The UFGCA was established in 1962 and is located in the heart of Vancouver's flower district. The auction was modeled after the Dutch flower auction system, with the goal of bringing efficiency and transparency to the flower market in Western Canada.
The UFGCA operates as a cooperative, with the majority of its members being flower growers from across British Columbia and beyond. Every morning, growers bring their flowers to the auction house, where they are displayed and prepared for sale.
The auction process itself is similar to the Dutch model. Flowers are displayed on carts that are tagged with a unique barcode, which is used to track the movement of each cart throughout the warehouse. Buyers from across North America participate in the auction remotely, using a computer system to place bids on the flowers they are interested in.
The auction is conducted in a series of rounds, with each round lasting just a few seconds. During each round, the computer system calculates the current price of the flowers based on the bids that have been placed. The price starts high and drops quickly as buyers place bids. When the price reaches a level that a buyer is willing to pay, they hit a button on their computer to "buy" the flowers. At that point, the sale is final, and the flowers are sold to the highest bidder.
One of the key differences between the UFGCA and the Dutch flower auction is the size of the operation. While the Dutch flower auction is one of the largest in the world, with millions of flowers being sold every day, the UFGCA is a much smaller operation. Nevertheless, the auction is highly efficient, with the majority of flowers being sold within just a few minutes of being put up for sale.
After the auction is over, the flowers are sorted and packaged for shipping. Because the UFA is located in Vancouver, flowers can be shipped to almost anywhere in North America within just a day or two of being sold. This allows growers to get their flowers to market quickly, which is essential in an industry where freshness is paramount.
In conclusion, the Flower Auction in Vancouver is a great example of how the Dutch flower auction model can be adapted to work in different parts of the world. By bringing efficiency and transparency to the flower market in Western Canada, the UFGCA has helped to support the region's flower growers and ensure that fresh, beautiful flowers are available to consumers across the continent.