IIB thrives on community’s pride

Published 10:23 am Thursday, February 13, 2014

If you are like me, you weren’t aware of America in Bloom (Ironton in Bloom’s parent organization) until it came to Ironton. The national organization actually has quite a history.

After the destruction left by WWII, a movement was started in France to make towns and villages bloom again. The movement was named “Villes Et Villages Fleuris” or France In Bloom.

Nowadays it involves more than 11,000 local councils, villages and/or communities. The French program is run by the Department of Tourism and Agriculture and focuses on trees, shrubs and flowers. Its goals, like ours, are Tidiness, Economic Growth, Flowers and Tourism.

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There is a similar program operating in Ireland that is more than 50 years old named Tidy Towns of Ireland. It is government run by the Department of Environment. This comparatively small country has more than 700 communities involved.

Britain In Bloom has existed since 1963 and involves more than 1,400 communities. They list Pride, Volunteerism, Litter Control and Tourism as their most important goals.

Communities in Bloom began in Canada in 1995. It currently has 500 communities involved, and, like ours, is a non-profit organization that shares goals that are very similar to those listed in IIB’s mission statement: working to improve Environment, Heritage, and Community Involvement.

The national America in Bloom began in 2001 as a pilot project with Canada’s Communities In Bloom. In the years the America In Bloom program has existed, it has spread to more than 200 cities and 38 states.

With the same goals as our European counterparts, it is designed to bring people from every walk of life together to create meaningful, constructive projects by combining efforts of residents, businesses, and local government.

Starting about eight years ago with a treasury of zero, and buoyed by the testimony of established Bloom groups who assured us that our efforts would naturally spread to include economic development and historical preservation, Ironton In Bloom set out.

AIB’s assurance that it wouldn’t take long to get businesses and individuals involved quickly proved to be true. Pride in our town has visibly increased as individuals, volunteer groups, businesses, and city government work together to create visible, constructive projects.

As spring approaches, Ironton in Bloom begins, as usual, with almost empty coffers. We have ordered this summer’s downtown floral display on faith, trusting, as we have in years past, that the financial support will come.

You have always come through spectacularly and we are confident that again this year you will donate your time and/or resources to help make Lady Ironton bloom proudly once again.

Onward and Upward.


Judy Sanders is a member of Ironton In Bloom. She can be reached at JudyS1944@roadrunner.com.