Do you love soil? You could win $1000 in our video and essay contest.

soil hands flickr.jpg

UPDATE: The deadline for this contest has been extended until September 8th, Midnight PDT.

2015 is the UN declared International Year of Soils, and Natural Resources Defense Council and Lexicon of Sustainability are celebrating by sponsoring the Voices of the Soil essay contest.

The contest is open to any United States resident* between the age of 18 and 28 who loves soil and is pursuing an education or career in agriculture, environmental science, or other related fields. We especially encourage submissions from young farmers.

I grew up in rural Southeast Tennessee, and I've been involved in agriculture to some extent for my entire life. I loved being a member of the National FFA Organization in high school, and participating in 4-H as a young person. I didn't know that my initial experiences evaluating farmland soil on an FFA soil judging team or identifying different types of seed in 4-H would eventually lead to a career advocating for sustainable agriculture within national policy. But those experiences were the seeds that grew to a deep love and appreciation for the earth beneath our feet.

I hope that this contest will plant seeds in other young people who have an interest in agriculture. We are excited to hear your stories and learn why soil is important to you, no matter what your background is or whether you live on a farm or in the city. Soil provides for us all in many ways.

You can read more about the contest and how to enter at the Lexicon of Sustainability website. I hope you will submit a video or written essay that tells your soil story. The contest is open for submissions through September 8, 2015.** Give us your best and most creative answer to any of the 3 prompt questions, and don't be afraid to give a personal response.

We will select eight winners by mid-September; winning essays and videos will be publicized by NRDC and Lexicon of Sustainability. We are also inviting a special guest judging panel of leading voices in agriculture, and we will announce our judges at a later date.

In the meantime, visit the Voices of the Soil webpage here to get more information or to enter the contest:

Voices of the Soil Essay and Video Contest

*Contest is open to US residents, excluding Puerto Rico and other US Territories; employees or relations of NRDC or Lexicon of Sustainability staff are not eligible to compete.

** As of August 12, 2015, we the contest organizers have extended the deadline from August 31, 2015 to September 8, 2015.

(Photo courtesy of Pat Dumas, flickr)