Announcing the 2020 Food Planet Prize recipients

STOCKHOLM, DECEMBER 14th 2020. Today, the Curt Bergfors Foundation is honored to announce the Food Planet Prize 2020; four awards, each including US $1 million, for efforts to reshape the food system.

The Food Planet Prize recognizes initiatives, organizations and individuals working to secure the world´s food supply while fostering a healthy and resilient biosphere. It is the largest monetary reward on the global food arena.

“Our food system is broken, and the Planet is ailing. We are all part of the problem, and we must all try to be part of the solution. I wish to contribute through the foundation and with these awards.”
Curt Bergfors, Founder of The Curt Bergfors Foundation

To be impactful and to contribute to a sustainable and resilient food system, the solutions must be implementable reasonably fast and on a large, preferably global, scale.

“We’re starting to feel the impacts of today’s unsustainable food systems, both on global warming and on the basic functions of our planet. A food system shift is vital; it requires political will, ample funding, and the right ideas.” 
Johan Rockström, Co-chair, The Food Planet Prize  

2020 marked the launch of The Food Planet Prize. This inaugural year, we received over 650 nominations from all over the world, illustrating a diverse global community devoted to solving the food system’s shortcomings and reimagining food in all its complexity. New research reveals an urgent decline in human and planetary health. So far, the harmful effects of today’s food systems have not been properly understood. To address the urgency and help reverse this development, the Curt Bergfors Foundation has decided to double its stake in the fight to save the Food Planet. This year we are awarding four US $1 million prizes, instead of the previously announced two.

“The awardees work on several of the areas we have to explore to reshape our food systems so they can operate safely and sustainably. We’re grateful to support them going forward – and eager to welcome an ever-broader spectrum of nominations in 2021.”
Lars Peder Hedberg, Director-General, The Curt Bergfors Food Planet Prize

This year’s recipients of the Food Planet Prize:

Blue Ventures, UK. A conservation organization dedicated to preserving marine biodiversity and improving food security in tropical coastal communities.

FutureFeed, Australia. A joint research initiative striving to reduce methane emissions from livestock with seaweed-based feed additives.

icipe, Kenya. A research organization pioneering the transition to insect-based proteins for food and animal feed.*

The Land Institute, USA. A world-leading institute spearheading the development of new perennial grains and crops.

Sanergy, Kenya and USA. A social enterprise converting the growing organic waste in urban slums into an agricultural resource.*

*At the recommendation of the Food Planet Prize Jury, one of the Prizes will be shared as the two recipients both work on a key area: insects as an alternative source of food and feed.

”The Jury has concluded that the prizewinners have made substantial progress within their respective fields, devising innovative solutions that have considerable potential to scale.”
Line Gordon, Co-chair, The Food Planet Prize

The 2020 Food Planet Prize Jury is comprised of world-leading scientists, policymakers and entrepreneurs. The Jury is chaired by Professor Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Line Gordon, Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University.

The Food Planet Prize 2020 recipients received their awards notifications by Jakob Lundberg, Head of the Food Planet Prize Secretariat. Documentation can be found here: link

A formal handing over of the awards will follow as early as possible in 2021, when the world is un-locked again.

The Prizewinners

Blue Ventures, awarded the Food Planet Prize 2020


Restoring tropical waters together with traditional fishers so that vulnerable local communities can thrive and protect their marine resources

An initiative that restores and preserves badly damaged marine habitats, reigniting marine biodiversity and local fisheries to improve food security in underprivileged coastal communities. Coastal conservation efforts often break down because they fail to resonate with the needs of the local communities. Blue Ventures’ approach has proved successful because they work with – and for – local fishers while simultaneously focusing on marine conservation. Through local fisher organizations, Blue Ventures delivers a simple model that coherently addresses the underlying causes of overfishing and impoverishment. It includes securing small-scale fishers’ rights to their fisheries and offering community-based fisheries management, fisher savings and loans, as well as training to cut spoilage and waste, improving quality and returns. Blue Ventures has supported coastal communities and local partners to establish locally managed marine areas (LMMAs) reaching people in coastal states across the Indian Ocean. They have also built sustainable aquaculture businesses and developed effective approaches for integrating community health services with marine conservation.

 ”We support a global team on an incredibly tight budget. This prize will be transformative in unlocking growth of our model over the coming years.”

”I’ve spent 20 years of my life trying to raise global awareness of a sector that has been overlooked for too long.”
Alasdair Harris, Founder

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More information about Blue Ventures:


FutureFeed, awarded the Food Planet Prize 2020


Exploring the power of seaweed as a methane-blocking feed supplement in the urgent effort to curb emissions from cow burps, a significant contributor to global warming    

A joint initiative, currently developed by Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in collaboration with Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) and James Cook University (JCU). Livestock farming and the meat industry are responsible for 18% of total global greenhouse gas emissions and over half of what the food sector emits. Cutting down on red meat in our diets is important but will not be enough. We urgently need solutions to curb cows’ climate impact, as global beef and dairy consumption is still on the rise. Seaweed has long been used to eke out livestock feed where grazing grounds are scarce, an emergency solution that has proven to have benefits far beyond cost-cutting purposes. Asparagopsis taxiformis is a red algae species that grows in the tropics, subtropics, and extends into temperate waters. It was discovered and refined by marine algae specialists in Australia, and related seaweed species all over the world are being researched for similar gains and cultivation potentials. As a supplement, even at low doses, the seaweed has demonstrated its power to decrease methane gas production by more than 80%.

”Thank you for seeing the value of this, which is for me a life of work, and for others, a future of work.”

”We will be producing food while reducing greenhouse gases that are already out there – and cattle can do that.”
Rob Kinley, Founder and Chief Scientist

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More information about Future Feed:

The Land Institute, awarded the Food Planet Prize 2020


Reshaping agriculture in nature’s image with a simple and yet revolutionary approach that may help the Food Planet move into a resilient mode

A world-leading institute spearheading the development and dissemination of new perennial versions of existing crops (rice, wheat, and sorghum) and farming based on diverse crop mixtures. Many problems in agriculture today relate to annual crop varieties, monocultures, and our dependence on intensive agrochemical methods. Perennials – harvested year-over-year without resowing – can make agriculture more resilient and contribute significantly to curtailing climate change; as soils are allowed to rest longer, they do not release carbon dioxide as quickly and are not continuously depleted. The benefits of an agricultural system that mimics natural cycles and processes are many, including enhanced biodiversity and soil health – and, in the long term, a stable supply of food as well as improved returns for farmers.

“This prize will help us launch the New Roots International Initiative on a global stage, a decisive step toward a perennial revolution in agriculture, and a foundation for our work to grow.”

“We want to ignite a movement for perennial grain research globally.”
Rachel Stroer, Acting President

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More information about The Land Institute:

icipe/Sanergy, jointly awarded the Food Planet Prize 2020


Tapping an underutilized protein source – insects – based on their ability to convert organic waste into feed and food

Insects have been consumed in many parts of the world for millennia. More recently, they have been promoted as an alternative protein source in our food. Yet, their biggest disruptive potential for food system transformation lies in their ability to turn inedible organic waste into animal feed – and further down the line, into food. “Insect tech” can substantially decrease the need for land use in feed production and help establish circular production systems that build on the domestication and farming of suitable insect species. The Prizewinners have worked together as research and learning partners, focusing on scientifically sound, systemic solutions based on real-world conditions that are easy to implement in Africa and beyond. Sanergy strives to turn the growing problem of sanitation and organic waste in urban slums into opportunities for farming. icipe, the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology, develops research programs and technology platforms, such as INSEFF – “Insects for Food and Feed”– collaborating with farmers, policymakers, and scientists across the African continent, bringing knowledge to the field that directly improves farmers’ livelihoods.

”This prize is an endorsement that what we are doing is the right way”

”4% of the total need of protein for animal consumption in Kenya is now replaced with insects. We are showing the world what is possible.”
Dr. Segenet Kelemu, Director-General and CEO at icipe

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More information about icipe:

”Our goal over the next five years is to be processing over one million tons of waste per year, which will enable us to produce significant amounts of animal feed and fertilizer, which is so important for food security.”

”Your support will be the catalyst to enable this expansion. It’s a game-changer for us.”
David Auerbach, Co-founder of Sanergy

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More information about Sanergy:


The Jury

Johan Rockström, Professor Earth System Science, University of Potsdam and Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

Line Gordon, Associate Professor and Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University

Olivier De Schutter, Co-chair of the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems, Professor at the University of Louvain and UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights

Shenggen Fan, Chair Professor of Food Economics and Policy at China Agricultural University. Former Director-General of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Jessica Fanzo, Bloomberg Distinguished Associate Professor of Global Food and Agriculture Policy and Ethics at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics

David Nabarro, Professor of Global Health at Imperial College London and WHO’s special envoy, COVID-19

Magnus Nilsson, Director of the MAD Academy in Copenhagen. Former Head Chef of internationally acclaimed, Swedish restaurant Fäviken Magasinet

Paul Polman, Creator of Imagine, a foundation combating poverty and climate change. Former CEO of Unilever

Lindiwe Sibanda, CEO and Head of Mission of the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN)

Rami Zurayk, Professor of Ecosystem Management at the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences at the American University of Beirut

For further information:

Press images: Images of Johan Rockström and Line Gordon can be found here and here.  Press images of Curt Bergfors can be found here and here.

Jakob Lundberg,
Head of Secretariat, The Food Planet Prize

Johan Rockström,
Jury Chairman, spokesperson for the Food Planet Prize

Lars Peder Hedberg,
Director-General, spokesperson for the Curt Bergfors Foundation
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