Throughout what we call “Salmon Nation,” a bioregion defined by the historic range of wild Pacific salmon, from the Salinas River in California, north to the Yukon River in Alaska, there are extraordinary leaders and entrepreneurs working on regenerative projects that benefit the lands, waters, and people of the bioregion.
They are growing food in ways that heal the land, protecting and restoring ecosystems for future generations, building resilient communities, educating our youth, developing innovative technology, transforming systems and governance, and preserving traditional wisdom.
The goal of The Edge Prize is to identify these leaders, called “Edgewalkers,” bring them together to discover each other as collaborative peers, offer them resources and support, and amplify their stories to grow their work.
In 2023, the inaugural Edge Prize convened a community of 130 Edgewalkers who gathered online and in-person to meet collaborators and mentors committed to building a positive future across Salmon Nation.
The culmination of The Edge Prize invited the Edgewalkers to create short videos of their work, for which the most impactful, innovative, and inspiring were awarded, by a vote of the Edgewalkers, and the Edge Prize team, prize money.
The awards include the “Edge Prize”, a grand prize of $20,000 USD, and ten additional $5,000 prizes in specific categories of regenerative work. Beyond this, the Edgewalkers also collaboratively allocated amongst themselves a shared pool of $20,000. Additionally, there were Special Honorees for each prize category, who will be receiving ongoing recognition and support.
All of these videos are publicly visible.
By sharing these videos in public, we are building an open-source library of “what’s working” to help scale and accelerate regenerative practices in Salmon Nation and beyond.
These three criteria (at right) were used to choose prize winners and special honorees.
Winners of The Edge Prize for 2023 will be announced soon.
Check out all the projects Edgewalkers submitted for the Edge Prize. Many have links to learn more and contribute to the project.
We live in Salmon Nation, a beautiful, rich, and diverse bioregion. Yet here and beyond, we face the challenges of climate change and cascading system failures that accelerate economic inequality, the erosion of healthy communities, and ecological collapse. You know this, because you’ve seen it.
But there is so much to be hopeful about. That’s why you’re here. That’s why you’re reading this. Because you’re doing something, and you know it’s working. Your work contributes to healthy people, healthy communities, and healthy land. You’re an Edgewalker. In the edges — both rural and urban — anything is possible.
There is no time to lose in the search for how to transition to a way of living life in balance with the Earth. We need to seed new patterns across essential services: energy, health, food, water, education, manufacturing, and beyond.
The most significant challenge of our time is to move from humanity being a net destructive force on the planet to becoming stewards of life’s balance. It will take all of us. If we don't succeed, we won’t have a habitable planet.
But there’s good news: With a connected network of innovators, entrepreneurs, and local leaders, we can share knowledge, wisdom and best practices faster than ever before. Ancestral and Indigenous knowledge of land and resource stewardship, cultural practices that help create generosity and collaboration at scale, as well as cutting edge technology — distributed ledgers, remote sensing, AI, robotics, advanced manufacturing, advances in renewable energy, satellite measurement — can all be brought together. The patterns we need to replicate are all around us.
We need to stop soil degradation, draw down carbon, learn to collaborate and share resources more effectively, and protect biodiversity — all at a scale that is almost beyond comprehension. Neither markets nor governments have ever coordinated anything like what is needed, and their antiquated structures are partly to blame for the mess we're in. The challenge is fundamentally new, and the way through is unknown.
The purpose of the Edge Prize is to highlight entrepreneurs working on important solutions, to spread the stories of how humanity can be a net benefit to the planet, and to help each other level up, working in harmony with local ecosystems, resulting in natural, diverse abundance — thriving at every scale.
Edgewalkers have the opportunity to participate in workshops designed to help scale and replicate their initiatives, on how to manage their PR, and how to get traction with marketing, fundraising, and technology - and more.
Partner organizations and mentors currently include Tom Chi of At One Ventures, Lonny Grafman of Humboldt State University, Phoebe Tickell of Moral Imaginations, Buckminster Fuller Institute, Terran Collective, and more. If you’d like to learn about being a mentor or signing on as a Partner, please email us at email@example.com
The Edge Prize is your opportunity to share what works, big or small, and find the others who want to join you, fund you, learn from you, or replicate your efforts locally. This is not a business plan competition. This is not a “pitch” competition. It’s not really a contest at all! This is about sharing what you’re already doing, why it’s working, and why it gives you hope.
We want to hear from anyone in Salmon Nation working on something that has a positive impact in your community. With additional resources and a supportive network, you know this solution could benefit more communities all over the bioregion and beyond.
We are looking for astonishingly creative ways that you are solving local challenges and contributing to your local landscape. We are particularly interested in traditional, open-source, or other non-proprietary expressions. While the prize is open to all domains, we will prioritize regenerative solutions in the following areas:
We believe in Edges. The centers are where the power structures of yesterday sit. The solutions to the problems we face today will come from Edges.
Edges are where small-scale, off-grid solar originated; where permaculture and hydroponics developed; where microcredit was invented; fermentation advanced; current best practices in birth perfected; compounds for cancer treatment found; where mobile payments, Linux and the Internet originated; and where many other foundational innovations began. We believe that innovations from the Edges can help show us new possibilities for healthy communities everywhere.
Criteria for Applications
We invite applications from people in Salmon Nation who are stewarding a regenerative project, enterprise, innovation, or solution. By “regenerative,” we mean that it improves the health of people, the planet, and the economy.
We ask applicants to share with us the reasons they feel their project is having a positive impact. We welcome all kinds of indicators of the impact you are having – quantitative or qualitative.
- Projects coming from or benefitting communities in California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Yukon, or Alaska
- Projects touching one or more of the impact areas outlined: Food & Agriculture, Community Finance & Development, Innovation & Technology, Ecosystem Restoration & Regeneration, Systems & Governance, Youth Engagement, Culture & Education, Community Resilience, Storytelling & Knowledge Weaving
- Projects that are currently demonstrating a net benefit for the systems they touch, including tangible improvements in community, ecological, and economic wellbeing
- Projects based on traditional or Indigenous knowledge and approaches
- Projects that are open-source, non-proprietary, or make use of public domain intellectual property so that solutions can be shared openly
- Projects that could be replicated in other parts of Salmon Nation and beyond
This is not a definitive list. Our goal is to invite all sincere stewards of the land, sea, forests, and people into the community of Edgewalkers.
Examples projects include: Social enterprises, new community financing models for shared infrastructure, habitat restoration for keystone species, new models of community governance, agricultural practices to build healthy soil, zoning innovations to reshape the built environment, programs to treat trauma and substance abuse, schools to teach traditional and Indigenous knowledge, and any other way communities are finding to live in step with each other and natural systems.
People whose projects have an impact in California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Yukon or Alaska, are invited to apply or be nominated to join the Edgewalker Community & receive consideration for prizes. Salmon Nation touches all of these places, encompassing the watersheds where Pacific Salmon run or would run if unhindered. This keystone species is a marker of ecological health, and a force of nature uniting the interests of over 40 million human inhabitants.
Everyone is invited to offer submissions. Many people will also be invited to do so by elders and leaders in their own communities. Additionally, if you know of an Edgewalker in your community that should be included, but who would never apply for something like this, you may submit a first-round application on their behalf.
After applications are submitted, the Salmon Nation Trust, the Trustees, and subject matter expert judges will select “Edgewalkers,” whose initiatives they believe best represent the purpose, vision, and values of the Salmon Nation Trust.
These Edgewalkers will be invited to join a network where they will connect with mentors, storytelling experts, and collaborators for a series of workshops alongside peer mutual support.
For a chance at earning Prize money, Edgewalkers are invited to submit a Second Round Application. The cornerstone of this application is a video story of yourself, your project, and your community. These videos will be a gift to the community: they will be publicly visible, forming an open-source library of regenerative practices in the Salmon Nation Bioregion.
Salmon Nation Trust will select one applicant to receive the $20,000 Trustee’s Prize, for the projects selected by the Trustees and Partners of Salmon Nation Trust.
There are nine prize categories of $5,000 each that the Edgewalkers will vote on to recognize to the diverse projects across our community.
To cultivate a dynamic of reciprocity, Edgewalkers who participate in the Second Round will be eligible to distribute cash gifts to their fellow community members from a pool of $20,000.
We invite members of the public to financially contribute to any project. All Edgewalker projects will be publicly visible on Hylo, and will be eligible for financial contributions from the broader public.
We will encourage our friends, colleagues and supporters to join in and encourage you to do the same. Financial support offered in this way will be delivered to the selected participants, and is a US 501c3 tax deductible donation. Donations can be made to our host organization The Magic Canoe in USD, CAD, and digital currencies.
The Edge Prize will grow and evolve in unexpected ways. There are several ways to shape the emergence of this potent community.
For 2023, Salmon Nation Trust seeded each prize pool with funding. Going forward, organizations and individuals who want to channel resources toward impactful projects in the Salmon Nation bioregion may make a tax-deductible donation to fund a prize for 2024.
This is an unparalleled opportunity to channel resources to regenerative projects with high impact. The Edge Prize team is seeking partner organizations to sponsor and co-create additional prize categories, to make the most of this opportunity and help our partners connect with projects in their areas of interest.
We are inviting elders and leaders to share their wisdom and insights with the community of Edgewalkers. Your guidance will support the growth of projects with great potential for change throughout the Salmon Nation bioregion. Those who join the community of Edgewalkers as teachers will have the rare opportunity to witness what’s most alive at the edges and contribute to reweaving the fabric of our communities and landscapes.
If you’d like to explore signing on as a partner or mentor, please email us:
Pandora Thomas is a passionate global citizen who works as a caregiver, teacher, farmer, designer and speaker. Her work emphasizes the benefits of applying ecological principles to social design and reconnecting humans to our non-human kin.
She is the co-founder of the Black Permaculture Network, and the EARTHseed Permaculture Center and Farm, the first Afro Indigenous permaculture farm in Sonoma County. EARTHseed’s farming and centers programming will elevate the earth stewarding contributions and legacy of peoples of African ancestry throughout the Diaspora.
She is also currently a co-owner of the collectively run permaculture design firm The Urban Permaculture Institute and a Senior Climate Innovation Fellow with the Movement Strategy Centers Climate Innovation Team.
A former Marine Corps officer and adjunct instructor of leadership and conflict resolution at University of San Diego, Ryan founded Fleet Development to bring renewable energy benefits to affordable housing. This sector of federally subsidized low-income housing has been left behind in the clean energy transition because of institutionalized obstacles preventing easy access to solar power. Pulling from past experiences and problem solving techniques, Fleet Development has demonstrated how affordable housing can connect with rooftop and community solar providing both financial and ecological benefits, for tenants, property managers, and taxpayers. Fleet's innovative projects are breaching obstacles from the ground up, but also serve as successful examples cited in our policy efforts focused on changing the status quo for federally assisted housing.
Arzeena Hamir and her husband Neil own Amara Farm, a 26-acre certified organic farm in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. The farm grows over 40 different fruits and vegetables and primarily sells through direct markets via their local farmers market and a CSA program.
The couple decided early on to invest in alternative energy and installed a geothermal heating system for their home and in 2019 installed a 10KW solar array. On the farm, they have tried to limit tillage with the use of overwintering silage tarps and diversifying into more perennial crops to sequester more carbon. In 2018 Arzeena was elected the Board of the Comox Valley Regional District where she sits as Vice Chair.
Anna Hoover is a Norwegian/Unangax filmmaker, Anna Hoover lives in Alaska, and has spent her summers in salmon territory on the waters of Bristol Bay.
Anna's work has long been connected to the environment and involved in the community. Her creative vision captures the knowledge base of Indigenous people from a first-hand experience, depicted beautifully and with deep meaning. A private pilot and commercial salmon fisher, Hoover lives for challenge and adventure and does not shy away from jobs that require a little elbow grease.
Successful applications might:
Grow healthy agroforestry systems
Increase local share of value add
Shorten supply chains
Build soil health and biodiversity
Reduce (non-local) inputs
Reduce energy or shifts energy to local, renewable sources
Retains or increases critical habitats
Successful applications might:
• Increase local ownership, design and funding
• Improve labor conditions and job opportunities
• Increase regional resiliency and shorten supply chains
• Keep value in local economies
Successful applications might:
• create opportunities for historically marginalized folks in urban and rural spaces to connect, learn, heal and thrive
For projects run by young people, or projects that specifically engage/benefit youth around local and bioregional issues, or both
For projects showing exceptional creativity in addressing local challenges using models and/or technology and infrastructure that could be replicated in communities within Salmon Nation and beyond.
Successful applications might include:
• Natural habitat protection
• Carbon sequestration
• Reintroduction of native species
• Indigenous land stewardship
For projects creating new systems, new governance structures, and/or working with multi stakeholders across sectors. Successful applications might address:
• Conflict resolution
• Group decision-making
• Community participation in resource allocation
• Building healthy organizational culture
• Systems of reciprocity
• Facilitating discussions in ways that embody trust, consent, and equity
For projects using different forms of storytelling, knowledge sharing and knowledge weaving as a primary method of activating positive outcomes for communities and their bioregions.
Successful applications might provide:
• Teaching and educational methods
• Storytelling across mediums
• Professional skills & training
• Place-based learning and expression
• Land reclamation & public access tools
• Culture and language revitalization instruction
Tom Chi has worked in a wide range of roles from astrophysical researcher to Fortune 500 consultant to corporate executive developing new hardware/software products and services. He's played a significant role in established projects with global reach (Microsoft Outlook, Yahoo Search), and scaled new projects from conception to significance (Yahoo Answers from 0 to 90 million users).
Tom has pioneered and practiced a unique approach to rapid prototyping, visioning, and leadership that can jumpstart innovative new ideas as well as move large organizations at unprecedented speeds. These approaches have benefitted over a dozen industry-leading companies. He most recently served as head of product experience at Google X developing technology such as Google Glass and Google's self-driving cars.
As the founder of At One Ventures, his current focus is delving into human development issues with social entrepreneurs around the globe, rebooting the fundamental frameworks of entrepreneurship itself, and teaching a limited number of workshops to select organizations.
Phoebe is a biologist and systems thinker developing methodologies and approaches suited for a better world. She works across multiple societal contexts applying a complexity and systems thinking lens and has worked in organisational design, advised government, the education sector and the food and farming sector. Until 2021 she was working in philanthropy at The National Lottery Community Fund to implement systems-thinking approaches to funding and and leading insight and learning in the £12.5 million Digital Fund.
Phoebe has been a scientist, educator and systems entrepreneur. Since the age of 22, she has co-founded a series of organisations dedicated to systems change via innovative approaches. She has a first class degree in Biological Natural Sciences from Cambridge University, and she brings this training in understanding biological networks and systems thinking into governance, organisational structures, narratives and imagination.
Lonny Grafman is an Instructor of Environmental Resources Engineering and Appropriate Technology at Humboldt State University; the founder of the Practivistas full immersion, abroad, resilient community technology program; the Advisor and Project Manager (and at times fundraiser) for the epi-apocalyptic city art projects Waterpod, Flock House, WetLand, and Swale; the director of the AWEsome Business Competition for groups working on Agriculture, Water and Energy in Northern California; and the Founder and President of the Appropedia Foundation, sharing knowledge to build rich, sustainable lives.
Lonny has taught university courses in six countries and presented in dozens more. He has worked, and led teams, on hundreds of domestic and international projects across a broad spectrum of sustainability – from solar power to improved cookstoves, from micro-hydro power to rainwater catchment, from earthen construction to plastic bottle schoolrooms. Throughout all these technology implementations, he has found the most vital component to be community.
His first books, To Catch the Rain and Atrapando la lluvia, cover inspiring stories of communities coming together to catch their own rain, and how you can do it too.
Miles G. Richardson O.C. is a citizen of the Haida Nation and Canada. He grew up among his people on Haida Gwaii and in 1979 received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Victoria. From 1984 to 1996, he served as President of the Council of Haida Nation.
Richardson was a member of the British Columbia Task Force, making recommendations to the Government of British Columbia and First Nations in British Columbia on how the three parties could begin negotiations to build a new relationship.
From 1991 to 1993, Richardson was a member of the First Nations Summit Task Group, an executive body representing First Nations in British Columbia. Richardson is one of the original members of the David Suzuki Foundation and has been a board member since 1992.
In October 1995, Mr. Richardson was appointed as a Commissioner to the BC Treaty Commission. He was elected to a second term in April 1997. In November 1998, he was chosen as Chief Commissioner by agreement of Canada, BC and the First Nations Summit for a three-year term and was reappointed in November 2001.
In 2007, Richardson was named an Officer of the Order of Canada. In December 2016, Mr. Richardson was appointed to the New Relationship Trust Board of Directors. Currently, he operates his own business advisory service and is the Director of the National Consortium for Indigenous Economic Development at the University of Victoria.
Hunter is President and founder of Natural Capitalism Solutions and co-creator of the “Natural Capitalism” concept.
Named Millennium TIME Magazine Hero of the Planet, Hunter Lovins was awarded the 2008 Sustainability Pioneer Prize by the European financial community for her 45 years of work framing the sustainability movement, setting forth the business case for energy efficiency, renewable energy and resource productivity and climate protection.
A social entrepreneur, she is a founding mentor for the Unreasonable Institute, and consults to large corporations, small businesses, communities, and dozens of nations around the world.
A founding professor at Bard MBA and several other graduate programs, she was named the “green business icon” by Newsweek Magazine.
Co-founder of Tree People, she served as its Assistant Director for 6 years. She also co-founded Rocky Mountain Institute, which she led for 20 years as CEO.
Author of hundreds of papers and 16 books, including the landmark work, Natural Capitalism, Ms. Lovins travels the world, lecturing at such venues as the World Economic Forum, the UN, TED and many others. Her private and public sector clients include Unilever, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Wal-Mart, Royal Dutch/Shell, the International Finance Corporation, and the governments of Afghanistan, Australia, Bhutan, Canada, Honduras, Jamaica, Germany, New Zealand, Sweden, the US and many more.
For many years a firefighter and EMT, she is one of the creators of the field of sustainability and regeneration. Her 1981 book Brittle Power remains one of the best treatments of the topic of resilience. Her book, The Way Out: Kickstarting Capitalism to Save Our Economic Ass won the Atlas Award. Her book, Creating a Lean and Green Business System, won the Shingo Prize. Her most recent book, A Finer Future: Creating an Economy in Service to Life won a Nautilus Award.
Gregory is co-founder and co-Chief Regeneration Officer of Regen Network. Regen Network is land ecological commons management platform and the backbone for a new approach to ecosystem service markets based on verified ecological state.
Gregory Landua, co-author of the pioneering book, Regenerative Enterprise, the Levels of Regenerative Agriculture Whitepaper, and the Regen Network Whitepaper. He is the co-founder and former CEO of Terra Genesis International. Terra Genesis International (TGI) is now lead by a dynamic global team of Permaculture and Regenerative Agriculture and Business practitioners and leaders working to support leading companies to transform their negative impact into regenerative effects, and leading cutting edge agro-forestry business planning around the world. Gregory is dedicated full time to launching Regen Network and raising his family.
Gregory has studied marine and terrestrial ecology and evolutionary biology in the Galapagos Islands, translated for Amazonian rainforest guides, fought wildfires in the wilderness of Alaska, lived in established ecovillages, founded a successful work-live cooperative, and studied the nuances of ecology and ethics. Gregory has B.S. in Environmental Science and Ethics from Oregon State University, and a M.Sc in Regenerative Entrepreneurship and Design from Gaia University.
Gregory embraces the practical aspects of regenerative agriculture design by being a tropical agroforestry farm owner and manager, and for many years worked to assist farms and communities in a variety of climate zones as a permaculture designer.
M. Rako Fabionar is a consultant, facilitator, and healer who creates learning environments for people to experience deeper connection, insight, and well-being. He is sought after for his powerful presence and capacity to support folks during times of transition. Rako has created transformative programs and equity focused initiatives for businesses, universities, retreat centers, and NGOs for twenty years. He has trained social entrepreneurs, cultural workers, activists, spiritual teachers, and political leaders within the USA, Central America, UK, and Middle East. Rako has also worked closely with leadership from Google, Dignity Health, Adobe, Facebook, Skywalker Ranch, Impact Hub, IONS, and Climate Action Network International. Rako’s graduate studies focused on multi-generational social change. He also brings to his work the insights from his professional training in organizational design, and years of spiritual practice, including initiation into two indigenous lineage traditions.