THE 14TH ANNUAL SHORTY AWARDS

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Special Project

Special Project NEW!

Reawakened Foods Initiative

Entered in Storytelling

Objective

The world has lost 75 percent of plant genetic diversity since the 1900s.

Farmers worldwide have increasingly abandoned traditional crops in favor of more genetically uniform, higher-yield varieties. Unfortunately, this disturbing trend toward the intensive production of select crops—growing for yield instead of nutrition—has come at a cost. Growing for yield threatens global biodiversity, and people across the globe now face malnourishment and the impacts of diet-related diseases. Can we change course before it’s too late?

Growing for greater agrobiodiversity provides benefits for people and the environment. Cultivating agrobiodiversity can improve local economies and environmental health. Communities that invest in agrobiodiversity reap the benefits of value-added goods, women empowerment, and increased local autonomy. Agrobiodiversity can also improve soil health, increase climate resilience, and restore ecosystems.

Reawakened is a global storytelling initiative that invited creatives from around the world to tell their stories of agrobiodiversity and become part of an international collective promoting a more sustainable food system. By telling the stories of neglected and underutilized crop species and the heroes (farmers, chefs, scientists, activists, and eaters)  that are reawakening them, this global collective illuminates the value of increasing agrobiodiversity on our tables and fields and inspires others to act.

Strategy

The initiative is founded on Reawakened’s 10 Principles of Agrobiodiversity, which show how agrobiodiversity promotes healthy soils, supports gender equality, empowers youth, upholds resilient land-use practices, encourages knowledge sharing, protects traditional cultures, improves nutritional outcomes, creates opportunities across the value chain, and fights climate change. By showing what everyone can gain from agrobiodiversity, we believe more and more people will decide to adopt it into their daily lives and work.

Reawakened has worked closely with key stakeholders to identify the Reawakened 25, a select group of valuable crops that provide a wealth of social and ecosystem benefits wherever they are grown. These crops act as ‘flag’ crops to show what success looks like when reawakening agrobiodiversity. 

Reawakened uses storytelling to change people’s perceptions and influence them to choose to increase agrobiodiversity in our food system. By collecting and sharing stories of agrobiodiversity worldwide, Reawakened inspired action and trained a generation of agrobiodiversity activists.

The Reawakened Foods Initiative launched a call to action for storytellers worldwide to join The Lexicon, tell their stories of agrobiodiversity, and enter an international collective of creatives promoting food biodiversity. The Reawakened Foods website hosted the call to action (we created one landing page within the website and an application form), while our team advertised via social media and through direct contacts. We then spoke with dozens of activists and research organizations. As a result, the call to action received applications from 43 countries. Once we received the applications, we reviewed each one of them, carefully selected the 30 best storytellers (spread in 10 different time zones, from Peru to Japan), and invited them to participate in the Reawakened Foods Total Storytelling Masterclass.

The Masterclass lasted from August 23, 2021, to September 7, 2021. It consisted of five online classes to teach the basic principles of The Lexicon’s Total Storytelling Method and guide participants in creating their own stories. As preparation for the Masterclass, The Lexicon designed and shared a workbook that participants used as a manual to navigate the initiative and work together to build their stories by providing feedback and suggestions. Mentors conducted classes twice daily (once for Americas and EU, once for Asia, Oceania, and Pacific) and recorded each session. 

After the conclusion of the Masterclass, the production period began. First, the 30 participants began producing their own stories, guided and mentored by The Lexicon’s team. Then, at the end of the production phase, each Reawakened Foods Fellow (what we referred to the participants as) submitted their stories.

The stories were first released during the 2nd International Agrobiodiversity Congress, organized by the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT.

Results

The call to action was open for one month and attracted 133 applicants (storytellers, farmers, activists, etc.) from 43 countries on six continents. Our team provided 24 hours of lessons twice daily to allow people from all time zones to participate. In addition, more than ten experts in biodiversity and agriculture interacted and mentored the collective in the masterclass. 

The crowdsourced initiative birthed 27 stories of agrobiodiversity in 20 countries worldwide, featuring seven diverse media formats (photography, video, information artworks, illustrations, recipes, audio, and writing). 

The stories were officially released online at the 2nd International Agrobiodiversity Congress. In addition, the International Agrobiodiversity Congress broadcasted the ten short videos featuring Reawakened’s agrobiodiversity principles during all the congress sessions to display agrobiodiversity’s extreme importance.

After the congress, the dissemination phase began, and we started distributing these inspiring stories via The Lexicon's and our partner organization's communication channels. We made over 200 posts on Instagram and Linkedin, which received thousands of interactions. 

Ten participants in this global initiative banded together to establish the Reawakened Collective and continue telling stories together. The Reawakened Collective became an army of storytellers, food activists, researchers, and creatives united by the desire to increase diversity in our food systems. Any member of the Reawakened Collective can propose stories, themes, and issues to work through. The Lexicon will act as an editorial board to support the production of their stories. 

Media

Video for Reawakened Foods Initiative

Entrant Company / Organization Name

The Lexicon of Sustainability

Links

Entry Credits