Agrobiodiversity is the story of neglected, underutilized, minor, orphaned and forgotten crops (but not anymore).

Today, over half the world’s plant-based nutrition comes from just 3 crops: corn, wheat, and rice (it wasn’t always like that).

Photo by Robert Deluvio

Today, over half the world’s plant-based nutrition comes from just 3 crops: corn, wheat, and rice (it wasn’t always like that).

Photo by Robert Deluvio

The challenge: Since the 1900s, 75 percent of the world’s plant genetic diversity has been lost.
Farmers worldwide have increasingly abandoned traditional crops in favor of more genetically uniform, higher-yield varieties. This disturbing trend toward the intensive production of select crops—growing for yield instead of nutrition—has come at a cost. Global biodiversity is threatened. People across the globe now face malnourishment and the impacts of diet-related diseases. Can we change course before it’s too late?

The Solution: Growing for greater agrobiodiversity provides benefits for people and the environment.

Cultivating agrobiodiversity can improve local economies and environmental health. Communities that invest in agrobiodiversity reap the benefits of value-added goods, women empowerment, and increased local autonomy. Agrobiodiversity can also improve soil health, increase climate resilience, and restore ecosystems.
Forgotten. Neglected. Minor. Underutilized. Orphans. Regardless of their names, farmers across the globe are “reawakening” traditionally undervalued crops.
Over the past half-century, many abandoned crops have been reappraised as communities worldwide rediscover their power to combat hunger, respond to climate change, promote greater biodiversity, provide women with livelihoods, and support healthier and more secure food systems.

The Lexicon created Reawakened with guidance from dozens of companies, government agencies and international NGOs. Their skills range from providing research, crop science and plant breeding support (Crops for the Future, Bioversity International, CIAT, and Icrisat), insight on building and promoting seed banks and sound conservation practices to ensure biodiversity (Crop Trust and Food Forever), sharing cultural and culinary knowledge (Slow Food and Future Food Institute), and organizing farming communities and family farms across the globe (GFAR).

The Lexicon asked food systems experts to select the best examples of Reawakened Crops from across the globe.

They started with 25.

An international group of experts—including agronomists, soil scientists, and food systems NGOs—selected 25 Reawakened crops that are transforming global food systems by providing nutrient security, enhancing biodiversity, supporting local economies, and increased resilience to climate change.

Many agrobiodiversity benefits, like addressing climate change and malnutrition, overlap with UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals promote adequate nutrition, gender equality, equitable economic growth, land preservation, climate change resilience, and ending hunger for all. Agrobiodiversity creates progress towards all of these goals at the local level, where making change can have the most immediate impact.
Reawakened Storytelling Collective
The Reawakened Foods Collective gathers photographers, writers, filmmakers, illustrators and storytellers from around the globe to uncover the true meaning of biodiversity in our food systems and bridge the gap between traditional knowledge, science and society.
The Lexicon uses evidence-based storytelling, strategy, and mobilization to build movements that tackle our food systems’ greatest challenges.

Douglas Gayeton, Chief Lexicographer and Co-founder of The Lexicon, leads the Reawakened Global Storytelling Collective. He is an award-winning information architect, filmmaker, photographer, and writer who has created work at the boundaries of traditional and emerging media since the early 90’s. He directed the KNOW YOUR FOOD series for PBS and GROWING ORGANIC for USDA, and has authored two books, SLOW: Life in a Tuscan Town, and LOCAL: The New Face of Food & Farming in America.

Douglas is an award-winning information architect, filmmaker, photographer and writer.

He directed the KNOW YOUR FOOD series for PBS and GROWING ORGANIC for USDA, MOLOTOV ALVA for HBO, and has authored two books, SLOW: Life in a Tuscan Town, and LOCAL: The New Face of Food & Farming in America.

He is also one of Crop Trust’s Food Forever champions and a visiting professor in the Masters Program at Slow Food’s University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy.
Laura is a producer, farmer, entrepreneur and executive director of the Lexicon. She pioneered the art of multi-layered narrative approaches to film and video during her life as a commercials producer in Hollywood, then later moved to Northern California and founded the first goat milk ice company in the United States, LALOO’S.
Pier Giorgio is The Lexicon’s Head of Digital. Based near Bristol, England, his projects include short films for PBS, USDA, Warner Brothers, and Napster, as well as a feature-length documentary for HBO. He also produces short films for Sustainable Food Trust and GrowEatGather, which showcases British farmers and their role in producing sustainable food.
Alberto is co-director at the Reawakened Food Initiative. He is also a member of Green Brown Blue, the Food System Solutions Activator by The Lexicon, that gathers domain experts from across the globe to develop solutions to our food systems' greatest challenges. Since 2018 Alberto has been part of Almacube, the innovation Hub and Design Factory of the University of Bologna. Here he leads and coaches multidisciplinary teams of designers and innovators focused on food innovation and regenerative business models.

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Eligibility, Submission Terms and Conditions


The A Greener Blue Global Storytelling Initiative is sponsored by The Lexicon, a US based 501(c)(3) public charity.


Storytellers will join A Greener Blue Storytelling Collective to create stories for the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture with the FAO and its partner organizations. Members of the Collective will take part in a private online “Total Storytelling Masterclass” led by The Lexicon’s Douglas Gayeton and Alberto Miti. Upon completion of this online certificate program, members of the Collective will join seafood experts from around the globe in creating A Greener Blue Storytelling initiative.

Selection Process

All eligible entries received during the Submission Period will be gathered into a database at the end of the Submission Period. All participants will be allowed to participate to the masterclass and the global storytellin initiative. Receivers of the cameras will be selected based on the strength of their answers to the application form, their ability to work with others, their curriculum/portfolio and the commitment shown during the masterclass to champion the stories of seafood producers across the global value chain. If a potential selected applicant cannot be reached by the team of the Initiative within a week (5 working days), using the contact information provided at the time of entry, or if the communication is returned as undeliverable, that potential participant shall forfeit. Upon the request of the Lexicon, the potential select participant may be required to return an Affidavit of Eligibility, Release and Prize Acceptance Form. If a potential winner fails to comply with these official rules, that potential winner will be disqualified.

Submission Requirements/Copyright

All submissions must be the entrant’s original work. Submissions must not infringe upon the trademark, copyright, moral rights, intellectual rights, or rights of privacy of any entity or person.

Participants will retain the copyrights to their work while also granting access to The Lexicon to share their contributions as part of A Greener Blue Global Storytelling Initiative.

Acceptance and GoPro Cameras

A selected group of applicants will be chosen based on their CV, portfolio and basing on the commitment shown during the masterclass to receive a GoPro Camera to film their stories. The attribution of this additional award will be determined by the Lexicon’s team. Terms and conditions may apply. Incidental expenses and all other costs and expenses which are not specifically listed as part of a prize in these Official Rules and which may be associated with the award, acceptance, receipt and use of the masterclass and the camera are solely the responsibility of the respective participants.

Receivers of the GoPro cameras agree to participate in all phases of the storytelling initiative and to follow the production and output delivery guidelines defined by The Lexicon team, under penalty of forfeiture from the initiative.

All receivers of the Camera are required to upload their footage in the shared drive and make them available for The Lexicon and the promoting partners of the initiative.

Additional Limitations

Selection and prize is non-transferable. No substitution or cash equivalent of the cameras is permitted. The Lexicon and its respective partners and representatives are not responsible for any typographical or other errors in the offer or administration of the Initiative, including, but not limited to, errors in any printing or posting or these Official Rules, the selection and announcement of any selected participant, or the distribution of any prize. Any attempt to damage the content or operation of this Initiative is unlawful and subject to possible legal action by The Lexicon. The Lexicon reserves the right to terminate, suspend or amend the Initiative, without notice, and for any reason, including, without limitation, if The Lexicon determines that the Contest cannot be conducted as planned or should a virus, bug, tampering or unauthorized intervention, technical failure or other cause beyond The Lexicon’s control corrupt the administration, security, fairness, integrity or proper play of the Contest. In the event any tampering or unauthorized intervention may have occurred, The Lexicon reserves the right to void suspect entries at issue.