On the Crow

THE HEADWATERS OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER are located in rural Minnesota, a sparsely populated landscape dotted with forests and small lakes. As you might imagine, the water quality on the river here is fairly pristine. One hundred miles later—when it intersects with the Crow River—everything falls apart.

What happens on Minnesota’s Crow River is a story that mixes good intentions, unsound practices, and benign neglect in equal measure, yet it isn’t that unique. In fact, the story repeats itself on every tributary feeding into the Mississippi River, from its headwaters down to Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico.

By starting at the place where the Mississippi River’s troubles begin, learning how the Crow became polluted, and what people are now doing about it, we can inspire others to recognize that we all live in a watershed, and that our actions not only impact water quality, the lives of people, and ecosystem health where we live, but places miles away, and in the case of the Crow, as far off as the Gulf of Mexico.

To tell the Crow’s story, we’ve embarked on a two-year journey set on the river. Our team is creating short films, podcasts, illustrations, and information artworks that focus on seven key themes. Each depicts a key aspect of life on the river, creates awareness of problems faced by the watershed and shows potential solutions that might transform specific destructive activities into regenerative practices that benefit both people and the environment.

When taken together, these stories present an integrative approach to addressing future water challenges in a single dramatic arc, one that depicts the vital role waterways play and our responsibility in stewarding these valuable resources.

Our process begins by identifying agents of change, then capturing their practices and principles with information artworks that use their own words to show who and what change looks like.

Growing Organic

GROWING ORGANIC IS A SHORT FILM SERIES produced by the Lexicon of Sustainability, with guidance and support from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

By illuminating the core principles that define sustainable agriculture, the series helps farmers adapt more sustainable practices and shows consumers how they can support a food system in line with their own values. Along the way, they learn to pay closer attention to how they eat, what they buy, and where their responsibility begins for creating a healthier, safer food system in America. Additional films in the Growing organic series include:

Know Your Food

KNOW YOUR FOOD is an award’winning short film series which introduces viewers to the terms and principles that enable them to be more responsible, sustainably-minded consumers. For this series, we’ve worked closely with hundreds of thought leaders from every aspect of our food system to explain the real cost of cheap food, we’ve explored concepts like GMO and Organic, and we have discovered solutions to such challenges as food waste and seafood fraud. By learning these key principles, consumers can do their part to fix our food system.

Filmmakers Douglas Gayeton and Laura Howard-Gayeton have turned their pioneering method of mixing hand-written text with photo collage into a stunning collection of short films that mix animation by Pier Giorgio Provenzano with live action interviews with food producers from across the country. Watch them below.

Everything is Water

AN ANIMATED SERIES WITH INDUSTRY EXPERTS on subjects ranging from water footprints to clean  drinking water, with funding provided by a variety of foundations and public institutions.

Our films

THE LEXICON’S TEAM OF FILMMAKERS blend hand-drawn animation, photographic stills, video interviews, and drone videography to help explain sustainable solutions to the world’s most complex (and hard to explain) challenges. They bring their work to a larger audience through frequent collaborations with television networks, university researchers, foundations, NGOs, like-minded companies and other storytellers. Propose new projects to The Lexicon, go here.

Join a bold, new online community for anyone who cares about building more resilient, inclusive food systems.

Contact us

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Eligibility, Submission Terms and Conditions


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 Lab” led by The Lexicon’s Douglas Gayeton. 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. 40 participants will be selected and allowed to participate in the Storytelling Lab and the global storytelling 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 Storytelling Lab 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 Acceptance Form. If a potential participant fails to comply with these official rules, that potential participant 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 to receive a free GoPro Camera. The selections will be made based on the location, principle, practice covered and evaluations from the Greener Blue judging team who will conduct evaluations through the weeklong webinar for participation and commitment. The GoPro Cameras will be used to film their stories and will be theirs to keep. Terms and conditions will be published the week of the Storytelling Lab and explained in the first session. Incidental expenses and all other costs and expenses which are not specifically listed in these Official Rules but which may be associated with the acceptance, receipt and use of the Storytelling Lab and the camera are solely the responsibility of the respective participants and are not covered by The Lexicon or any of the A Greener Blue partners.

All participants who receive a Camera are required to sign an agreement allowing GoPro for a Cause, The Lexicon and GSSI to utilize the films for A Greener Blue and their promotional purposes. All participants will be required to an agreement to upload their footage into the shared drive of The Lexicon and make the stories, films and images available for The Lexicon and the promoting partners of A Greener Blue.

Additional Limitations

Selection and distribution of the camera is non-transferable. No substitution or cash equivalent of the cameras is granted. 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 the Official Rules, the selection and announcement of any selected participant, or the distribution of any equipment. 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 Lab 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.