s billboard-topping song Flowers, “I can buy myself flowers” have become an anthem for self-empowerment. Turning what’s typically seen as a romantic gift into a rebellious act of self-care.

It’s a message that’s not far from what the flower brand, That Flower Feeling, has been communicating to consumers. As Heather Lewis, Strategy Director at 180 Amsterdam explained: “That Flower Feeling has always believed that flowers are a powerful and simple act of self-care. One with benefits backed by science. So, when we heard Miley singing the same tune, we knew we had to thank her properly.”

But when it came to thanking Miley, That Flower Feeling couldn’t send her a regular floral gift. Because, as per the song’s lyrics, Miley doesn’t need anyone to do that for her. So instead, That Flower Feeling thanked her with the next best thing: a customized vase that perfectly captures her boldly defiant spirit. 

Made personal with Miley’s tattoos, the hand vase’s curious shape is designed to either be seen as a raised fist for self-empowerment or a bold sign to her ex, depending on how she feels. With the latter gesture resulting in a pose that has become part of the rebellious singer’s personal brand.

But That Flower Feeling didn’t stop there. The brand has also taken out billboards in the singer’s neighborhood, as well as a mobile billboard in LA, to personally thank her for celebrating flowers as the ultimate act of self-care.

Steve Dionne, Executive Director at That Flower Feeling said: “When one of the world’s most famous pop stars sings about what your business stands for, you must join the conversation. By thanking Miley on a larger-than-life scale, we’re able to stoke the cultural fire and make sure That Flower Feeling appreciates its newest, unofficial ambassador.”

That Flower Feeling has been shifting perceptions about flowers as self-care for the past year, since launching its first-ever ad campaign, ‘Flowers. Self Care Made Easy’. The work pushes against the overly complicated and at times ridiculous self-care rituals that have varying degrees of effectiveness, offering an easy alternative, backed by science: flowers.

Miley Cyrus’ song Flowers launched in early January 2023 as the lead single in her latest studio album Endless Summer Vacation. The song went straight to number one, breaking the record as the most streamed song in a week on Spotify during both its first and second week. It debuted at the top of the Billboard Global 200 chart, has been at number one in the US for the last five weeks while also reaching number one in over 35 countries.


About That Flower Feeling
That Flower Feeling is a collaborative effort by the U.S. floral industry to promote the use and enjoyment of fresh cut flowers in the United States. Launched in 2022 by CalFlowers association, the consumer-facing brand is educating consumers about the importance of enjoying flowers in our everyday lives to experience the proven benefits on mood, creativity, and connectivity. Regardless of how flowers come into our lives – whether it be as an act of self-care or a gift of love –flowers provide tangible benefits to those who experience their natural beauty.

For more information, please visit Or contact Steve Dionne, [email protected] // (760) 213-3996

About 180
180 exists to create The World As It Could Be. It operates as a unique global ecosystem with major hubs in Amsterdam, LA and New York and specialist hubs in Tokyo, Paris, and MENA. 300 world class professionals all committed to radical collaboration and the belief that there is nothing more powerful than a fresh perspective. Dedicated to creating ideas that have a positive impact on our clients, our people and society. And we’ve been doing it for a while. 20 years. And counting. Delivering end-to-end creativity across advertising and content, data and insights, brand strategy, digital innovation, consultancy, and design. Working with the brands, people and partners who choose to see the world just like us. Not as it is. But as it could be.

For more information, please visit


Annual CalFlowers Scholarship Recipients

About The CalFlowers Scholarship:
The CalFlowers Scholarship is for undergraduate students attending an accredited California college or university (first priority) or an undergraduate California resident attending an accredited college or university elsewhere in the U.S. (second priority). Students applying for this scholarship do not need to be majoring in an agricultural program but must demonstrate a commitment to seeking employment in the floriculture industry after graduation. A work history or a meaningful internship experience in floriculture is necessary if the applicant is not obtaining an agricultural degree. Students should have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. 

Carla Quimson, Cal Poly Pomona, Landscape Architecture, Urban Planning CalFlowers 2023 Scholarship - $4,250
“This scholarship means that I can focus on my education and not worry about finances. Most importantly, it means that there are people like you who support and stand behind every student like me to succeed and to help better our future.” 

Click Here to read the full press release from AFE and to see the full list of scholarship Recipients.

Chelsea Flood - Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Nutrition, Agriculture Education CalFlowers 2023 Scholarship - $4,250 
“This scholarship will significantly fund my education at Cal Poly and allow me to keep working at the Poly Plant shop. Without this scholarship I would be much more stressed out about working to pay for my college, but I can instead enjoy the job I have while still being a full-time student. “ 

Click Here to read the full press release from AFE and to see the full list of scholarship Recipients.

Kiara Benavides, Agriculture Science Major is the fourth recipient of the CalFlowers Scholarship - 2021

CalFlowers Scholarship — $6,400 Recipient: Kiara Benavides, California Polytechnic State University
Kiara Benavides (pictured left) is a senior at California Polytechnic State University, majoring in Agriculture Science with an Ornamental Horticulture emphasis and minoring in Agribusiness. Kiara is a leader in multiple organizations at her school. She clearly supports her goal of teaching floral design and ornamental horticulture in high school and being a Future Farmers of America career coach. While in school, Kiara works at Poly Plant Shop located at Cal Poly's Horticultural Unit. In this position, she produces custom floral pieces and arrangements for retail and sells custom bouquets and cut flowers at San Luis Obispo Farmers Markets. She is also employed as a field research assistant at the Cal Poly Strawberry Center that partnered with the California Strawberry Commission to increase the sustainability of the California Strawberry industry through research and education that addresses industry needs. Following graduation, Kiara plans to enroll in Cal Poly's Master of Agriculture Education program. Through this program, graduate students complete their master's degree, student teach, and receive their teaching credentials in one academic school year. “My absolute dream job is to become an Agriculture Teacher back home in the Central Valley. Teaching agriculture curriculum will allow me to teach floriculture courses,” said Kiara. “I aspire to introduce students to the industry and hopefully encourage some to pursue personal floriculture and horticulture endeavors!” The California Association of Flower Growers & Shippers (CalFlowers) was founded in 1941 by a small group of flower shipping companies to foster the success of the California floral industry. Today, CalFlowers is the leading floral trade association in California serving growers and the entire supply chain in CA and 47 other states across the country. The CalFlowers Scholarship is for undergraduate students attending an accredited California college or university or an undergraduate California resident attending an accredited college or university elsewhere in the United States.

Click Here to read the full press release from AFE and to see the full list of scholarship Recipients.

Nichole Davidson, of City College of San Francisco Student Is The Third Recipient of the CalFlowers Scholarship - 2020 

Nichole Davidson, (pictured left)a senior at City College of San Francisco, has been selected to receive the third annual CalFlowers Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded every year to an undergraduate student who demonstrates a commitment to working in the floriculture industry.

Nichole Davidson, expects to graduate in December, with an associate degree in Nursery and Garden-Center Operation and Commercial Cut Flower and Greenhouse Production.  Following graduation, Davidson will seek a career in greenhouse and nursery management.

For the past two summers, Davidson has interned in Italy at Cascina Borgofrancone in Colico, and at Villa Boccanegra in Ventimiglia. She has served as a lab aide at the City College of San Francisco for three years. “My next step in education is to find and attend graduate school for ethnobotany. I am also writing a book on the edible and medicinal plants of the bay area and where to find them and how to grow them,” said Davidson. She plans for this to be the first of a series featuring various travel destinations.

Click here to see all of the AFE scholarship award winners.

Helene Dondero, Agricultural Science Major, Is The Second Recipient of the CalFlowers Scholarship - 2019

Helene Dondero, a senior at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly), has been selected to receive the second annual CalFlowers Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded every year to an undergraduate student who demonstrates a commitment to working in the floriculture industry.

Dondero is a senior at Cal Poly majoring in agricultural science with an emphasis in ornamental horticulture and a minor in agricultural business.  She grew up in the floral industry, working in her family’s business, Fiore Floral and Gifts, and participating in and leading numerous student and industry organizations at Cal Poly and with Future Farmers of America (FFA). She plans to return Cal Poly to complete a master’s degree in agricultural science after she graduates in the spring of 2020.

“My goal is to be an agricultural science teacher and FFA Advisor. I will be able to share my general knowledge of agriculture with my students, and the knowledge I’ve gained from my hands-on experience working in floral, wholesale, and growing operations,” said Dondero. “I feel that from this hands-on experience – and relationships I have built in the industry – I have a greater understanding of the vastness of the horticulture industry, and I look forward to sharing that with my students.”

Roamie Thatcher, Horticulture Major Is First Recipient of New CalFlowers Scholarship - 2018 

A City College of San Francisco student has been selected to receive the first annual CalFlowers Scholarship. The scholarship will be awarded every year to an undergraduate student who demonstrates a commitment to working in the floriculture industry.

Roamie Thatcher, a San Francisco Botanical Gardens volunteer, private gardener, and community gardener, is the first to be awarded the $2000 scholarship.

“I have been gardening since I was seven years old, when I planted a fairy garden in my backyard. Next came raised beds and a community garden, and now I’m taking horticulture classes at City College of San Francisco and volunteering at the San Francisco Botanical Gardens,” said Roamie.

When asked about her future plans, Roamie replied, “I would like one day to own my own wholesale plant nursery that specializes in ancient and medicinal plants.”

About American Floral Endowment (AFE)
The American Floral Endowment( AFE) provides more scholarships in floriculture than any other organization to help attract, retain, and support young professionals in our industry. AFE scholarships act as a powerful catalyst for the next generation of floral industry leaders. Financial constraints can deter many students, but with the help of these scholarships, future industry leaders and innovators can access quality education and training, paving the way for a promising future in the floral industry.

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