IFOAM: Global Solution Search Contest Names 10 Finalists – Vote for Your Favorite

Global Solution Search Contest Names 10 Finalists In Search For Breakthrough Sustainable Agricultural Solutions

Contest identifies, rewards and spotlights leading approaches that make farming friendlier to people and the planet

Solution Search, a global contest designed to identify, reward and spotlight innovative approaches to conservation, has released the list of its 10 finalists for the 2017 “Farming for Biodiversity” contest. This year’s theme showcases innovative ideas that make farming more sustainable, and promote behaviors that strengthen biodiversity across the agricultural sector.

A panel of experts from conservation, development, media, finance and other professions narrowed a field of 338 entrants down to 10 based on entrants’ proven success in implementing biodiversity-friendly approaches to farming, and the potential for scaling their solutions to achieve positive and broad spread environmental, social and economic outcomes.

Interested parties are invited to read, analyze and ultimately vote for their favorite of the finalists at solutionsearch.org by 7 July 2017. The grand prize winner will receive $30,000, with four additional category prizes of $15,000 awarded for specific excellence in Social/Community Impact, Biodiversity Impact, Food Security/Nutrition Impact and Water Impact. All finalists are invited to attend a workshop and awards ceremony at the November UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP) in Bonn, Germany, alongside some of the biggest names in conservation and development.

“In communities around the world, people are coming up with innovative and inspiring ideas to tackle huge environmental challenges, which directly impact people’s health and livelihood,” said Brett Jenks, CEO of Rare, the organization that founded Solution Search. “Many of these ideas can be replicated and their positive impact can spread—if other practitioners learn about them. Solution Search shines a spotlight on proven successful approaches, and brings their benefits to more communities around the world.”

“The entries for this competition have shown us that farmers are amongst the greatest innovators in the world with firsthand knowledge of the solutions food and farming needs. We should to listen to them more.” added André Leu, President of IFOAM – Organics International, a partner organization in Solution Search.

The 10 Solution Search Finalists are:

A Growing Culture (Vietnam) – A Growing Culture is partnering with a farming community in Hanoi to create healthy hog bedding called “Living Bio-Beds” that actively break down hog waste and eliminate runoff and pollution into waterways.

Apis Agribusiness (Ethiopia) – Building on the country’s strong honey sector, Apis Agribusiness established wild honey production to help employ rural youth, while fighting deforestation and safeguarding the critical benefits of pollination.

Canopy Bridge- EcoDecisión (Ecuador) – Canopy Bridge is capitalizing on the burgeoning Latin American food movement to help Amazon indigenous communities.  By connecting Ecuador’s best chefs with indigenous communities and conservation NGOs, they are helping develop value chains for fresh foods from the Amazon that have substantial conservation benefits and great culinary potential.

Desarrollo Alternativo e Investigación A.C (Mexico) – Desarrollo Alternativo e Investigacion A.C led a seed dissemination process to diversify crops grown in Chiapas State, increase maize and beans yields and boost family incomes, while creating a knowledge exchange between farmers.

Fairventures Worldwide (Indonesia) – German NGO Fairventures Worldwide is working to combat the environmental and economic impact of deforestation by helping farmers institute a better land-use system focused on improving soil quality, in order to produce fast-growing timber to generate income, fruits and vegetables to improve nutrition, and less fertilizer run-off to safeguard water sources.

Fundación Ecotop (Bolivia) – ECOTOP is using the idea of natural succession dynamics—growing a combination of various crops and trees depending on their life cycle — to maximize agricultural density and diversity. By adopting this crop management system, farmers can produce high yields from a range of crops without external inputs while keeping the soil healthy and reducing pests.

Manor House Agricultural Centre (Kenya) – Manor House offers training programs in sustainable agriculture, such as organic farming, to help poor, small-scale farmers in Kenya produce higher yields, while minimizing their contributions to the drivers of climate change.

The Mountain Institute (Peru) – In response to the degradation of puna habitat and declining livestock production, The Mountain Institute is connecting regional farmers with external experts to restore pre-Incan hydraulic systems with modern technology and materials to improve irrigation, and strengthen communities’ institutional capacities to govern and manage natural resources.

National Disaster Risk Reduction Center Nepal (Nepal) – Pollution in the Banganga River Basin was contributing to biodiversity loss, land degradation and other environmental challenges. The NDRC Nepal worked with government and non-government stakeholders to institute a series of more sustainable practices and executed a public awareness campaign that reached more than 14,000 indigenous households.

Sustainable Income Generating Investment Group (Kenya) – A pilot project that is bringing together farmers, NGOs and government agencies is reviving interest in nutritious African Leafy Vegetables (ALVs). The project is not only helping build the capacity of entrepreneurial farmer groups to respond to market demand for ALVs, it is also promoting sustainable growing amongst farmers and healthier diets among children, families and communities.

Partners and judges represent organizations including: Rare, the Global Environment Facility, Convention on Biological Diversity Secretariat, Patagonia, Save the Children, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, IFOAM – Organics International, Deutsche Welle, Inter-American Development Bank, Stockholm Resilience Center, EcoAgriculture Partners, The International Indigenous Peoples’ Forum on Climate Change and the United Nations Indigenous Peoples Rapporteur, CONABIO (Mexico), Panorama, World Wildlife Fund, Blue Solutions, Global Island Partnership, Food Tank, and Young Professionals for Agricultural Development.

The contest is part of a larger initiative funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI), a German initiative supported by The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB). Over three years, Rare, IFOAM – Organics International and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Secretariat, will work together to identify these promising approaches and then host capacity-building workshops across the globe to spread these effective solutions. This workshop series – known as Campaigning for Conservation, will further empower local practitioners to raise awareness of the value of biodiversity and to conduct social marketing campaigns promoting behavior change in support of the identified solutions. All entries to this contest will become part of a larger network of stakeholders engaged in supporting biodiversity-friendly agriculture.

Source: press release IFOAM, 13.06.2017