INMED Selected as Finalist for the Zayed Sustainability Prize

STERLING, VA (October 14, 2019): INMED Partnerships for Children has been selected as one of three finalists in the food category for the prestigious Zayed Sustainability Prize 2020 for its international aquaponics program. This annual international prize rewards the achievements of those who are driving impactful, innovative, and inspiring sustainability solutions to address pressing international development challenges.

The food security challenge INMED addresses through aquaponics lies at the very heart of the organization’s mission to build pathways for vulnerable children, families, and communities to achieve well-being and self-reliance. “The stress of living in poverty and struggling daily to obtain enough food means that children in the low-resource communities INMED serves often do not get the nutrients they need to feed their growing bodies and brains, leading to high rates of malnutrition, developmental stunting and preventable disease,” notes INMED Founder and CEO Dr. Linda Pfeiffer. “Our solution strengthens food security while also promoting sustainable livelihoods for vulnerable families.”

Aquaponics is an ancient farming technique used by the Aztecs that combines aquaculture and soilless crop production in a symbiotic system that requires no pesticides or fertilizers and produces up to 10 times the yields of conventional agriculture in the same space. INMED’s innovative, simplified version of aquaponics and corresponding training program address many of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, including:

  • Zero hunger: INMED Aquaponics ensures year-round access to all-natural, nutritious food, allowing communities to increase food production through climate-resilient and environmentally sustainable practices.
  • Gender equality: Female farmers control less land and have less access to credit, insurance, and new technologies. INMED Aquaponics provides women with access to land, inputs, assets, markets, entrepreneurship, and income opportunities.
  • Decent work and economic growth: INMED Aquaponics provides technical and business training, access to financing and links to markets for smallholder farmers and emerging entrepreneurs create sustainable incomes by launching aquaponics enterprises.
  • Climate action: The effects of climate change are evident on every continent, with impoverished communities bearing the brunt of rising temperatures and dwindling arable land. INMED Aquaponics increases community resilience to climate change, builds capacity for effective climate change planning and mitigation and improves education and awareness for current and future generations.
  • Life on land: Because aquaponics produces more food in a smaller footprint, it can help restore deforested and contaminated land as well as preserve biodiversity. INMED works with communities to promote the cultivation of native plant and fish species and ensure that children learn the importance of biodiversity.

“We were inspired to develop our own simplified form of aquaponics as an affordable option for small-scale farmers, schools, government institutions, home producers, women’s and disabled people’s cooperatives and other marginalized populations who have long been left out of the global economy,” says Pfeiffer. INMED’s modular design, limited mechanization and use of easily accessible local materials make INMED’s system easy to build, operate and maintain in nearly any location—urban or rural.

“We are honored to be considered for the Zayed Sustainability Prize and the support it would provide to expand our work to more vulnerable communities,” says Pfeiffer. “With the Zayed Sustainability Prize, INMED can scale the enormous potential of aquaponics to feed a growing population with dwindling natural resources—transforming struggling communities into thriving climate-smart hubs of fresh produce, fish, and economic sustainability, and setting the stage for expansion to new regions.”

Winners of the Zayed Sustainability Prize will be announced in Abu Dhabi on January 13, 2020. For more information, visit https://zayedsustainabilityprize.com.

About INMED Partnerships for Children

INMED Partnerships for Children is a nonprofit international development organization that has worked in more than 100 countries since 1986 to build pathways that enable vulnerable children, families and communities to achieve well-being and self-reliance. Learn more at https://inmed.org.

Photo caption:

The aquaponics program INMED implemented for the all-female Pella Food Garden cooperative in Northern Cape, South Africa increased the group’s monthly income by 60-fold within a year, generated jobs for the impoverished community and garnered regional and national awards.

Local Data Center and Construction Giants Team to Support New INMED Project

STERLING, VA (October 9, 2019): Heavy equipment rumbled into action early yesterday morning as volunteers from CyrusOne, a leading global data center REIT, HITT Contracting and Blue Ridge Landscape Design donned gloves and safety gear to clear a patch of vegetation from an empty field on Paxton Campus in Leesburg. It is the site of the future INMED Aquaponics education center, a collaboration between INMED Partnerships for Children and the Paxton Trust.

The program will serve children and youth in need—including those hindered by economic disadvantage as well as those with developmental and mental health challenges—through vocational training in the burgeoning field of adaptive agriculture. INMED Aquaponics is a holistic program that involves hands-on technical training as well as business and financial planning for those interested in launching agro-enterprises.

A combination of fish farming and hydroponics in a closed symbiotic system, aquaponics produces crops and fish year-round at yields significantly higher than traditional farming with no chemicals or fertilizers, while dramatically conserving water, energy and land resources. For nearly a decade, INMED has been implementing its simplified version of aquaponics for individuals with disabilities and other vulnerable populations living in regions hard hit by climate change around the world.

“This is our second volunteer workday with INMED, and we were pleased to partner again with HITT Contracting and its subcontractor Blue Ridge Landscape Design,” notes Stuart Dyer, Business Development Manager of CyrusOne. “INMED’s mission to help children and families achieve self-reliance complements one of our core values of being caring individuals and corporate citizens of the places where we live and work. The aquaponics center represents a unique approach to equipping all our neighbors for success while also protecting the environment.”

The new INMED center will include an aquaponics greenhouse with fish tanks and grow beds, a production facility for processing harvests, training classrooms and space for community partners to offer complementary services. The center also will host field trips for children to learn about ecology, nutrition, biology, agriculture and the environment.

“We’ve had great success with INMED Aquaponics on three continents,” says Jennifer Smith, INMED’s Director of U.S. Programs. “It only makes sense to bring it to Loudoun to help us expand on our programs at our Opportunity Center in Sterling to narrow the opportunity gaps that still exist. We’re so thankful for community partners like CyrusOne, HITT Contracting and Blue Ridge Landscape Design for helping us kick off this project.”

Special thanks to Anderson Equipment Company and Sunbelt Rentals for donating heavy equipment for the workday.

For more information and to get involved, contact Jennifer Smith at jsmith@inmed.org or 571-465-5999 for more details.

About INMED Partnerships for Children

INMED Partnerships for Children is a nonprofit international humanitarian development organization that has improved the lives of millions of people in 100+ countries for more than 30 years by creating pathways for disadvantaged children and families to achieve well-being and self-reliance.

Headquartered in Sterling, Virginia, INMED has served at-risk children and low-income families in Loudoun County since 1994. INMED’s US programs are delivered via its Opportunity Community, including a Family & Youth Opportunity Center in Sterling for low-income families and INMED’s new opportunity initiative at Paxton Campus to provide agricultural-based training for low-income families and the special needs community. Learn more at https://opportunitycenter.us.

About CyrusOne

CyrusOne (NASDAQ:CONE) is a high-growth real estate investment trust (REIT) specializing in highly reliable enterprise-class, carrier-neutral data center properties. The company provides mission-critical data center facilities that protect and ensure the continued operation of IT infrastructure for nearly 1,000 customers, including 195 Fortune 1000 companies and nine of the top 10 cloud providers.

With a track record of meeting and surpassing the aggressive speed-to-market demands of hyperscale cloud providers, as well as the expanding IT infrastructure requirements of the enterprise, CyrusOne  provides the flexibility, reliability, security, and connectivity that foster business growth.  CyrusOne offers a tailored, customer service-focused platform and is committed to full transparency in communication, management, and service delivery throughout its 44 data centers worldwide. Learn more at https://cyrusone.com/.

About HITT Contracting, Inc.

 HITT provides a wide range of construction services, from core and shell building and renovations, to interior fit-outs and service work—there’s no job too large (or small) for us to deliver. With 2018 revenues of more than $1.9 billion and 1,000+ team members in 10 locations nationwide, HITT is ranked one of the 40 largest general contractors in the nation. We’ve been told we have elevated standards, sometimes beyond what seems necessary. But we believe that those who care the most about the little things, care more about everything. Every little detail, done right every time, adds up to something big—an incredible building experience. Visit HITT.com for more information.