“Essentially, all life depends upon the soil…
There can be no life without soil and no soil without life; they have evolved together.”

Charles E. Kellogg
USDA Yearbook of Agriculture, 1938

“Voices of the Soil” Essay and Video Contest

Hosted by Natural Resources Defense Council and Lexicon of Sustainability

NRDC+LEXICON_Logos

2015 is the International Year of Soils, so in celebration of one of our most important natural resources, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Lexicon of Sustainability are hosting the “Voices of Soil” Essay and Video Contest for young farmers, agricultural students, or any young person who appreciates the value of healthy soil.

NO LONGER ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS

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“To be a successful farmer one must first know the nature of the soil.”

Xenophon
Oeconomicus, 400 B.C.

WHO CAN ENTER?

The “Voices of Soil” contest is open to US residents (excluding residents of Puerto Rico and other US Territories) ages 18 to 28, who love soil and are pursuing an education or career in agriculture, environmental science, or other related fields to enter. We especially encourage submissions from young farmers. Partner staff, relations of partner staff, and relations of the judging committee are not eligible to compete.​

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CONTEST CATEGORIES

We are accepting ​​written essay and/or video submissions ​that answer one or more of the following questions:

1. WHY IS SOIL HEALTH IMPORTANT TO YOU AND YOUR COMMUNITY?
2. WHAT IS THE IMPORTANT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SOIL CARBON SEQUESTRATION AND A HEALTHY CLIMATE?
3. WHY IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SOIL AND WATER IMPORTANT?

 

Soil_Hands​Videos must be no longer than 5 minutes in length and you can copy/paste the complete URL of the video from the following platforms: LexiconofFood.com, YouTube.com, Vimeo.com (examples: https://www.lexiconoffood.com/video/lets-talk-about-soil or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arTAwCNAaFA or https://vimeo.com/53618201).

Written essays must be between 700 and 1000 words and uploaded files should be less than 64MB, .pdf, .doc, .docx formats only allowed. Alternatively you can copy/paste the complete Lexicon of Food post URL for the essay (example: https://www.lexiconoffood.com/post/ten-things-you-should-know-about-soil)

SUBMISSION DEADLINE​ ​is ​Midnight PDT on SEPTEMBER 8th, 2015. NO LONGER ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS

Individuals may not submit more than one entry. Both video and written essays must be the original work of the contestant. Any sources or quotes must be properly cited. All work must follow federal copyright guidelines.

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“… for only rarely have we stood back and celebrated our soils as something beautiful, and perhaps even mysterious. For what other natural body, worldwide in its distribution, has so many interesting secrets to reveal to the patient observer?”

Les Molloy
1988

PRIZES

A total of $5000 in prizes will be awarded as follows:

One (1) grand prize winner will receive $1000 for best overall written essay.
One (1) grand prize winner will receive $1000 for best overall video essay.
$500 will be awarded each for best written and video essays addressing prompt 1.
$500 will be awarded each for best written and video essays addressing prompt 2.
$500 will be awarded each for best written and video essays addressing prompt 3.

In addition to these cash prizes, winning submissions will be publicized by Lexicon of Sustainability, NRDC, and our partners through online and social media.

DEADLINE FOR ENTRIES

The contest will be open for submissions July 8, 2015 and the deadline to submit a written or video essay is Midnight PDT on Tuesday September 8, 2015. Sponsors are not responsible for late or unsuccessful attempts to enter.

NO LONGER ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS

JUDGING PERIOD

All submissions will be judged on a non-discriminatory basis; winners will be selected by merit alone. The contest sponsors and a special invited guest judging panel will view each video and select winners through a pre-determined process. We will be judging your work for quality, relevance, and creativity.

During the contest judging period, submissions will be judged on the following criteria: (a) 50 percent quality of writing, quality of production, and quality of ideas presented; (b) 30 percent relevance of subject matter to the prompt; (c) 20 percent originality and creativity.

The judging period begins September 1, 2015 and ​winners will be announced on September 30, 2015.

“A cloak of loose, soft material, held to the earth’s hard surface by gravity, is all that lies between life and lifelessness.”

Wallace H. Fuller
Soils of the Desert Southwest, 1975

RULES AND REGULATIONS

NO LONGER ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR TO WIN. ALL FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL AND MUNICIPAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS APPLY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW.

TO ENTER:  Read contest information below, follow the instructions to fill out your submission form, then click on the button to “Submit Your Work.”

  1. The entry period will begin at 12 A.M. (P.D.T.) on July 9, 2015 and will close at 11:59 P.M. (P.D.T.) on September 8th, 2015.
  2. You must enter via the online method described above. Limit one video and/or one written entry per person during the entry period. Multiple entries submitted by a single person are void. Incomplete entries are void. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. (“NRDC”) and Rumplefarm, LLC, known as Lexicon of Sustainability (“LOS”), reserve the right to distribute entries to third parties and to use for their own purposes as specified below. By entering, you acknowledge compliance with these Official Rules, including all eligibility requirements. No mechanically reproduced, software-generated or other automated multiple entries permitted. NRDC and LOS will not be responsible, and cannot be held liable, for incomplete, lost, late, misdirected or illegible entries or for failure to receive entries due to transmission failures or technical failures of any kind, including, without limitation, malfunctioning of any network, hardware or software, whether originating with sender or sponsor, or for any human error, lost/delayed data transmission, or any other error or malfunction. All entries become the property of NRDC and LOS. You agree to assign all rights and intellectual property rights in the entry to NRDC and LOS. NRDC and LOS will provide full credit for your authorship as appropriate. You agree that you shall not upload, post or transmit any materials which contain any computer viruses, Easter eggs, worms, Trojan Horses or other harmful components or programming routines that are intended to damage, detrimentally interfere with, surreptitiously intercept or expropriate any system, data or personal information. Entry materials that have been tampered with or altered are void. Any questions regarding your identity shall be determined by NRDC and LOS in their sole, reasonable discretion, and NRDC and LOS reserve the right to disqualify any entries by persons determined to be tampering with or abusing any aspect of the contest.
  3. GUIDELINES: Videos must be no longer than 5 minutes in length and you can copy/paste the complete URL of the video from the following platforms: LexiconofFood.com, YouTube.com, Vimeo.com (examples: https://www.lexiconoffood.com/video/lets-talk-about-soil or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arTAwCNAaFA or https://vimeo.com/53618201).
    Written essays must be between 700 and 1000 words and uploaded files should be less than 64MB, .pdf, .doc, .docx formats only allowed. Alternatively you can copy/paste the complete Lexicon of Food post URL for the essay (example: https://www.lexiconoffood.com/post/ten-things-you-should-know-about-soil).
    Video and written essays must answer one of the following questions:
    a. Why is soil health important to you and your community?
    b. What is the important relationship between soil carbon sequestration and a healthy climate?
    c. Why is the relationship between soil and water important?
  4. CITATIONS/ORIGINAL WORK: Both video and written essays must be the original work of the contestant. Any sources or quotes must be properly cited. All work must follow federal copyright guidelines. Any material that is borrowed, referenced, summarized, or paraphrased must be cited. Sources for written essays should be documented with footnotes in the Modern Language Association (MLA) Style. Citations will not be included in the final word count. All video essays must include MLA credits listing all research, images, audio, and sound effect resources. Videos must not exceed 5 minutes, including credits.
  5. INAPPROPRIATE OR ILLEGAL CONDUCT: You may not submit content that contains any elements that violate a third party’s copyright or trademark rights. You may not submit content that depicts any individuals who have not granted permission to be featured. Obscene, provocative or otherwise questionable content will not be considered. NRDC and LOS reserve sole discretion as to what constitutes inappropriate content. You agree to indemnify and defend NRDC and LOS from and against any losses, claims, damages, judgments, assessments, costs and other liabilities in connection with any claims, suits, actions, proceedings, judgments or investigations, whether or not NRDC and/or LOS is a party thereto, arising out of or resulting from any breach by, or the negligence or willful misconduct of, you or your agents in the performance of your obligations under this Official Rules.
  6. ELIGIBILITY: Contest open only to U.S. residents (excluding residents of Puerto Rico and other US Territories), 18 years of age up to 28 years of age at time of entry. Contest is not open to employees of NRDC or LOS and their affiliates, subsidiaries, subcontractors, and advertising or promotional agencies, and the immediate family members of, and any persons domiciled with, such employees. This contest is subject to all applicable federal, state and local laws of the United States. All claims must be resolved in the United States and by entering you agree that the federal and New York courts with jurisdiction in New York shall have exclusive jurisdiction over any claim or cause of action arising under or related to this contest and/ or the awarding of any prizes in this contest. Winners agree that NRDC and LOS and their affiliates and subsidiaries and their subcontractors, agencies and employees shall not be liable for injury, loss or damage of any kind resulting from participating in this promotion or from any acceptance or use of any prize awarded.
  7. PRIZE:
    A total of $5000 in prizes will be awarded as follows:
    One (1) grand prize winner will receive $1000 for best overall written essay.
    One (1) grand prize winner will receive $1000 for best overall video essay.
    $500 will be awarded each for best written and video essays addressing prompt 1.
    $500 will be awarded each for best written and video essays addressing prompt 2.
    $500 will be awarded each for best written and video essays addressing prompt 3.
  8. WINNER SELECTION AND CRITERIA: Eight winners will be selected after evaluation of all eligible entries according to the below listed judgement criteria on or about September 30, 2015. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received and the application of the judgment criteria. Winning submissions must adhere to the contest guidelines. Submissions will be initially scored by a panel of NRDC and LOS staff, who will score each submission according to the following criteria: quality (50%), subject matter relevance (30%), and originality and creativity (20%). A percentage of the highest scoring submissions will then be submitted to an invited panel of guest judges, who will select the winners in each category.
  9. WINNER NOTIFICATION AND ACCEPTANCE: The winners will be notified by e- mail from NRDC. Return of prize notification as undeliverable may result in disqualification and an alternate winner may be selected. Winners may waive right to receive the prize. The prize is non-assignable and non-transferable and no cash or other substitutions will be offered except at the sole discretion of NRDC and LOS. No substitutions allowed, except that the prizes and individual components of the prize packages are subject to availability and NRDC and LOS reserve the right to substitute prizes of equal or greater value. The winners are solely responsible for reporting and payment of any taxes on the prize. The winners may be required to complete an affidavit of eligibility, and a liability and publicity release (except where prohibited by law), which must be returned within 14 days of the date of notification. Failure to sign and return the affidavit or release within 14 days, or to comply with any term or condition of these Official Rules, may, at the sole discretion of NRDC and LOS, result in a winner’s disqualification, the forfeiture of his or her interest in the prize, and the award of prize to an alternate winner. Except where prohibited, participation in the sweepstakes constitutes your consent to the publication of your name and image and voice in any media for any commercial or promotional purpose, without limitation and without further compensation.
  10. SPONSOR: This contest is sponsored by NRDC and LOS whose decisions regarding the selection of the winners and all other aspects of the contest shall be final and binding in all respects. NRDC and LOS will not be responsible for typographical, printing or other inadvertent errors in these Official Contest Rules or in other materials relating to the contest. If you have any questions regarding this contest, please contact NRDC at 1152
    15th St NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20005, Lara Bryant, lbryant@nrdc.org, 202 289-6868.

“We might say that the earth has the spirit of growth;

that its flesh is the soil.”

Leonardo da Vinci

SUBMISSION FORM

Please use the online form below to submit your application. Make sure you have read the Rules and Regulations (you can also download the rules and regulations here) before submitting your work. The form will display additional fields when you choose the format (Video Link or Written Essay) you want to submit. You will receive a notification email at the end of the process.

NO LONGER ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS