Winners helping to nurture refugees, educate tens of thousands of smallholder farmers, creating safe spaces for young people, greening deserts and more.
Established in 2018, the Permaculture Magazine Prize aims to showcase the very best examples of ecological, social and economical regenerative permaculture projects in the world. We want to shine a light on good people and good work in a world on the edge of collapse and climate crisis. We are therefore delighted to announce the winner and runners up of its main category plus the Youth in Permaculture Prize sponsored by the Abundant Earth Foundation.
African Women Rising takes the main £10,000 award for its work in Palabek Refugee Camp, North Uganda, creating innovative, long-term solutions to help solve the food security problems. The monthly food aid rations from the United Nations World Food Program often run out. African Women Rising have used permaculture design techniques to teach the permagarden method, giving refugees access to diverse and nutritious food, helping to meet the short-term food needs of the refugees, and build their long-term resilience. (Read more about them in Permaculture Magazine issue 102, out now.)
With more displacement and uncertainty in the world than ever before, I feel that African Women Rising demonstrates practical regenerative and permaculture solutions right to the front line between life and death that could benefit millions of refugees. It’s an organisation of Hope. Most global conflicts begin over loss of land, food shortages, climate change. AWR’s organisation and work I believe could be a beacon for the global humanitarian development network at large. I’ve worked in international development for years and AWR is actually trying to scale up regenerative programs built on the permaculture design framework and agro-ecological practices. I believe AWR could help to innovate and elevate the permaculture concept into new areas of our global society. We need BIG ideas, and Big Change, NOW!
Anthony Rodale, 2019 Permaculture Magazine Prize Judge
Turning the Desert Green Again
Thanks to a generous additional donor, a second prize of £5,000 was made available, with Bayoudha Village in Jordan taking the prize. Since 2011, the project has used permaculture methods to engage the local community in regenerating their landscape, focusing on conserving and restoring damaged watersheds. A bustling farmers’ market is reviving the economy for local products, making healthy, local and organic produce available to the community and the new ‘Karm’ centre is experimenting and teaching techniques for river remediation, agroforestry and profitable agriculture, to help local farmers make a living while protecting and restoring their ecosystems.
The four runners up are equally impressive and each will receive £2,500.
Due to disproportionate land control, small-scale farmers only have access to small, inaccessible and poor quality plots. IMAP have trained over 10,000 smallholder farmers to grow in these conditions, using permaculture, the production of native crops and the conservation of resilient native seeds throughout Mesoamerica. This enables resilience to varying climate conditions, and improves food security and local market power. IMAP implements a co-operative model whereby Guatemala’s most marginalised people – Indigenous men and women – are the owners of their own seed production as well as their own livelihoods.
Northern Youth Project, New Mexico
Has created a safe space for young people to learn and become part of a community. They learn leadership skills, get involved with growing food, create art and understand how to respect and care for the land. Learning resilience through traditional and sustainable farming methods and permaculture, enables food sovereignty, health and builds a strong community.
Have created an educational permaculture site that showcases multilayered canopy food forests with flourishing ecosystems, which are beneficial alternatives to the common monoculture agriculture techniques, which are destroying ‘the lungs of the earth’.
The School of Earth, Greece
Bring permaculture methods to their Mediterranean climate. They provide free classes to marginalised and minority groups, including refugees, sharing skills for creating food forests, restoring fire damaged land and slowing down desertification.
The Abundant Earth Foundation’s Youth in Permaculture Prize
This £5,000 prize, divided amongst three winners, was developed to support youth around the world, 25 years or younger, using innovative farming and education practices to face climate change and social challenges.
The first place winner is Mohamed Qasim Lessani, of Afghanistan. Qasim believes “… education can heal the injured mindset of people who believe nothing can change Afghanistan.” After completing a Permaculture Design Course with Australian teacher Rosemary Morrow (who brings permaculture to many war-torn countries and refugee camps), Qasim is applying permaculture design to transform schools into models for basic human security, including food, water and energy – even in areas of extreme poverty, violence and war.
The runners up are:
Maria Seltzer, New Mexico, USA. Maria shares examples of how regenerative farming practices can offer a path out of poverty. By restoring the land on her family farm and working towards a more diverse food system, Maria is showcasing to local farmers that their dry climate and barren soils can be turned into food-producing and revenue generating lands through permaculture practices.
The Brackenology Team, Kenya. Their innovative way of teaching permaculture is bringing nature to children through art. Their alternative education is open-source, making it available to all.