7 Environmental Projects Shortlisted for the $2 Million Food Planet Prize 2024 Announced

May 6, 2024

Stockholm, Sweden—The Curt Bergfors Food Planet Prize has announced its shortlist for the prestigious $2 million award, with the winner set to be revealed on June 28th in Stockholm. This annual prize is the world’s largest environmental award and is dedicated exclusively to reducing the environmental impact of the way we eat. The prize highlights solutions poised to make a positive change in the global food system within a ten-year time frame.

The shortlisted projects represent a diverse range of initiatives and showcase groundbreaking approaches to tackling the environmental footprint of our food systems: Aquagrain (UK), C40 Food Systems (global, HQ in London and New York), NovFeed (Tanzania), Pumpkin Plus (Bangladesh), The Rich Earth Institute (USA), ThermoSeed (Sweden), and Transfarmation (USA). 

Each project underwent a thorough evaluation by the Food Planet Prize in-house nominations team, followed by academic reviews by leading external experts. 

The shortlisted  projects are:

1. Aquagrain (UK). 

Aquagrain, a biodegradable hydrogel made from animal waste, revolutionizes agriculture by enabling crop growth in sandy and arid regions with minimal water. Its unique ability to absorb up to 30 times its weight in water or liquid fertilizer promotes healthier soil and supports the growth of various crops, landscaping, and ornamental plants.

2. C40 Food Systems (Headquarters in London and New York). 

C40, a global network of mayors from nearly 100 leading cities, is dedicated to tackling the climate crisis through collaborative action. 70% of all food is eaten in cities, and food currently accounts for 13-20% of consumption-based emissions in urban areas, a figure expected to rise by 38% by 2050 without intervention. Through the C40 Good Cities Accelerator, 16 cities serving over 500 million meals annually are working to implement sustainable food policies informed by the EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, Health, advancing a healthier, more sustainable food future by 2030.

3. NovFeed (Tanzania). 

NovFeed, based in Tanzania, creates sustainable fish feed from organic waste, particularly fruits and vegetables. Conventional fish feed, often sourced from wild-caught fish or soy, is resource-intensive and costly. NovFeed’s innovative approach reduces reliance on wild fish and soy, helping to preserve marine ecosystems and lower carbon emissions. For every ton of single-cell protein substituted for fishmeal, roughly 3 tons of wild-caught fish will remain in the ocean, improving the forage-fish population. Moreover, replacing 1 ton of soybean meal with 1 ton of single-cell protein saves 2660 kg CO2-eq.

4. Pumpkin Plus (Bangladesh).

Pumpkin Plus employs sandbar cropping, a cost-effective method to grow nutritious crops on barren transitional lands of Bangladesh. Pumpkins produced can be stored for over a year, providing income and food security to impoverished households. Since 2005, the initiative has trained nearly 25,000 landless poor individuals, yielding over 213,000 metric tons of pumpkins worth $51 million. Participating communities supply over 20,000 metric tons of food each season to local and international markets, significantly boosting household income and savings. Sandbar cropping transforms barren landscapes into productive fields, supporting diverse wildlife.

5. The Rich Earth Institute (USA)

The Rich Earth Institute is an environmental organization focusing on agriculture, sanitation, and climate justice. Their mission is to promote human urine as a fertilizer through research, education, and innovation. Urine contains 75% of wastewater nitrogen, offering the potential to meet 20% of global nitrogen fertilizer demand. Rich Earth operates the US’s largest urine nutrient recycling initiative, reclaiming nitrogen and phosphorus. This initiative raises awareness and engages the public in promoting sustainable sanitation and food systems.

6. ThermoSeed (Sweden)

ThermoSeed uses a unique method of pasteurizing seeds with hot steam, removing harmful fungi, bacteria, and insects without applying chemicals. This steam treatment is an alternative to synthetic pesticides and fungicides, which are one of the most harmful aspects of modern farming.

7. Transfarmation (USA)

Transfarmation aids farmers in transitioning from industrial animal agriculture, also known as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), to plant-based operations. CAFOs pose numerous issues, including poor conditions for animals and workers, waste pollution, and significant greenhouse gas emissions from ruminant animals. Transfarmation works to end CAFOs through three pillars: showcasing alternative farming and livelihood models, fostering solidarity with anti-CAFO movements, and reshaping cultural narratives. Success stories of converted CAFOs are crucial to garner support and investment in alternative farming methods.

Nominate yourself or someone else, it takes three minutes and could change the world!