‘Farming for Biodiversity’ Solution Search finalists announced

29 June 2017
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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 increase 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. The experts also considered the potential for scaling their solutions to achieve positive environmental, social and economic outcomes.

“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 benefits communities around the world.”

Interested parties are invited to read and analyze the entries and ultimately vote for their favorite of the finalists here. Voting concludes July 7, 2017.

“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 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 (UNFCC) Conference of Parties (COP) in Bonn, Germany, alongside some of the biggest names in conservation and development.

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 Amazonian 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 Investigación 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.

Fariventures 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. They intend to produce fast-growing timber to generate income; grow fruits and vegetables to improve nutrition; and decrease fertilizer runoff 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 stage—to maximize agricultural density and diversity. By adopting this crop management system, farmers can produce high yields from a range of crops, 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 and minimize 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 NDRRC 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 (SINGI) (Kenya) – SINGI brought together farmers, NGOs and government agencies to develop a model for helping farmers grow and sell African Leafy Vegetables (ALVs). The project is reviving interest in nutritious ALVs and helping build the capacity of entrepreneurial farmer groups to respond to the growing market demand for them, while promoting sustainable farming among 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 has been working together to identify these promising approaches. After winners are chosen, they will 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.