$30,000 Grand Prize for “Farming for Biodiversity” (Apply Now)

A terraced farm

$30,000 Grand Prize for “Farming for Biodiversity” (Apply Now)

Deadline: March 10, 2017


Unsustainable agricultural practices remain one of the greatest threats to ecosystems and biodiversity. As the global population grows, so too does the demand for food – requiring production increases and potentially even greater impacts on the environment. Widespread land use and agricultural practices must change to reduce these losses. Yet, behavior change in this field is often inhibited by lack of awareness of solutions and of biodiversity’s value for the agricultural sector.


Solution Search is designed to change that. Some innovative solutions have recently emerged that bring farming in harmony with the natural environments that surround. Some have increased the biodiversity of plants, animals, insects and more on the agricultural land itself. This contest seeks to identify, reward and spotlight those successful approaches. In doing so, Solution Search will also increase awareness of biodiversity, its value and the many ways to conserve and sustainability use/manage it.


We want you to tell us: How have you promoted changes in human activities (including your own practices) to ensure sustainable harvests/food security while also conserving, strengthening and/or restoring biodiversity on your agricultural lands and/or the surrounding environment?


ALSO SEE: APPLICATION OPEN: World Food Programme Global Impact Challenge


Examples of potential entries include:

  • Sustainable land use management that integrates the consideration of biodiversity and ecosystems
  • Alternative pest control practices that reduce toxic run-off into local water sources
  • Organic farming methods that increase soil biodiversity (or other species)
  • Livestock control measures that protect local flora and fauna
  • Innovative approaches that reduce human-animal conflicts in agricultural zones


This Solution Search focuses on behavior changes in agriculture that are primed for broad adoption, not simply those concepts identified in a scientific lab nor those that do not have holistic benefits (farmer, community, nature, water, climate resilience, etc.).


After the contest concludes, Rare and IFOAM-Organics International will host a series of workshops to spread the most promising approaches around the world. All entries will be considered for this workshop feature, which also involves the solution entrant being honored by traveling to help train other peer practitioners in the solution.

ALSO SEE: Apply: Conservation, Food and Health Foundation Grant ($20,000)



Contest Requirements

All entries will be judged based on the following criteria:

  • Context Analysis: Clear description of the challenges and of the context in which it operates and the challenges it faces.
  • Solution: Solution is fully developed, addresses contest question and implemented at some scale.
  • Actions: Clear, concrete steps in implementation. Engaged key partners and stakeholders along the way. Entrant understands how actions could connect to external initiatives as well.
  • Results: Strong results associated with biodiversity conservation and of other co-benefits, such as economic, food security/nutrition, water, and/or climate.
  • Sustainability: Economically sustainable solution
  • Return on investment: Positive return (financial, social, or other) associated with investment in the solution
  • Replicability: Extent to which the solution is could be replicated by other communities



ALSO SEE:  MSc. Scholarships in Belgium (Agricultural and Environmental programmes are eligible)



Solution Search is open to all organizations who have a proven solution in biodiversity-friendly agricultural practices. While we celebrate innovation by individuals, they are not eligible. Entries will be considered that comply with the following:

  • Applications must be submitted by March 10, 2017, 5:00 p.m. ET.
  • If selected as the winner, applicant must agree to use the prize money to further the solution and organization’s goals.
  • If selected as the winner, applicant must agree to comply with all national and international laws governing the transfer of any prizes, monetary or otherwise, across national and international boundaries.
  • Agree to all terms of submission as described in the Terms and Conditions.



Phase 1. Launch

Solution Search prepares to launch a competition and address another critical conservation challenge. The contest assembles partners, judges and other key stakeholders as it nears entry opening.



Phase 2. Enter

Organizations enter a contest showcasing their solution to the given challenge. Entrants provide critical information about their proven successes and how that approach has impacted environmental, social and economic outcomes.



ALSO SEE: Commonwealth Scholarships for MSc. in Agricultural, Environmental, Climate Change, Engineering courses & others



Phase 3. Vote

After an expert judging panel narrows the field to ten, people from around the world can read, analyze and ultimately vote on the submission that they feel best addresses the contest issue. These votes select the winner!



Phase 4. Promote

The celebration begins as winners are announced. But after the confetti settles is when the real change happens. Other communities across the globe will read, understand and work to replicate the solution to address a similar problem in their community.

Nominate an Entrant


Submit Your Entry Online


Download Entry Form (32.78 KB)



Grand Prize: $30,000

Awarded to the Judges’ Choice (selected by our panel) and People’s Choice (recipient of most votes)

ALSO SEE: APPLY: Turing Foundation funding for education projects in developing countries



Category Prizes: $15,000

Four prizes awarded in the following categories: Social/Community Impact, Biodiversity Impact, Food Security/Nutrition Impact and Water Impact.



Finalists: Trip to Workshop and Awards Ceremony

Attend a capacity-building workshop and awards ceremony in New York, NY, USA with some of the biggest names in conservation and development


Early Entrant Prize: $5,000

Awarded to the best entry received by February 10, 2017


For more information, Click here.


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Kunlere Idowu

Kunlere is an environment and sustainable development strategist with years of active experience in environmental compliance monitoring and enforcement. You may follow him on Twitter via @kunlere_idowu


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