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Following the first NAFAS webinar held on Thursday 16th May 2024 a summary of questions, responses and chat has been prepared, and if you are interested in reading the content please click here

It was agreed to also upload the following separately for members information.

Question:

I’m currently undertaking a floristry course and have also become involved in an eco-friendly project whereby we collect floral tributes from the local crematoriums to try to recycle the plastic to reduce land fill. The waste of floral foam and flowers is mind blowing and the plastic the same.  What is NAFAS doing to educate demonstrators to work with more eco-friendly materials to support land fill? 

With thanks to the Beryl Cotton, and members of the National Demonstrators Committee for providing the answer.

Answer:

NAFAS is undertaking much to educate our demonstrators at all levels to work with more eco-friendly materials to lessen deposits to landfill.    Demonstrators are just one important discipline within our organisation. 

Here is a list of recent education initiatives:    

  • At the 2022 Demonstrators Symposium the focus was foam free designs and English Growers.
  • Many Areas are now organising accredited Demonstrator Refresher Days when our qualified Instructors give guidance to our National, Area and trainee demonstrators.
  • Many Areas of NAFAS are holding their own workshops for all members to enjoy working with foam free techniques and building awareness/availability of eco-friendly materials – these might be labelled as demonstrator training, competitive or education days open to all members.
  • The Flower Arranger magazine gives our demonstrators and members a lot of inspiration and has offers to purchase eco-friendly materials.
  • We can also refer to the NAFAS Vision, Mission & Values Statement which is on this website.
  • Demonstrators are advised to include at least one foam free design in their club demonstrations. However, many demonstrators work totally foam free.
  • Demonstrators are instructed to use biodegradable water retaining foam and indeed are requested to use less floral foam where possible.
  • At Area Demonstrator Tests candidates must produce one foam free design in their portfolio and at Pre-National Assessment and National level candidates are required to not only include foam free designs in their portfolio but to include at least one design – if not more during their test.
  • The National Demonstrators Committee keep in touch with demonstrators via the Area Demonstrator Representatives and newsletters.
  • NAFAS (and florists) are constantly evaluating new bio-degradable products from companies and floral sundry wholesalers.


We must not forget that the club members, via their committee and programme secretary book and pay the demonstrators, and many are requesting the use of bio-degradable foam designs with one or two foam free designs.   They are our customers!    Our demonstrators are all self-employed and need to provide what our audiences are requesting.     Without the clubs and members there would be no demonstrators.  

Demonstrators find NAFAS audiences are very much aware of recycling and the need to work towards an eco-friendly world. Over time, individual club members need educating to accept new ways of working.   

It goes without saying that creating foam free designs takes demonstrators much longer to prepare and this undoubtedly incurs extra costs.  Following a demonstration, many of our demonstrators give completed designs to the audience or additional time to make up hand tie bouquets.  

We continue to work hard towards gaining audience acceptance of using eco-friendly materials. We appreciate, as demonstrators, we are Ambassadors for NAFAS.    There is much work still to be done not only within our organisation but in our homes, the workplace and beyond.   We are, perhaps, a small cog in a huge wheel. 

To help reduce our carbon footprint, we need more English-grown flower suppliers.   Floral sundries wholesalers are still clearing stock and supplying many plastic containers and foam shapes – so not surprised to hear about the waste you find at crematoria.  We feel sure this will take several years for market demand to adapt. 

We must not forget the economics of supply and demand.  Most funeral tributes are still designed with floral foam shapes.   We must not forget that these designs give much comfort to families mourning the loss of loved ones.   

Turning everything upside down, without giving time to fully consider the economic consequences, will undoubtedly result in many job losses and additional costs.    We have come a long way since the formation of our flower clubs in 1959 but if we research the early days of flower arranging, we will come across many eco-friendly ideas prior to the invention of floral foam.      

Rest assured, whilst we do not prohibit the use of floral foam, demonstrators respect and are mindful of, the environment and sustainability.      

Hopefully, when you have completed your floristry course, if you have not already, you may consider demonstrator training in your Area of NAFAS and become an Ambassador for NAFAS.    You will then be able to assist in the important work of continuing to win the hearts and minds of our NAFAS members towards eco-friendly practices.

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