GFM Founder Lynn Byczynski was recently honored by the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers (ASCFG) for her work educating flower farmers through her writing in Growing for Market and her book, The Flower Farmer: An Organic Grower’s Guide to Raising and Selling Cut Flowers. She was presented with the Allan Armitage Leadership Award at the ASCFG’s 30th Anniversary conference in Raleigh, NC.
“The ASCFG bestows only two awards, and even those only occasionally, to those who have gone above and beyond in their service and contributions to the ASCFG and the cut flower industry,” said Judy Laushman, executive director. “It was an honor to present this award to Lynn.”
Alex Hitt of Peregrine Farm presented the award at the anniversary banquet, the final event of the three-day national conference. In accordance with the group’s tradition, Lynn was not told in advance that she had won the award, and so the realization dawned slowly as Alex described her dual career as a journalist and a flower grower.
Lynn and her husband, Dan Nagengast, started growing organic vegetables in 1988 and soon diversified into cut flowers for sale at farmers markets, florists, and their local food coop. Lynn joined the ASCFG in 1991, about the same time she started planning to launch a national newsletter for market farmers.
The first issue of Growing for Market was published in January 1992 and Lynn ran it until 2016, when Andrew Mefferd assumed the role of editor. The Flower Farmer was published by Chelsea Green Publishing in 1997, with a second, revised edition published in 2007. It continues to sell well and is widely considered essential reading for new flower farmers. Lynn’s second book, Market Farming Success, was published by Chelsea Green in 2013.
“I was touched to receive this award,” Lynn said. “I have always felt incredibly lucky that I was able to create a career that merged my two great passions – reporting, and growing food and flowers. So my work has been its own reward. But it’s really great to receive this affirmation from my colleagues in the cut flower world."
“The ASCFG has provided so much support and information to me throughout the years that I’m not sure I would have succeeded as a flower grower without it. It is a unique organization of people who love flowers and gladly share their knowledge. It is the most collegial and fun group of people I know.”
The ASCFG also bestowed its second award at the conference. President Dave Dowling received the 2018 Outstanding Service Award “for his years of selfless generosity to the ASCFG as a whole, and personally to countless growers."
The ASCFG holds its national conference every other year, with smaller meetings in the off years. In 2019, meetings are scheduled for Denver, St. Louis, Portland, Maine, and Nashville. For more information, visit ascfg.org.