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.
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.