The awards, sponsored by the Soil Association’s Duchy Originals Future Farming Programme, celebrate pioneering ideas in farming and growing across the UK. The award focuses on innovations that benefit the environment, health or animal welfare.

The awards are open to anyone involved in farming and growing, for example producers, scientists, farming consultants, designers, community groups, and engineers. The shortlisted nominees will be presenting to some of the most influential people in the field of sustainable agriculture today. A short list of innovators will be invited pitch their approach at the Soil Association’s Annual Conference in Swindon on the 9th October 2014.

Tom MacMillan, Soil Association director of innovation, said; “The Soil Association’s Innovation Awards celebrate agriculture’s dogged pioneers –people with the vision and persistence to see ideas through that will help farming and growing thrive in the face of climate change, resource pressures and changing public expectations. The awards were hugely inspiring last year and it is an extraordinary privilege to meet a number of farmers, growers and entrepreneurs who are leading the way in farming.”

The winner of the first Soil Association Innovation Awards in 2013 Natalie Davies, managing director of Ezee Tree Limited said, “Winning the Soil Association’s Innovation Award 2013 has been a massive boost to our business, not only the prize money which gave us a great cash injection but the positive PR and confidence the award gave people in our product. The award also gave the team a great morale boost, as it’s hard work developing a product from scratch and having to trial it for 4 years before you can launch, which we did in July 2013. I definitely recommend entering not only for the experience and chance to win but also for the contacts you will make.”

Innovation is at the heart of the work of the Soil Association. The Duchy Originals Future Farming Programme, delivered by the Soil Association, aims to boost innovation in organic and other low-input farming systems to deliver improved productivity and give environmental benefits.

The total prize fund is £3,000; the winning entry, decided by live voting at the Soil Association Annual Conference, will receive a £2,000 cash prize. The top three entries that receive the most votes will go through to the Tractor Factor public vote which will be decided by Waitrose customers through their weekly newspaper Waitrose Weekend. This winner will receive a £1,000 cash prize.

Entries are open until 26th August. More details on the Innovation Award and how to enter can be found on the Soil Association’s website.