All-America Selections launched in 1932 as a way for home gardeners to learn which new varieties of flowers and vegetables have superior garden performance. To do so, those new varieties were trialed by volunteer judges at various companies and universities across North America.
The mission of All America Selections:
“To promote new garden varieties with superior garden performance judged in impartial trials in North America.”
In 1933 the first AAS Winners were announced.
AAS Winners have been introduced to the public every year thereafter.
For many years, there were two types of awards
AAS Gold Medal Winners (reserved for a breeding breakthrough) and the AAS Winners (recognition for a cultivar superior to others on the market). In the past decade, the organization moved to recognize regional performance as well as national performance. There are now three award types: Gold Medal, National, and Regional.
Breeding breakthroughs are rare
So the coveted Gold Medal Award is awarded only once or twice a decade.