Food Sustainability Media Award: all the stories told by the finalists

Food Sustainability Media Award: all the stories told by the finalists

November 09, 2018

Food Sustainability Media Award: all the stories told by the finalists

Online voting closes on 23 November. Alongside the jury of professionals, readers also help to choose the best journalism product that recounts the important world of sustainable food and sustainable agriculture

Launched in December 2016 by the Thomson Reuters Foundation (TRF) and the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition Foundation (BCFN), the Food Sustainability Media Award is the event that focuses the public's attention on the subject of sustainable food, by awarding prizes to the works that have dealt with food security, sustainability, food and nutrition , and have received an exceptional level of coverage in the media. At the same time, the award aims to collect noteworthy unpublished works. 

This year, 431 entries were received from 80 countries all over the world and on 16 October the 12 finalists were announced, three in each category (published articles, unpublished articles, and published and unpublished multimedia products), selected on the basis of several criteria, including content, originality and creativity. They will be judged by a jury of experts: as well as in their own categories, the finalists also compete for the Best of the Web award, assigned directly by the public, through voting on the website until 23:59 hrs (GMT) on 23 November.


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Awards ceremony at the BCFN Foundation Forum

The winners will be announced by a jury of leading professionals in the areas of journalism, photography and food policy, as well as sustainable agriculture and research, during the BCFN Foundation's 9th International Forum on Food and Nutrition, to be held in Milan on 27 November. Entrants in the published articles category compete for a cash prize of € 10,000; those who submit an unpublished work will have the chance to attend a Thomson Reuters Foundation multimedia training course on sustainable food. The winner of the Best of the Web award will also receive a place on the training course, together with the two entrants who finish second in each of the unpublished works categories. All winning unpublished works will be published on the Thomson Reuters Foundation and BCFN Foundation websites. The winning unpublished article will also be distributed through the Reuters Newswire service, reaching about a billion readers.

Unpublished articles: women lead the way 

All finalists in both the unpublished articles and the published online articles categories are women, and the works cover a particularly broad sweep of the various aspects of food security: Nathasha Alli competes from Canada with a piece about the threat to fishing biodiversity in the Philippines, together with Pauliina Siniauer, from Finland, who describes a volunteer project in Brooklyn, and Robyn Bowden, from South Africa, with her piece on the role of South African women in the development of sustainable agriculture. The unpublished multimedia product subcategory is dominated by journalists from the United States. Karen Buchsbaum and Koorosh Farchadi, in their video Harvests of Hope California, discuss the topic of climate change, especially drought, through the words of farmers themselves. The second finalist is Maggie Andresen, who has entered a thorough exposé of malnutrition in Rwanda, through photographic reporting, and to conclude Rosemary Ostfeld, whose eight-minute video seeks to convey a simple but invaluable message: it is our everyday choices, which influence the items on the plates in front of us and which we will eat, which may help or destroy the health of our Planet.

Published articles: paradoxes and food security

The first published article competing in its category is by Anna Wolfe: published in The Clarion Ledger, it is entitled Surrounded by crops, lacking food: A health paradox in the Mississippi Delta. Wolfe tells us about Dolecia Cody, 29-year-old mother of two daughters, and the first time she goes shopping in six months: in an area like the Mississippi Delta, food security affects thousands of Americans in conditions of serious poverty, just like Cody. Then there is the story told by Emma Bryce on Wired UK, entitled The decades-long quest to end drought (and feed millions) by taking the salt out of seawater  “The world isn’t short of water, it’s just in the wrong place, and too salty," says Charlie Paton, who has spent the past 24 years of his life building the technology to prove it. The last in the running for the award for articles that have already been published is Helena Bottemiller Evich, who published The great nutrient collapse  in Politico: scientists working on sustainable agriculture have known for some time that our most important foods have gradually become less and less nutritious. Measurements of fruits and vegetables show that their minerals, vitamin and protein content has measurably dropped over the past 50 to 70 years, perhaps because in breeding animals and growing crops, resources have been concentrated on quantity rather than quality. 


Two collections of photographs and a video are competing for the first prize in the multimedia section: one entrant is Gregg Segal, who in Time Magazine published Daily Bread – a collection in which the photographer portrayed 18 children from around the world next to what they had eaten during the previous week. Then Kim Harrisberg, who in Cutting Edge South African Broadcast Corporation has published his documentary Food Apartheid, an attempt to investigate the experience of South Africa where, with about 10,000 new diabetes cases each week, and in spite of 24 years of democracy, nutritional equality between the various ethnic groups has still not been achieved. Last but not least is the Italian Luca Locatelli, who, in National Geographic, published Hunger Solutions, a photographic account of the Netherlands, a country which has reduced its dependency on water for crops by up to 90% and almost totally eliminated the use of pesticides in greenhouses since the year 2000, and has cut the use of antibiotics in poultry and livestock farming by up to 60% since 2009. 


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