Image above: Warriors from Associação Centro de Cultura Sabuká Kariri Xocó, with firewood and cactus: Kajaby Tinga, Kayony Tinga, Vagner Cruz.
54 projects from around the world have been shortlisted for the £220,000 Lush Spring Prize for environmental and social regeneration.
The 2021 Lush Spring Prize received over 400 applications, which were shortlisted to a group of 54 in June and July this year. The prize saw a 61% increase in reach, with applications being submitted by inspiring projects spanning 81 different countries and every continent except Antarctica.
This year also sees the launch of two new collaborative prizes – alongside the Spring Prize’s regular four categories: Influence, Established, Young and Intentional awards – in partnership with Be The Earth Foundation and Abundant Earth Foundation.
Although the shortlist is extremely diverse and spans multiple bioregions, interesting common themes can be identified.
Shortlisted projects were seen to be taking ownership of most or all of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in an integrated way, while over half of the groups were integrating ancient or indigenous wisdom in their work. Projects adapt regenerative practices as a means of achieving SDGs and other goals in a way that remains relevant to projects’ local contexts and culture. Climate Change was the most common issue being addressed – not just in terms of preventing it but adapting to and mitigating the effects that are already being felt by projects and their stakeholders.
Projects were driven by a range of stakeholders, including grassroots campaigners, small scale agro-ecological producers, regenerative businesses, indigenous groups, academics, global solidarity networks and think tanks. Their work addresses multiple issues needed to support life, including ecosystem restoration, regenerative food production, building community, creating resilient housing and circular economies, whilst also supporting displaced people, protecting indigenous rights and access to land.
The 2021 shortlist can be viewed online at springprize.org
What is the LUSH Spring Prize?
The LUSH Spring Prize was set up to support ‘regenerative’ projects – those that go beyond sustainability by taking holistic approaches to building the health of ecology, economy and social systems. It seeks to support those who are actively involved in restoring all the systems they are part of. By supporting regenerative projects the Spring Prize hopes to raise the profile of the movement as a whole to inspire more individuals, groups,communities, funders and businesses to start engaging with regenerative processes. The LUSH Spring Prize is a joint venture between LUSH Cosmetics and Ethical Consumer and is now in its fourth cycle, having started in 2017 and distributed more than £600,000 to date.
The 2021 Prizes
The 2021 Spring Prize’s four core categories, and two special categories, are as follows:
For great new ideas and projects up to 1 year old. This prize is for individuals, communities, aspiring businesses or newly formed groups and organisations to help establish a strong foundation from which to grow.
An example of an organisation shortlisted in the Intentional Projects category is:
Chikukwa Research Trust is a small and committed team of community researcher-practitioners (farmers). They plan to establish a climate resilience program, with agroecology to stabilise landscapes and livelihoods that is more firmly rooted in the restoration of bio-cultural diversity.
Chikukwa is a cultural society, and the oldest permaculture community in Zimbabwe. But much of this has been eroded through inward and outward migration, and the younger generation being disconnected from this rich history.
The Research Trust will document their connections to plants and place during collective experiences and storytelling, and share these during interactions with two schools, and at their open-sided thatch building.
By drawing on the memories of traditional leadership and elders for shared learning about ritual and resilience, they aim to foster a more accountable leadership that people can trust, which will also build resilience to division and external threats, including climate variability and change.
For young community groups, organisations, businesses or networks that are 1-5 years old, to help them to expand or develop their work in improving ecological and social systems.
A shortlisted organisation in the Young Projects category is:
Khetee focuses on community development through regenerative agroforestry, with village farmers and women in the founder’s hometown of Durdih, India, where most members of the population are part of the scheduled or other low castes, with many falling below the poverty line.
The project was developed after noticing that many of the farmers in the area were struggling with volatile agricultural output, poor irrigation systems, and weakened soil. Several farmers in and around the village were not able to earn well and their productivity was mainly dependent on the monsoons. Its model farm is used for workshops to demonstrate the innovative and organic practices of farming, its advantages and effect on climate change.
Khetee has adopted the method of spreading words through local folklore, and the team has prepared an act to show the present agricultural crisis and how agroforestry can be a solution. Women in the team have created folk songs to best explain its work.
For community groups, organisations, businesses or networks that have worked successfully for more than 5 years, to help spread awareness of their work and inspire more people to start their regenerative journeys.
An example of a shortlisted organisation in the Established category is:
CoRenewal has been at the forefront of developing innovative ecological solutions for over a decade, from supporting Indigenous communities impacted by oil spills in the Amazon, to catalyzing post-fire watershed defense mobilizations in California.
A nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving biodiversity and addressing the impacts of natural disasters and environmental pollution on both community and ecosystem health, they are bringing together grassroots bioremediation, rigorous scientific research and community skill-building. By allying with fungi and other biological entities, their programs facilitate innovative research and implementation of community-led, nature-based remediation technologies.
For example, CoRenewal works with local community leaders to: document the impact of oil contamination on microbial communities and ecosystem functioning in order to support Indigenous communities and habitats in the Ecuadorian Amazon facing a toxic legacy left by Chevron/Texaco; and iteratively inform the development of bioremediation methods in the Amazon. They likewise collaborate to examine the ability of native fungi and microbes to facilitate post-fire ecosystem regeneration via native microbial amendments.
For local, national or international organisations and networks that have a core focus on campaigning or lobbying to influence policy, regulation or public opinion in support of regeneration. It is aimed at supporting those who are changing the context in which we are all working; who are helping to build and strengthen the regenerative movement.
One of the shortlisters in this category is:
Commonland was founded in 2013 by international experts and investors with the ambition to kick-start the development of a landscape restoration economy. Commonland aims to provide a practical framework to make the transition towards an economy that is based on the restoration of natural and productive landscapes.
Commonland aims to create 4 returns, in 3 landscape zones, over a period of 20 years. The 4 Returns Framework transforms degraded ecosystems by focusing on four measurable returns: healthy soils and biodiversity, security and jobs, Inspiration and hope, and sustainable financial income. It is a flexible approach that works in any ecosystem, taking the full local context into account, restoring biodiversity and scaling sustainable business cases.
Commonland does this through providing support in key areas such as practical implementation, policy influencing, fund mobilization, and working with all stakeholders to co-create a long-term landscape vision.
Run in collaboration with Be The Earth Foundation, this award seeks to recognise, celebrate and explore the role that ancient knowledge and wisdom can play in shaping regenerative approaches and ways of being. In a world full of movement and shaped by (historic and current) oppressive colonial and patriarchal structures, this award honours the necessity and relevance of traditional ecological knowledge and nature-based ancestral practices.
An example of an organisation shortlisted in the Ancient and Indigenous Wisdom category is:
Danjoo Koorliny Walking Together is an Aboriginal-led, large-scale, long-term systems-change project helping us walk together as Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people towards 2029 (200 years of colonisation in Western Australia) and beyond, be it in Western Australia, Australia or globally. Through this, we can all become better ‘Carers of Everything’, which includes caring for ecological, social, spiritual-cultural and economic life.
In 2019 four Noongar leaders came together and chose the Centre for Social Impact at the University of Western Australia as the host organisation for the project. Since then, Danjoo Koorliny has held large-scale public engagement activities (festivals; story, song, dance and art events; symposia related to themes such as fire, land and waterways, etc.), as well as high-level senior leadership engagement and alignment across sectors. Research has begun; documentation collated and shared; relationships forged; and processes and protocols established for the next nine years.
Danjoo Koorliny is a unique process for how we can walk together and co-create a better future, based on and led by the wisdom of more than 80,000 years of how to live regeneratively on this planet.
Run in collaboration with Abundant Earth Foundation (AEF), this prize recognises that the youth of today are the future of tomorrow! Now in its 4th year, AEF is happy to partner with the 2021 Lush Spring Prize to honour young people that are making a positive difference. It seeks to celebrate and support the great work of young people around the world that are using permaculture and other regenerative practices to help heal the planet. From creating educational programs through art, to businesses in challenged areas, tree planting with orphanages, and food security after hurricanes, previous winners span the world and the gamut of solutions.
RE-PEAT is one of this category’s shortlisted groups.
Youth-led collective RE-PEAT believe that peatlands should be a vital part of ecological and climate conversations. They also see that discussions about peatlands can create very novel viewpoints on other intersecting topics such as social justice, health, economics, language and history.
Their work, based across Europe, follows 3 major pathways: education, collaboration and re-imagination. Examples of how they do this include: developing a primary school education program to foster awareness from a young age, as a scalable pilot project starting in Ireland they hope to launch this in many more schools next year; collecting personal and artistic accounts of peatlands from across Europe in a EU Peat Anthology, prior to the Common Agricultural Policy decision by the EU Members of Parliament; hosting two 24hour global peat festivals that, combined, included over 80 online talks and sessions; creating a 10-part series of webinars focusing on UK peatlands to build momentum before COP26 and the WCSS22 in Glasgow.
Over the next 5 years they hope to build an international youth network for peatlands, push for bolder peatland policy, as well as work to amplify underrepresented voices.
Final event and award ceremony
A skill sharing event and celebration will be held online between 23 -31 October in the run up to COP26, with small regional events running alongside. It seeks to create spaces of peer learning, where groups can share effective practice with one another, and network in a safe and supportive space. It also seeks to highlight the many ‘cascading benefits’ of regenerative work, encouraging the leaders and policymakers meeting at COP26 to take notice: regenerative movements could hold many solutions to intersecting ecological and social crises.
2021’s Spring Prize winners will be announced during this time, having been decided by a panel of 12 judges.
The Spring Prize judging panel is composed of people drawn from a diverse range of movements representing regenerative design, permaculture, food sovereignty, the transition, biomimicry and eco-village networks. Each prize cycle a ‘Lush Customer Judge’ and ‘Lush Staff Judge’ are also selected to act as additional independent members of the judging panel. You can read more about the judges here: Spring Prize Judging Panel.
As well as a peer-to-peer learning event attached to the prize ceremony, Shortlisted groups often continue their relationship with Lush, Ethical Consumer, and fellow regenerative projects, in other ways. For example, in the past this has led to opportunities for regenerative farming communities to sell surplus produce as ingredients for Lush products.
Regenerosity is a new partnership between the Lush Spring Prize and the Buckminster Fuller Institute’s (BFI) Fuller Challenge, and other partners, driven by the inspiration of seeing the thousands of applicants from across the world doing the planet’s most important work of regeneration. Regenerosity welcomes all shortlisted Spring Prize applicants, with their consent, into a network aiming to source further funding and resourcing for them. Regenerosity connects regenerative projects to funders, and also flows-through funds from generous donors, aiming to move as much capital as possible in the next crucial ten years in support of the regenerative movement.
For more information, visit www.regenerosity.world
Notes to the editors:
Who we are:
The Prize is funded by Lush, a campaigning company with over 900 shops spanning 48 countries. Lush has provided funding for regenerative projects through grant programmes like the Re:Fund (Regeneration Fund) since 2010.
The Prize is coordinated by Ethical Consumer, a non-profit multi-stakeholder co-operative in the UK. Ethical Consumer’s research and publishing supports consumer power to generate positive impacts for the environment, people, animals and society.