The City Spirit Award recognizes a specific citywide effort that successfully addresses a local need. This year’s award is presented to the City of Gainesville for its “Edible Groves Program.” Launched in 2020, the program is the result of an idea produced during a city workshop in 2019. The program’s primary goals are to improve access to fresh produce in parts of the City that have low access to healthy food, encourage visits to city parks and community spaces and increase knowledge of food-bearing plants and trees that are well adapted to the City’s local environment. To date, roughly 175 fruit and nut trees have been planted, including plum, persimmon, pear, nectarine, fig and chestnut, among many others.
The Florida Citizenship Award recognizes a city project or program that increases civic awareness and education and promotes active participation in local government among residents. This year’s award is presented to the Village of Miami Shores Village for “Brockway Library: A Conduit for Historical Preservation.” The Brockway Library has been a major civic institution in Miami Shores Village since its opening in 1949. In 2002, the library acquired the Village’s historical holdings, which inspired many of the library’s current collaborations and programs between the library, local historians and village leadership and staff. As a result of these collaborative efforts, the library now has a robust historic preservation program that provides a rich offering of resources including a digitized archive, ongoing lectures, storytelling programs, tours and exhibits. All of the library’s efforts are made in service to its overarching goal: to raise awareness, promote historic preservation and encourage civic engagement among village residents of all ages.
The Environmental Stewardship Award recognizes a city program that promotes conservation, improves and protects environmental conditions, and/or provides environmental education and outreach programs. This year’s award is presented to the City of Orlando for its “Kidz Zone Sustainability Adventure Program,” which provides Orlando youth with enriching outdoor experiences while educating them on sustainability initiatives and careers within Florida. The program allows young people living in some of Orlando’s poorest neighborhoods to learn sustainability principles and how to put them into practice on a small and large scale. In addition, the program allows participants to learn about innovative sustainability practices, participate in hands-on service projects that improve the local environment and explore potential career paths.
All three winning cities will receive a trophy and be featured in the League’s award-winning magazine, Quality Cities (QC), as well as on the League’s website and social media outlets.