All-America Selections Celebrates Milestone Anniversary, Releases Annual Report

AAS 85th Anniversary logoAll-America Selections (AAS) has had a busy and productive year so far in 2017, and there’s a lot more to come. In addition to launching a new website last fall and continuing to introduce new AAS Winners, there are several special events and announcements of note, including an 85th anniversary celebration, an office move and open house, the release of the 2017 Annual Report, and the appointment of three new directors.

85th Anniversary

When the idea for All-America Selections was conceived in the early 1930s, there were only a few flower or vegetable testing locations around the country. If a person or company wanted to introduce a new variety, the plants were usually tested in just one geographic area. There was no national, independent testing program, nor a uniform standard for evaluation of new varieties.

Founder W. Ray Hastings proposed a national network of trial gardens where new, unsold flower and vegetable varieties could be tested in various climates by impartial, volunteer horticultural experts. He presented his proposal to the Southern Seedsman’s Association, his idea took root, and All-America Selections was established. Hastings guided AAS from 1932 to 1971, serving as Executive Secretary.

Celebrating its 85th year in 2017, All-America Selections remains true to the original mission: to test and introduce new varieties that have proven their garden performance. With more than 85 years and almost that many trial grounds, AAS continues as the oldest, most established, international organization testing ornamentals, edibles, and herbaceous perennials in North America. In fact, Europe’s Fleuroselect and Japan Flower Selections duplicated the successful AAS model for their respective regions.

AAS will be at Cultivate’17 and is inviting all attendees to stop by booth #1313 to help celebrate the 85th anniversary.

Office Move and Open House

After more than 30 years in one office space, it was time to celebrate an 85th anniversary and move into a more modern, updated building.

The new AAS address is 5201 Walnut Ave., Suite 3, Downers Grove, IL 60515. The phone number stays the same: 630-963-0770.

For anyone in Chicago the end of July, All-America Selections and National Garden Bureau will be hosting an open house on July 27 from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Please RSVP by emailing Diane Blazek.

2017 Annual Report

AAS also recently released its 2016-2017 Annual Report, reflecting the group’s activities over the past 12 to 18 months.

The Annual Report can be downloaded from the AAS website and is designed to bring new awareness about the organization’s activities and progress. A few key points in this year’s report are:
• Recognition of AAS’ 85th Anniversary
• New and unique marketing projects for all AAS Winners
• A close look at the newest 2017 AAS Winners

Three New Directors

So far in 2017, AAS has welcomed three new directors to the board. They are:
• Chelsey Lenczyk, Bejo Seeds
• Vaughn Fletcher, Fletcher Consulting
• Jessie Liebenguth, Reiman Gardens

They join the board to serve with:
• Connie Dam-Byl, President, Dam Seeds
• Angus Mellish, Past-President, Vesey Seeds
• Jenny Kuhn, Vice-President, C. Raker & Sons
• Patty Buskirk, Treasurer, Seeds By Design/Terra Organica
• Mark Gross, PanAmerican Seed
• Jenny Wegley, Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens
• Justin Hancock, Costa Farms

All-America Selections and its breeders, judges, and staff thank all ten directors for their work and dedication in continuing to build AAS into a strong and viable industry association.

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