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Return of the Chicago Excellence in Gardening Awards 60-Second Garden Video Challenge

The 60-second Garden Video Challenge graphic with a garden in the background

The Chicago Excellence in Gardening Awards (CEGA) is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year by bringing back the second 60-Second Garden Video Challenge. In 2020, with COVID-19 making social distancing the norm, CEGA learned a valuable lesson about gardening awards: “When life hands you a pandemic, make videos!”

Each year since 2017, the nonprofit Chicago Excellence in Gardening Alliance has presented the awards, Chicago’s only citywide gardening honors recognizing the hard work and creativity that make our city a healthier, more beautiful and more sustainable place. In 2019, the CEGA committee honored gardens from 43 wards and 76 Chicago communities. From simple parkways to elegant home gardens, to large and productive urban farms, these gardens exemplify the Chicago motto, adopted in 1837, “Urbs in Horto.”

CEGA’s first 60-Second Garden Video Challenge garnered more than 13,000 views as gardeners from coast-to-coast showcased their efforts. There were two major categories—residential gardens and institutional gardens such as schools, churches, community gardens and businesses, with monthly awards, as well as overall first-, second- and third-place finishes for each category.

This year, the competition is back with a new twist;  there are two challenges, in spring and summer. CEGA will have a two-month spring competition for May and June followed by a separate July and August summer competition.

Gardeners create one-minute videos of their gardens and upload them to the CEGA website. The CEGA team reviews them for social standards and music licensing considerations, and posts the videos on the CEGA YouTube Channel. Viewers then use the “thumbs up” to vote for their favorite videos.

To be eligible for the spring competition, videos will be accepted from May 1 through June 30. Videos for the summer competition will be accepted from July 1 to August 31. Winners in each category will be announced for each month of the competition. In addition, the top three vote-getters for the spring and summer sections in each category will be awarded modest cash prizes. Videos that receive the most votes will be posted on the CEGA website and on its social media pages.

The competition is free and open to anyone that has a garden or belongs to one. Videos can be straightforward, clever, artistic or funny. Entrants need not be from Chicago.

For more information including a full set of rules and to enter the challenge, visit