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Planting Pride in Communities with America in Bloom

Articles: Planting Pride in Communities with America in Bloom

Residents of Elfin Forest sowed more than sixty pounds of wildflower seeds to win points in the Floral Displays category. Author’s photographs

In towns across the country each summer, communities prepare for a visit by judges from the America in Bloom (AIB) Competition. This is a friendly competition between like-sized towns, but it is not just a beauty contest. Judges evaluate communities on eight criteria: floral displays, landscape, urban forestry, environment, tidiness, community involvement, turf and groundcover, and heritage. The goal of the program is to make America a better place in which to live, one community at a time.

The program’s international heritage derives from Canada’s “Communities in Bloom” program, Ireland’s “Tidy Towns” competition, and France’s “Villages in Bloom” contest. In 2005, as the AIB program enters its fourth year, nearly eighty towns will have participated, competing against towns of similar size. Reaction to the program everywhere is enthusiastic. People often greet judges saying, “We’ve already won, just by entering. Our town has never looked so good.” The program bring...

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