Group Photo taken at the pre-award meeting of the 2018 winners of the Lush Spring Prize … find out more about the 2019 winners in the article below!

Make Earth lush again!

Celebrating three years of the Lush Spring Prize for Social and Environmental Regeneration

Dictionary definition: lush (lʌʃ) adjective (of vegetation) growing luxuriantly; synonyms: luxuriant, rich, abundant, superabundant, profuse, exuberant, riotous, prolific, teeming, flourishing, thriving, vigorous

I am deeply grateful to have had the privilege of serving on the judges panel of the Lush Spring Prize for the last three years. Simply having the opportunity to meet twice a year with the other judges to exchange stories and learn more about their work was a gift, and so was the experience of collaborating with the excellent team at the Ethical Consumer Research Association who curate the prize for Lush. The biggest gift however was the inspiration and affirmation that came from meeting the award-recipients over the last three years (see global map here). Their stories will continue to work within me for years to come and their projects give me hope that we can MAKE EARTH LUSH AGAIN! Join the reGeneration!

See interactive map of all short-listed and award-winning projects here

Earlier this week I spent time with the award recipients of the 2019 Lush Spring Prize at a pre-award ceremony gathering held at beautiful Emerson College in England. A personal highlight for me was cohosting a council with Filipa Pimentel from the Transition Network for all the award winners. Hearing these regeneration activists from around the worlds peak from the heart about their deep commitment to their work was nourishing on many levels. Being in ceremony with them seemed deeply appropriate.

I call them ‘award recipients’ because — for me and the other judges — all of the finalists are winners and deserve a prize and recognition. That is why the short-listed projects are also included in the map linked above. Together with Ruth Andrade from Lush, Amanda-Joy Ravenhill and her team at the Buckminster Fuller Institute and various others collaborators we have started an exploration of pathways to creating non-zero challenges that do not have winners and loosers (zero-sum) as too many prize competions still have. As the Lush Spring Prize will from now on run every other year, we intend to have a new format and even more non-zero sum prize ready by 2021.

For a growing (incomplete) map of videos describiong regenerative projects around the world click here

Already the Lush Spring Prize is so much more than simply 11 organisations and projects sharing 200,000 GBP between them. It is a growing community of regeneration projects and activists around the world, which have formed human bonds as well as a globally connected network of people in place working on social and ecological regeneration.

Let me introduce you to this year’s award recipients to give you a flavour of the wonderful diversity of this network of active hope.

Intentional Projects Awards (£10,000)

There are four awards in the intentional projects category which I particularly love because so rarely are individuals and companies willing to fund an idea or intention of a recently formed group of collaborators.

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. — Lush Spring Prize

Apthapi Comunidades del Vivir Bien, Bolivia

Creating an “Escuela del Vivir Bien” (School of living well) in #Bolivia. This space will be used to teach and show that Vivir Bien is possible, and to raise new generations that learn to respect and care for a more balanced way of life. Follow their work at: facebook.com/Apthapidelvivirbien

Laboratorio Sicilia 2030, Italy

Actively supporting individuals and organizations in #Sicily to regenerate and grow sustainably following the UN 2030 Agenda. It is choosing to unite many often uncoordinated local initiatives in Sicily under the #SustainableDevelopmentGoals. Find out more at: sicilia2030lab.wordpress.com

This project had a particular fascination for me as I had long conversations with Vincenzo Santiglia about our shared love for the Mediterranean sea and its islands. We explored how the work of Laboratorio Sicilia 2030 and my work with the network of changemakers on the island of Mallorca could be woven together to give life to a vision I have been carrying for some years: a network of ‘Islands of Hope across the Mediterranean’. Such islands offer perfect case studies for re-regionalization and bioregionally focussed regenerative development. Watch this space! More soon!

Ripanu, Ecuador

Co-exploring the role of #ecological tourism in supporting the #Sapara people in resisting oil drilling on their lands in the #Ecuadorian #Amazon, whilst cultivating the ancestral Sapara culture.

Verdegaia, Spain

“Brigadas deseucaliptizadoras” (“De-eucalyptization Brigades”) in Galicia. Over 400 volunteers have signed up as brigade members, participating in more than 25 interventions since April 2018. The “Brigadas” show how people working together can bring about change in restoring landscapes and natural habitats. Find out more at: verdegaia.org/brigadas

For more information on these Intentional Projects and other short-listed projects in this category click here.

Young Projects Award (£20,000)

The three prize winners in the young project category (1–5 years old) were particularly inspiring because they give such hopeful examples how an idea can grow into an established regenerative process in a relatively short period of time — creating meaningful and lasting impacts in only a few years.

Alianza Ceibo, Ecuador

Comprised of members from four indigenous nations in the western #Amazon that are together building a holistic movement to prevent the destruction of their cultures and rainforest territories. Find out more at: alianzaceibo.org

Sfruttazero (Diritti a Sud), Italy

Produces a natural tomato sauce that is grown using #agroecological farming methods, and is produced in collaboration with the Association Solidaria in Bari. #Sfruttazero shows that another kind of work is possible — work that respects nature and promotes human and workers’ rights in the local community. Follow their work at: facebook.com/dirittiasud

YICE Uganda

Works with refugees in Bukompe refugee settlement, and neighboring communities, providing smallholder farmers with access to #regenerative agricultural training and flexible financial services. It has established 20 Permaculture gardens and trained over 100 women farmers in #Permaculture farming. Find out more at: yiceug.org

For more information on these Young Projects and the other shortlisted projects in this category click here.

Established Projects Award (£25,000)

This category is for projects that are more than five years old. Meeting Sam and Bongi from Guba was such an inspiration. Their project is a wonderful example of how to build the capacity of people in place. The second award in this category went to the ‘Instituto de la Naturaloza y la Sociedad de Oaxaca’ (INSO) for their exemplary bioregional (watershed focussed) regeneration work in Mexico.

This prize is for established community groups, organisations, networks and businesses that can demonstrate successful and inspirational work over more than 5 years. We hope for prize money to spread the word of their work to inspire more people to get involved with the regenerative movement. — Lush Spring Prize

Guba, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland)

Working towards all people in #Eswatini having secure access to nutritious food, clean water, shelter and economic stability through their own energies; utilizing solutions that nurture their physical and social environments. Find out more at: gubaswaziland.org

INSO, Mexico

Supports communities with regenerative social and ecological initiatives in the state of Oaxaca,#Mexico.
Its flagship ‘Slow Water’ project aims to address the Central Valley’s watershed crisis, where the speed with which water flows impacts both its communities and its ecosystems. Find out more at: insoaxaca.org

For more information on these Established Projects and the other short-listed projects in this category click here.

Influence Award (£25,000)

This is always such a difficult category to award as inevitably there are many short-listed projects in this and the established project category that definately deserve to be celebrated and highlighted as important influencers, supporters and inspirations to the growing reGeneration.

For organisations that are campaigning or lobbying to influence policy, regulation or public opinion in support of regeneration. This prize 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. — Lush Spring Prize

So many of the applicants in this category are doing outstanding work for people, places and planet. To name just a few of the ones that we would have so loved to also see financially supported are Fern, Survival International, Feasta, and Grain. A short-listed project in the established project category which could easily also have been short-listed as an influencer is Navdanya for their advocacy and action on seed saving in India and around the world. So the two award recipients from among a great number of winning projects are:

ECOLISE, European Collaborative Platform, France

Facilitates closer collaboration between community-led initiatives for action on #ClimateChange and sustainability across #Europe. Flagship projects include: the European Day of Sustainable Communities; the Knowledge Commons, which encompasses the ECOLISE wiki; and the Sustainable Communities Programme. Find out more at: ecolise.eu

Zimbabwe Smallholder Organic Farmers Forum (ZIMSOFF)

ZIMSOFF is the voice of the peasants struggling for social justice in #Zimbabwe. It is farmer-owned and farmer-led and envisions improved livelihoods of organized and empowered smallholder farmers practising sustainable and viable ecological agriculture. It campaigns to influence policies and public awareness towards#agroecology and smallholder farmers’ rights on access to healthy soils, clean water and seed. Find out more at: zimsoff.org

For more information on these Influencer Projects and other short-listed projects in this category click here.

A personal note of Gratitude!

I want to take this opportunity to express my personal gratitude to Lush — especially to Simon Constantine and his parents and brother — for offering a rare example of how large companies can use at least part of their profits to support hopeful projects of regeneration around the world.

While many companies have started — to my mind pre-maturely —to claim that they are “regenerative”, Lush has always admitted that a truly regenerative impact on all operations and the entire supply network is a “direction of travel” — possibly a North Star that will be hard to ever reach for any company operating at such scales across continents. I deeply appreciate this honesty and their deep commitment to the inquiry into how to become more regenerative — project by project — glocally.

I am really enjoying the work with Ruth Andrade and the team at Lush and at the Ethical Consumer Research Association and look forward to continue supporting this ongoing journey in a small way.

More on the Winners of the 2019 Lush Spring Prize:

Daniel Christian Wahl — Catalyzing transformative innovation in the face of converging crises, advising on regenerative whole systems design, regenerative leadership, and education for regenerative development and bioregional regeneration.

Author of the internationally acclaimed book Designing Regenerative Cultures

Twitter: @DrDCWahl

Medium: Blog with more than 340 articles

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Daniel Christian Wahl

Daniel Christian Wahl

Catalysing transformative innovation, cultural co-creation, whole systems design, and bioregional regeneration. Author of Designing Regenerative Cultures