2021 Lush Spring Prize shortlist announced

54 projects from around the world have been shortlisted for the £220,000 Lush Spring Prize for environmental and social regeneration.

The 2021 Lush Spring Prize received over 400 applications, which were shortlisted to a group of 54 in June and July this year. The 2021 shortlist can be viewed on the Spring Prize website.

The prize saw a 61% increase in reach, with inspiring applications received from 81 different countries and every continent except Antarctica.

Although the shortlist is extremely diverse and spans multiple bioregions, interesting common themes can be identified.

Areas of focus of the applications

Shortlisted projects were seen to be taking ownership of most or all of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in an integrated way, while over half of the groups were integrating ancient or indigenous wisdom in their work.

Climate change was the most common issue addressed - not just in terms of preventing it but adapting to and mitigating the effects that are already being felt by projects and their stakeholders.

The projects address multiple issues needed to support life, including ecosystem restoration, regenerative food production, building community, creating resilient housing and circular economies, whilst also supporting displaced people, protecting indigenous rights and access to land.

Projects were driven by a range of stakeholders, including grassroots campaigners, small scale agro-ecological producers, regenerative businesses, indigenous groups, academics, global solidarity networks and think tanks.

What is the Lush Spring Prize?

The Lush Spring Prize was set up to support ‘regenerative’ projects – those that go beyond sustainability by taking holistic approaches to building the health of ecology, economy and social systems.

It seeks to support those who are actively involved in restoring all the systems they are part of. By supporting regenerative projects the Spring Prize hopes to raise the profile of the movement as a whole to inspire more individuals, groups, communities, funders and businesses to start engaging with regenerative processes.

The Lush Spring Prize is a joint venture between LUSH Cosmetics and Ethical Consumer and is now in its fourth cycle, having started in 2017 and distributed more than £600,000 to date.

What are the 2021 prizes and categories?

Alongside the Spring Prize’s regular four categories (Intentional, Young, Established, and Influence awards), two collaborative prizes have been added in partnership with Be The Earth Foundation and Abundant Earth Foundation.

The 2021 Spring Prize’s four core categories, and two special categories, are as follows:

Intentional Projects – At least four awards of up to £10,000
For great new ideas and projects up to 1 year old. This prize is for individuals, communities, aspiring businesses or newly formed groups and organisations to help establish a strong foundation from which to grow.

Young Projects – At least 3 awards of up to £20,000
For young community groups, organisations, businesses or networks that are 1-5 years old, to help them to expand or develop their work in improving ecological and social systems.    

Established Projects – At least 2 awards of up to £25,000
For community groups, organisations, businesses or networks that have worked successfully for more than 5 years, to help spread awareness of their work and inspire more people to start their regenerative journeys.

Influence Award – At least 2 awards of up to £25,000     
For local, national or international organisations and networks that have a core focus on campaigning or lobbying to influence policy, regulation or public opinion in support of regeneration. It 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.

NEW: Ancient and Indigenous Wisdom Award - £10,000 award
Run in collaboration with Be The Earth Foundation, this award seeks to recognise, celebrate and explore the role that ancient knowledge and wisdom can play in shaping regenerative approaches and ways of being. In a world full of movement and shaped by (historic and current) oppressive colonial and patriarchal structures, this award honours the necessity and relevance of traditional ecological knowledge and nature-based ancestral practices.

NEW: Youth In Permaculture Prize - £10,000 award
Run in collaboration with Abundant Earth Foundation (AEF), this prize recognises that the youth of today are the future of tomorrow! Now in its 4th year, AEF is happy to partner with the 2021 Lush Spring Prize to honour young people that are making a positive difference. It seeks to celebrate and support the great work of young people around the world that are using permaculture and other regenerative practices to help heal the planet. From creating educational programmes through art, to businesses in challenged areas, tree planting with orphanages, and food security after hurricanes, previous winners span the world and the gamut of solutions.

Agroforestry land in India
A Khetee agroforestry Farm in Durdih village, Lakhisarai, Bihar, India. Khetee is shortlisted in the 'Young project' category and focuses on community development through regenerative agroforestry, with village farmers and women in Durdih, where most members of the population are part of the scheduled or other low castes, with many falling below the poverty line.

Final event and award ceremony

A skill sharing event and celebration will be held online between 23 - 31 October in the run up to COP26, with small regional events running alongside.

It seeks to create spaces of peer learning, where groups can share effective practice with one another, and network in a safe and supportive space. It also seeks to highlight the many ‘cascading benefits’ of regenerative work, encouraging the leaders and policymakers meeting at COP26 to take notice: regenerative movements could hold many solutions to intersecting ecological and social crises.

The Spring Prize winners for 2021 will be announced during this time, having been decided by a panel of 12 judges.

The Spring Prize judging panel is composed of people drawn from a diverse range of movements representing regenerative design, permaculture, food sovereignty, the transition, biomimicry and eco-village networks.

Each prize cycle a ‘Lush Customer Judge’ and ‘Lush Staff Judge’ are also selected to act as additional independent members of the judging panel.

You can read more about the judges here on the Spring Prize website.

CoRenewal - shortlisted for Established project category

CoRenewal has been at the forefront of developing innovative ecological solutions for over a decade, from supporting Indigenous communities impacted by oil spills in the Amazon to catalyzing wildfire-aftermath defence mobilizations in California.

It includes working with local community leaders to document the impact of oil contamination on microbial communities and ecosystems, and supporting Indigenous communities and habitats in the Ecuadorian Amazon facing a toxic legacy left by Chevron/Texaco.

They also collaborate to examine the ability of native fungi and microbes to facilitate wildfire-aftermath ecosystem regeneration.

Find out more about CoRenewal and check out all 54 shortlisted projects on the Spring Prize website.