All-America Selections Presents Awards at Summer Summit

September 1, 2011 - 08:21

All-America Selections recently hosted the annual AAS Summer Summit Aug. 9 to 11 in Monterey, Calif. An annual highlight of the AAS Summer Summit is the awards presentation.

All-America Selections recently hosted the annual AAS Summer Summit Aug. 9 to 11 in Monterey, Calif. This event is an opportunity for breeders, brokers/distributors, mail order seed companies, seed packet companies, growers, retailers and AAS trial judges to network and learn more about recent AAS winners as well as varieties currently undergoing trialing.

This year the group spent time in the AAS trial grounds and the American Garden Award display located at Sakata Seeds and American Takii in Salinas as well as Syngenta Vegetables and Flowers in Gilroy. The second day of tours saw the group visit Earthbound Farms, then McShane's Nursery where an industry panel discussed the merits of an AAS award to the entire distribution chain. The second day concluded with a visit to Tanimura & Antle/Natividad Nursery, a 3,000-acre lettuce grower in Salinas.

An annual highlight of the AAS Summer Summit is the awards presentation. The first award was the prestigious AAS Medallion of Honor, an award designed to recognize someone with a lifelong dedication to advancement in the field of horticulture. Kenneth (Kim) Bodger is the 2011 recipient of the Medallion of Honor. Kim began working at his family's seed business while still in college where he threw himself into learning the business. It is widely known that Kim led a strategic move to focus on breeding back in the 70s, which led Bodger to become one of the leading U.S. seed breeders. But Kim's business savvy was not limited to just the U.S. market as he was instrumental in establishing Semienes de los Andes (SDLA or Bodger Seeds-Chile) for greenhouse production of flower seed crops. Kim also worked extensively with Bodger's European customers and was known for his impeccable reputation for honesty and commitment.

The second award, the AAS Breeders' Cup, was established in 2004 to recognize a breeder who has dramatically influenced horticulture by his or her work in bringing significant improvements to specific flower or vegetable classes. The 2011 Breeders' Cup Award recipient is Yosh Arimitsu, flower breeder for Bodger Seeds since 1977. Arimitsu immigrated to the United States and began working in flower seed breeding in the late 50s. Recognizing not only his work as a breeder, but also as a caring and giving person, Kim Bodger presented the award and cited Yosh's work in ageratum, alyssum, antirrhinum, calendulas, delphinium, marigolds, pansies, portulaca, statice, sweet peas, violas and zinnias, among others.

The 2012 AAS Summer Summit will take place in conjunction with the Michigan Plant Tour Days Aug. 7 to 10, 2012.

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