The Lush Spring Prize, coordinated by Ethical Consumer, has nature at its heart. The £200,000 prize fund will benefit 11 social and environmental regeneration projects, across four prize categories.
Ethical Consumer’s Ruth Strange said: “The prize is about holistic thinking.”
Over 450 nominations were whittled down by a panel of judges, who are themselves experts in regenerative fields, including food sovereignty, eco-village networks and permaculture.
This is the pilot year for the Spring Prize, and future years may see it grow.
The 2017 Spring Prize winners:
For ideas and projects up to one year old.
MontBio (Montnegre Biochar)
MontBio promotes the intelligent use of carbon for ecological, economic and social regeneration; climate change adaption; and truly ethical consumerism.
The group has permission to recover “waste” wood from forestry operations that would otherwise be burned in order to create a high value, carbon negative product.
They suggest that if biochar is produced on an appropriate scale, from renewable resources, and using regenerative design principles, it could play a significant role in addressing some of the world’s most critical problems including climate change, fossil fuel dependence, declining soil fertility, and the economic crisis.
Compassos Institute / Action Compassos
Founded in Florianópolis, Brazil, Compassos Institute debates ideas and solutions related to the marginalisation of those with special needs, and in particular young adults who have found it difficult to enter the workforce because of their impairments.
The Institute has proposed creative, innovative, and viable solutions that will not only help their members but also go some way to strengthen the local culture, economy and environment.
The BENAA Foundation encourages and empowers the Arabian youth in order to develop and enhance sustainable projects.
The group will use the funds to help 50 motivated young people from five different regions in Egypt to start up an integrated project for rural development. Water, sanitation and hygiene solutions, plus solid waste management and rural planning will be at the heart of these plans.
Regeneration Project Granada
Regeneration Project Granada is a forward-thinking collaborative attempting a new approach to refugeeism. Their vision is to repopulate a relatively uninhabited village in the Spanish province of Granada using permaculture models.
Gilbert Jassey is a core member of the group, and is also a refugee seeking asylum in Spain after being persecuted by his government for environmental activism. He said: “This project aims to build a mutual relationship and trust between refugees and rural communities through the regeneration of degraded landscapes.”
The Soft Foot Alliance (SFA)
The Soft Foot Alliance is a community-driven initiative that seeks to improve the lives and landscapes of people living on the boundary of Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, while achieving a sustainable co-existence with the local wildlife.
The SFA designs and implements long-term sustainable solutions that allow humans and wildlife to live together harmoniously in a regenerative, inspirational and protective environment.
For groups or organisations that are 1-5 years old.
Indigenous Climate Action (ICA)
Indigenous Climate Action (ICA) is an Indigenous-led initiative that inspires climate justice, supporting these communities to be drivers of climate solutions.
The organisation’s director, Eriel Deranger, said the prize is going to mean a lot to Indigenous Climate Action: “It’s going to help us move from a volunteer led organisation to having the ability to have more structure, hire some staff, and have the toolkit and resources that we want to in order to expand our reach to communities across the country.”
Mining Watch Romania
Mining Watch Romania protects its nation’s communities against destructive industrial scale mining projects. They monitor the permits issued by authorities to mining companies, and flag up any irregularities to decision makers in Romania and when relevant, at EU level.
The group said: “The most rewarding part is being able to keep our mountains in place, to be able to see entire communities and landscapes safe from destructive mining.”
Soils, Food, and Health Communities (SFHC)
The SFHC’s mission is to help provincial farmers build healthier, stronger communities by creating and sharing knowledge that consists of local indigenous expertise, farmer-led research and feedback on the latest ecological methods.
The group from Malawi said: “The Spring Prize is enabling us to move our work forward toward our ultimate goal of building stronger, more resilient and equitable households and communities.”
Recognising groups that can demonstrate successful and inspirational work over more than five years.
The Timbaktu Collective
The Timbaktu Collective works towards sustainable development in the drought prone Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh in India.
The group has regenerated more than 7,000 acres of wasteland into forests, and worked in over 172 villages of Chennekothapalli, Roddam and Ramagiri mandals of the Anantapur district. This substantial reach means they serve almost 21,000 marginalised families, helping to enhance the livelihood resources of the rural poor, landless labourers, and small and marginal farmers, particularly women, children, youth, dalits and the disabled.
Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SAT)
Created in Morogoro, Eastern Tanzania, SAT promotes and facilitates environmentally friendly farming methods to improve the quality and quantity of food produced in a bid to eradicate food insecurity, poverty and malnutrition.
SAT’s mission is simple. It inspires, educates, and trains small-scale farmers in the use of organic methods to tackle the agricultural challenges of the 21st century, such as climate change, scarcity of resources and the food crisis. It does this by bringing them together with educators, researchers and even members of the government.
For organisations that are campaigning or lobbying to influence policy, regulation or public opinion in support of regeneration.
La Via Campesina (LVC)
LVC represents millions of peasants, small and medium-size farmers, landless people, women farmers, indigenous people, migrants and agricultural workers, across 73 countries.
They work hard to defend peasant agriculture against corporate-driven agriculture and trade liberalisation, uphold food sovereignty as a response to the intertwined food and climate crises, and work towards a Peasant Rights Declaration currently in negotiation at the UN Human Rights Council