This prize is for individuals, communities, aspiring businesses or newly formed groups and organisations to help establish a strong foundation from which to grow.
Knowledge sharing, training and strategy development are ways in which we would hope for this money to be used. We are also open to other suggestions if they will help make an idea a reality.
There are at least four prizes in this category, with each being awarded up to £10,000. We aim to award one prize to a small scale project in this category.
In 2023 there are four prize recipients, sharing a prize fund of £40,000.
Below are the recipients and other short-listed projects.
Beejvan is a farmer-led community based initiative in the tribal village of Khanand, in Karjat, Maharashtra India. Beej means Seed; Van means Forest. Seeds are representative of life; and forests of spaces that nourish and help life thrive.
As a farming community, Beejvan aims to promote 3 basic ideas and principles of Permaculture– Earth Care, People Care, Fair Share– through its seed conservation, regeneration and livelihood projects, securing food and nutrition security. Thakars, the local inhabitants of Karjat are traditional herbalists and healers. Khanand has 100 households and a population of 500. We are small and marginal farmers who cultivate on the hills, across river beds and rely on minor forest produce for a living.
Over the last two decades the aspiration to be urbanised came at the cost of losing traditional wisdom and cultural heritage. This has led to a never-ending cycle of poverty. Beejvan’s founders returned to Karjat after two decades and saw modern agricultural practices and deforestation had led to depleted soils and crop failure in the place they loved as a child, and the idea for Beejvan emerged.
Central to Beejvans vision is reviving the practice of tree-based farming, seed saving, multiple livelihoods, securing food/nutrition for the farmer. It aims to create local, scalable solutions to transform villages into biodiversity hotspots and respond to the climate crisis in viable ways, while also addressing health and inequalities at the local level. Beejvan aims to build the first community nursery by 2024, and seed bank of native species by 2025.
The idea for the Mycorama project emerged at a community group meeting at the ‘Re-Green Permaculture Farm and EcoCulture Centre’ in Seliána, Greece. Community members had gathered to discuss ways to support food sovereignty and diversify income streams.
The project’s work centres on “the infinite potential of fungi to restore our damaged earth systems, reduce animal suffering and support human health”. It perceives mushrooms to be the nutrient recyclers of our planet, which have a lot to teach us about regeneration and how to live in circles.
The project began by growing oyster and shiitake mushrooms on logs, and soon expanded to Lion’s Mane and Reishi. It is exploring opportunities mycelium provides for degrading plastic cigarette butts (a big pollution problem in the local area). It has also explored ways to create regenerative, fully circular products out of Reishi – so far, a lampshade prototype has been made.
Mycorama plans to:
The Taniala organisation derives its name from two Malagasy words: “Tany” which means both “earth” and “soil”; and “Ala” which means “forest”.
The Taniala Regenerative Camp promotes regenerative land use practices in Madagascar that are locally adapted, accessible and sustainable. It aims to support the forest to regenerate through sustainable agriculture techniques, and to bequeath living soil to future generations in Madagascar.
The first Regenerative Camp was set up in January 2022 in Lambokely, a village where migrants live after fleeing famine and drought. The local community depends on agriculture, including cultivation of corn, cassava and groundnuts. ‘Slash-and-burn’ cultivation of corn over three years is currently the preferred agricultural technique, after which time, other plots of forest are cleared. As a result of these unsustainable practices, only 56% of forest cover remains today.
Taniala aims to set up more Regenerative Camps to promote more sustainable practices in other sites.
Next stages of the project include:
The teKio project is based in southern Mexico, in the Cuxtitali district, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, and across broader Chiapas. It emerged in 2022, after the community expressed feelings of isolation, being unable to make urgent or desirable projects happen.
teKio is committed to setting up and nurturing “everyday-life purpose networks”. This includes local networks of people and organisations wanting to work collectively to achieve a rapid, tangible and sustainable impact in their neighbourhoods. This fosters autonomy and improves living conditions for the most vulnerable population in the communities and working-class districts.
The social difficulties characteristic of Chiapas are present within the Cuxtitali district. It is marred by historical structural inequalities: low salaries, low schooling, insecurity, exploitation of its people and resources, institutional abandonment and the presence of narco groups.
The Cuxtitali Ecological Park is a community green space currently in a state of abandonment. It is exposed to drug and alcohol consumption and is at risk of being invaded by criminal groups that have subjugated the city. teKio wants to defend and regenerate the park with structures and activities for sport, agroecology, education and recreation.
In the next five years, teKio sees the park as a place transformed in which:
AMORA’s goal is to regenerate the local river, so its people can swim in it again! 30 years ago, people swam and fished in it and children could play near the water and Nature. Nowadays, the river’s colour is black, its scent stinky, the fish are all gone, and the water quality is consistently rated ‘bad’.
Last year, a water sewage system broke in the Portuguese city of Montemor-O-Novo. Faced with yet another river ravage, the local community started organising and actively pushing for the river to be cleaned – acting from both practical and political approaches.
Around 40 people, many who live on the waterfront, gathered to begin establishing new forms of collective land management through deliberative and horizontal democracy. They believe that only through social and ecological regenerative practices will it be possible to regenerate the river and everything it represents.
AMORA seeks to:
This has already seen some success – population and local politicians have gotten on board, leading to the creation of a municipal environmental council – the first ever in the town.
In five years, they want to be able to swim in the river again – and inspire others to do the same!
Fundo Abraço is a project in São Paulo, Brazil. It works in three neighbourhoods: Vila Anglo, Jaraguá and Luz.
The city of São Paulo is one of the largest and most unequal in the world. It suffers from a range of socio-environmental problems that especially affect low-income families. Vila Anglo is characterized as a “pocket of poverty” in the midst of more wealthy housing. Issues include unemployment, hunger, organised crime, and evictions because families are unable to pay bills and rent. The Jaraguá and Luz neighbourhoods similarly face problems, with significant unemployment and low incomes.
Fundo Abraço’s solidarity fund and wider work seeks to reduce the cost of living, inequality and improve food security for low-income families. It distributes equipment such as ‘Fogão de Caixa’, a heat-retention cooker, and solar cookers. These can reduce the use of cooking gas by up to 75% – saving money and fossil fuels.
Fundo Abraço’s work is solidarity-oriented, so it invites beneficiary families to contribute a fraction of the savings made with our equipment, so it can distribute more equipment free of charge and collectively share its benefits.
In the future, it aims to work with a wider range of technologies that can:
GreenShoots is a Cambodia-based organisation that launched in March 2021.
GreenShoots aims to foster sustainable development through holistic programmes that combine economic development with food and agriculture. Aims include:
A key problem the community faces now is biodiversity loss. Cambodia, with its lush tropical flora, is a biodiversity hotspot of Southeast Asia. Wild indigenous plants play many roles in Cambodian life: as food, medicine, and at times, the dwellings of different spirits. Yet, documentation of these plants is limited because of the destructive aftermath of the Khmer Rouge regime, when botanists were killed and entire library collections burned. What’s more, due to climate change up to 40 percent of this flora is set to be extinct by the end of the century.
GreenShoots, and its collaborators, want to address this problem by creating an online database of local wild and medicinal foods, which would enable it to:
This project is in partnership with Dr. Ashley Dam whose PhD research focused on Khmer Traditional Medicine. In five years time they hope for the prototype of the proposed database to be populated by input from Khmer diaspora, chefs, botanists and anthropologists.
La Finca Agro-Ecology farm was founded in Morocco in 2021.
The coronavirus pandemic made local food production urgent and necessary, and La Finca emerged with the aim to achieve food sovereignty. The farm aims to showcase a model of resilient agriculture that is environmentally sound, economically viable and easily replicable within the community. This helps overcome the water, soil and poverty issues in Africa.
Its vision of regenerative agriculture puts emphasis on soil restoration, water management, erosion control, whole systems design, seed sovereignty, permaculture, training and capacity building.
Its vision is coming to life:
The Nourish All organisation is based in Hawai’i but works globally, with a special focus in the Rwamwanja settlement in western Uganda.
The organisation’s work is rooted in the permaculture principles of people care, earth care, and fair share. Its guiding vision is nourished, resilient, connected communities, made possible through the power of food. Its latest initiative ‘Change the Paradigm’ seeks to transform the way that knowledge is shared while building food security and livelihoods for refugees.
Through its collaboration with existing local permaculturists and activists, Nourish All recognised the need and opportunity for dried food products in Rwamwanja, coupled with the opportunity to spread knowledge. It seeks to develop a project which elevates refugee leaders, demonstrates what is possible with limited resources, and shift our collective perspective of who we see as experts.
As such Nourish All aims to:
The line of dried food products will begin by establishing a co-op, which sells naturally dried products like mushrooms and jackfruit.
The online platform will spotlight educators and practitioners in the Global South, in under-resourced and often overlooked environments such as refugee camps, and help spread their wisdom to the Global North. It will cover permaculture and food cultivation, but specialise in training on solar-dried value-added products. It will begin by sharing trainings by Bemeriki from Rwamwanja Rural Foundation, a resident refugee permaculturist.
This is a community initiative facilitated by Debasmita Ghosh and Jagannath Majhi and led by the Kondhs – a group of indigenous communities residing in Odisha, India.
Their life and livelihood is inherently linked with the land, forest, food, medicine, shelter that entwines their socio-cultural norms, religion, and spirituality. An eco-centric worldview engulfs most of the community, and at no point has the relationship with the forest become extractive and exploitative. Their Kutumb (village commune) includes not only people, but also forests, soil, water, and animals. Decisions about cropping plans, food or houses are taken with active ecological consciousness.
A transition, though, is fast making itself felt in ways that could tear down the very ecosystem which the Kondhs call home. These include: the arrival of mainstream markets and a monetized economy; over-exploitation of forest-produce; changes in agricultural consumption; migration for work that is leading to a generation gap and its fallout in the form of mental health problems; emergence of newer health problems; and a drop in collective community resilience with the breakdown of local forms of traditional self-governance.
Debasmita has been working with the community to resist this transition. Resistance is crucial but not enough, and so it seeks to evolve narratives of self-reliance and self-governance.
The core of this system are the self-governing, non-bureaucratic, participatory Kutumbs where issues concerning all aspects of Kondh life get discussed. Grounded in communitarian sustainability, the Kutumba is consciously at variance with dominant capitalist praxis, providing a contemporary praxis of an alternative society.
Sesaka Indigenous Batwa Farmers Group Project is an indigenous community of more than 120 families in Burundi, that live off making pots and agriculture.
The Batwa are a marginalised ethnic group estimated to make up 1% of the Burundian population. They are considered by some as the lowest social class in Burundi, and the community faces many financial challenges.
This project was initiated to empower the Sesaka indigenous Batwa farmers, with the aim of offering training and transforming these indigenous farmers through Conservation Agriculture. It is hoped this training can support the community to build more resilient farms and livelihoods.
The training will cover a range of low input techniques, including:
SGGIMA is an organisation based in Sierra Leone.
SGGIMA intends to end hunger and food insecurities in Sierra Leone by building the country’s fair food market. By focusing on sustainable agriculture, food processing and farmer training, it seeks to increase domestic agriculture production with the goal of growing 50% of the food consumed in Sierra Leone by rural farmers by 2027.
Its work has two parts.
Firstly, SGGIMA will:
Secondly, SGGIMA believes in “Where care meets sustainability” and pursues the following:
Tātānaki is a community-led organisation and project dedicated to climate, cultural and relational mobility for island peoples in the Pacific.
The Hunga Ha’apai-Hunga Tonga volcanic eruption in January 2022 was among the largest eruptions in recorded history. Over 80% of the Tongan population was affected by the subsequent tsunami and a blanket of ashfall – hundreds of homes were destroyed or severely damaged. Sustainable, affordable, and climate-resilient housing exists and is urgently needed in the Pacific.
Tātānaki seeks to meet this housing need with improved access and education toward affordable, climate-safe options. This collaboration between traditional knowledge holders and a circular and carbon-negative building intervention will result in the delivery of 3 co-designed homes, online and offline peer-peer knowledge exchange, and a platform focused on inviting more regenerative solutions into remote regions.
It is working towards building carbon-negative, circular, transportable homes (inland, inter-island, or abroad) in the Kingdom of Tonga. It will do this by co-designing with a technical partner, who has already delivered successful case studies in the Netherlands, Uganda, and Mozambique.
A proposed pilot program of 3+ homes will widen access to and integrate culturally appropriate housing in Tonga and the Pacific.
The Vanaspati Bhasha collaborative works with tribal communities in Maharashtra, India.
When working with tribal communities in Maharashtra, India, the collaborative was struck by the loss of faith the communities had in indigenous conservation traditions. The conventional education system does not teach about local ecology and ways of conserving the forest. For tribal students there is a disconnect between what they learn and their contexts. The traditional lifestyle which ensured resource equity and conservation is now starting to rupture.
They hope to reinstate pride in the community towards its knowledge systems. Vanaspati Bhasha believes that community-centric conservation practices are the only way we can mitigate environmental and cultural losses of native Indian landscapes. They use participatory processes that focus on the strength of communities to conserve local ecologies with their traditional knowledge systems, making communities the primary stakeholders of conservation effort.
Vanaspati Bhasha seeks to:
Stichting Grond van Bestaan is a registered charity and citizens’ initiative based in Amsterdam that aims to protect the last fertile soil and create “Voedselpark Amsterdam” (Amsterdam Foodpark).
‘Lutkemeer’ (meaning little lake) is 43 hectares of farmland on the western edge of Amsterdam which constitutes the last piece of fertile soil in the city. Unfortunately this unique historical and organic soil is in danger. There are plans to turn it into a business park for massive distribution warehouses. Voedselpark Amsterdam has become symbolic of people’s desire for a nature inclusive city and opposing the globalized fossil fuelled consumer economy. Voedselpark Amsterdam would save the soil and use it as a urban ecological living lab for commons and ecological entrepreneurship.
This park will not only provide affordable heathy food, but will inspire and demonstrate the importance of urban regenerative food transition. Voedselpark Amsterdam wants to activate citizens to convert places in the city and the countryside into local ‘commons’ where regenerative forms of agriculture can take place. At the same time creating a place for people to recreate and learn about agriculture, sustainability and biodiversity and work towards a green, inclusive, regenerative economy.