Future Ground Prize

Congratulations to the 2021 Future Ground Prize finalists!

It’s been a truly inspiring couple of months, launching the inaugural Future Ground Prize in Ontario.

This year’s contest has proven that a citizen-led movements can build a  more just, healthier and sustainable world.

We are thrilled to announce the winners of the 2021 Future Ground Prize, presented by Desjardins and supported by Nature’s Way:

Grand Prize winner: Indigenous Seeds of Hope – Planting our Future

People’s Choice winner: Ohneganos Let’s Talk Water

Youth Prize winner: Movers and Shakers Program

These community leaders are proving it’s possible to come together to tackle major crises and that often, change starts right in your own community.

Please join us in celebrating this year’s participants! A recording of this year’s event can be viewed here. Visit us early next year for details on the 2022 Future Ground Prize.

Community Engagement Toolkit

This kit is for people who’ve already launched a community project or want to start one, from green alleys, community gardens or protection of a woodland, lake or other natural space to a civic or school action group.

We hope this guide helps new community groups, new local initiatives and new regulations in favour of the environment to flourish. And that individual actions turn into collective actions, toward a just ecological transition and a green, carbon-neutral Canada.

Happy reading and good luck!

Download my toolkit

Grand Prize winner

Indigenous Seeds Of Hope Planting Our Future Finalist

Indigenous Seeds of Hope - Planting our Future

Grandmothers Voice received a request from a non-Indigenous, non-profit organization to create a healing garden and wellness centre in response to the trauma of COVID. Our community has united to create a Living Monument Healing/Medicine Garden to honour the MMIWG2S+, reclaiming the land and food sovereignty.

People’s Choice winner

Ohneganos Let's A Talk Water

Ohneganos Let’s Talk Water

The video podcast “Ohneganos Let’s Talk Water” was co-created as a response to COVID-19 to engage Indigenous communities and disseminate research findings by facilitating meaningful discussion about water issues and climate change. The podcast creates a dialogue between multiple sectors with an emphasis on developing youth leadership. We share digital stories, facilitate experiential learning and conduct interviews to translate western scientific research in an accessible and inclusive way.

Youth Prize winner

Movers And Shakers Finalist

Movers and Shakers Program

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the lives of youth, and our Movers & Shakers program was created as a direct response to this. Movers & Shakers is a virtual program lead by Shake Up the Establishment, in which youth around Ontario can learn about, engage with, and take action on the climate crisis. This year’s program will run from June to September and showcase free curated workshops and activities on topics such as the future of work, creating safe spaces, and mobilizing virtually.

Other Future Ground Prize Finalists

Ajashki – Means Soil in Algonquin Language
Bike Brigade
Come Grow and Play
MealCare Guelph
Milky Way Garden and Climate Hub
Oasis Food Hub Project
Outdoor Learning Project
Rural Urban Indigenous Faming Allies Now!
Small Homes, Big Community Heart
The Pandemic & Plastic: Tracking PPE Litter
Tree Planting with OYEP

Jury Members

Adria Vasil

Adria Vasil

Adria Vasil is a Canadian environmental journalist and the author of the bestselling Ecoholic book series. She’s currently the managing editor of Corporate Knights sustainable business magazine, which is circulated in the Globe & Mail and Washington Post. She lives in the east end of Toronto with her spouse and her rescue cat, Ziggy.

Allie Rougeot

Allie Rougeot

Aliénor (Allie) Rougeot has been a human rights advocate since a very young age, focusing on climate justice since high school. She co-founded the group Fridays for Future Toronto and, with her co-organizers, she led the large youth climate strikes in late 2019. She is a public speaker and workshop leader, using these opportunities to raise awareness on the urgency of the climate crisis, discuss the solutions that are available to us as a society and empower others to join the fight. She studies Economics and Public Policy at University of Toronto.

Photo credit: Joshua Best

Benjamin Von Wong

Benjamin Von Wong

Benjamin Von Wong’s work lies at the intersection of fantasy and photography and combines everyday objects with shocking statistics. It has attracted the attention of corporations, like Starbucks, Dell, and Nike and has generated over 100 million views for causes like ocean plastics, electronic waste, and fashion pollution. Most recently, he was named one of Adweek’s 11 content branded masterminds.

He is also the host of the Impact Everywhere Podcast.

Carrie Tai

Carrie Tai

Carrie Tai is a Professional Engineer (P. Eng.) with over 25 years as a technical consultant and project manager in the IT sector. She also has experience in business process and improvement and strategic planning. Carrie is Co-founder, and Board Chair of Neighbours for the Planet, is on the Advisory Committee for the Community Energy and Emissions Plan, Richmond Hill, and a Climate Reality Leader.

Charlie Bernardi

Charles Bernardi

Charles Bernardi is the Senior Sustainability Advisor at Desjardins Group and loves helping people and businesses assess their impact on society to discover positive opportunities that stem from it. He has spent the entirety of his career in the financial industry, gaining experiences in areas such as ESG integration, private equity, and responsible supply chains. While championing sustainability projects is his primary job function, Charles also enjoys cooking (but not following recipes) and creating things out of clay.

Cheryl Pretty

Cheryl Pretty-Gaspar

With a background in sports medicine and natural health products Cheryl has been involved with a variety of organizations over the past 20 years with a focus for enriching healthier lives.  During the 10 years Cheryl has been with Nature’s Way Canada she has held a variety of roles including most recently leading a sales team supporting retailers across Canada.  Cheryl is passionate about the science behind natural health products and how they can dramatically impact our lives.  Commitment to the environment and sustainability of any organization is important to Cheryl and it’s a big part of the appreciation and sense of pride working for Nature’s Way.

Cheryl lives in Waterdown, ON with her family and is active in her community with her children’s school programs and organizations such as the Bruce Trail Conservancy.

Jayce Chiblow

Jayce Chiblow

Jayce Chiblow (she/her) is an Anishinaabe kwe from Garden River First Nation, Ontario. She has a Bachelor of Science degree with a focus on Biology and a Master of Environmental Studies degree. Jayce’s Masters research was conducted in her community where she brought together youth, community leaders, and knowledge keepers in a workshop-style gathering focused on climate action through an Indigenous food sovereignty approach. She has been working for Indigenous Climate Action as the Toolkit Training Lead and also the Project Coordinator for the Indigenous Environmental Justice Project housed at York University. 

Jimson Bienenstock

Jimson Bienenstock

Jimson’s drive has kept him at the cutting edge of the global food and beverage scene. He is passionate about traditional food growing and preparation, ecological sustainability, and food security.

In France, he had a life-changing experience with Papi Gobinaud at Listrac Haut Medoc in Bordeaux. He realized winemaking was about growing natural grapes that reflect the terroir – and the winemakers are to liberate them by expressing those characters in the wine.

He launched HotBlack Coffee, winning international acclaim – encouraging old-school service and community sociability.

Mike Layton

Mike Layton

Mike Layton is the City Councillor for Ward 11, University-Rosedale in Toronto.

As Councillor, Mike has worked tirelessly to protect and improve City services that people depend on, and to preserve the diverse character of the city’s neighbourhoods. He has been a strong voice on City Council to make Toronto a world leader in the fight against climate change and is the Chair of the Aboriginal Affairs Committee. He has also championed building new affordable housing, investments in arts and culture, green projects, and better public transit and cycling infrastructure.

Muska Sadat

Muska Sadat

Muska Sadat is a 15 year old Afghan-Canadian based in so-called Brampton, Ontario, on the territories of the Mississauguas of the Credit. She organizes with Climate Strike Canada, Extinction Rebellion Youth Ontario, and is currently working with Climate Live Canada, a campaign to unite the climate movement and music scene and bring wider public attention to the climate crisis ahead of the COP26 international climate conference in November 2021.

Robert Crocker

Robert Crocker

Robert Crocker is the former Head of Canadian and World Studies at Streetsville Secondary School in Mississauga. From 1977 to 2012, he taught history and other subjects in Goderich, Ontario, the Bahamas and Mississauga. In retirement, he has served as a trustee with the Peel District School Board from 2014 to the present. Pre-pandemic, he volunteered with the food bank at Eden Food for Change.

Yannick Beaudoin

Yannick Beaudoin

Yannick Beaudoin is a senior economist and Director-General for Ontario and Northern Canada with the David Suzuki Foundation. He brings an ‘economics for transition’ lens to the Foundation aimed at helping to enable a socially thriving and ecologically sustainable Canada. He applies art of change and participatory social processes to a variety of themes that include: adaptation to uncertain climate futures, embedding of local, traditional and indigenous knowledge in policy-, decision- and choice-making, promoting a transition to a sustainable relationship between society and Nature. From his decade with the United Nations to his return to Canada in 2018, he has been facilitating conversations around the world, highlighting various solution pathways towards a well-being centric, #beyondGDP economic system.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • The David Suzuki Foundation believes that empowering people in Canada to be environmental leaders in their communities is key to building a better tomorrow. Sharing stories of inspiration helps motivate others to act. With this contest, we hope to help mobilize environmental leaders and create meaningful change, starting at the community level.

    This spring, the contest returns for a seventh edition in Quebec, and we are excited to announce that it will attain new heights with the launch of the Future Ground Prize in Ontario!

  • No, there is no financial obligation or financial requirement to participate.

  • Register online here: Quebec (for the Prix Demain le Québec) and Ontario.

  • Initiatives by any citizen groups in Quebec and Ontario aimed at concrete and positive action to accelerate community ecological transition are eligible.

    Projects must be in progress at the contest start date, with actions already completed and with strong capacity for mobilization. Please note that businesses or for-profit organizations are not eligible to participate.

    For more information, please refer to our rules and regulations.

  • Unfortunately, the contest is only available in Ontario and Quebec, but we hope to launch across Canada soon!

  • To apply, you must be part of a group initiative. If you are inspired to join a group or project, you can connect with other leaders in your community. Consider joining the Future Ground Network (across Canada) or the Réseau Demain le Québec (in Quebec)!

  • There are three Future Ground Prizes, including a Grand Prize (chosen by our jury), a People’s Choice Prize (selected by voting) and a Youth Prize (selected by voting).

    • Grand Prize (jury): win $5,000 offered by the Desjardins Group, a private virtual meeting with David Suzuki and an invitation to present to David at a virtual event in June.
    • People’s Choice Prize (by voting): win $2,500 offered by the Desjardins Group and attend our virtual event in June where finalists present their projects to David Suzuki and the public.
    • Youth Prize (by voting): win $2,500 offered by the Desjardins Group and an invitation to a virtual event in June where finalists present their projects to David Suzuki.
  • Applicants can only win one award. If your project wins both the Grand (jury) and People’s Choice awards, you will only receive the jury prize. In such a case, the People’s Choice Prize would go to the project with the second-highest vote count.

  • In recent years, young people have helped the global environmental movement reach unprecedented recognition and momentum. We hope to support these inspiring efforts and enable today’s young people to do even more. While youth are not eligible to win the Grand Prize, with the Youth Prize, we ensure that at least one youth initiative is celebrated each year.

  • We know it will be difficult to determine only 15 finalists from all the eligible projects in Ontario and Quebec, but if you want to increase your chances, please follow these essential criteria. A project must:

    • be already in progress at the start date of the contest with actions already completed.
    • have a concrete positive impact on the environment and within your community.
    • be sustainable: the initiative is already making an impact and you already have well-established plans for the next steps.
    • have a strong capacity for mobilization.

    For more information, please refer to our rules and regulations.

  • We carefully selected diverse juries for both provinces to represent as many people and communities from throughout Ontario and Quebec as possible. From artists and youth to Indigenous community leaders and media representatives, jury members will bring a broad range of perspectives in choosing our finalists and winners. Visit the Future Ground Prize and Prix Demain jury. 

  • If there is a tie with the jury decision, the juror representative from the David Suzuki Foundation will make the final decision.

  • If you previously entered but did not win, you can enter again by registering this year from April 6 to 26. 

    However, if you have already won in previous years, you can no longer participate. 

  • No, people who are working on David Suzuki Foundation programs or projects cannot apply, but people in the Future Ground Network and Réseau Demain le Québec can apply.