Kraft Foods' Planters brand wants to recognize American peanut farmers who are implementing sustainable practices and making positive social changes in their communities.
Through April 15, the Northfield, Ill.-based company is accepting nominations for the inaugural "Naturally Remarkable Planters Awards." Entries will be judged on three key criteria: Sustainability, effectiveness and originality.
Nomination applications are available at a dedicated Web site, www.PlantersAwards.com. Planters is also promoting the contest on its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/mrpeanut.
The award is collaboration between Planters, the National Peanut Board and peanut shellers. A panel of judges from the peanut industry -- including agriculture academics and representatives from the National Peanut Board and USDA, will select three regional award winners -- representing the Southeast, Virginia-Carolinas and the Southwest.
Each of the three winners will receive a three-day trip to New York City for themselves and up to three family members to attend an award ceremony in August. They will also receive a donation of $10,000 in their name toward a project to revitalize community land in the location of their choice.
The awards are part of the Planters "Naturally Remarkable" tour, which kicked off in February 2011 and encourages Americans to grow stronger communities through service and conservation. The Planters Nutmobile, which is touring the country, runs on biodiesel, has solar panels and has a floor made out of reclaimed wood from an 1840s barn.
Planters is turning unused land into Planters Groves, which are peanut-shaped, recreational spaces designed by renowned landscape architect Ken Smith. The public spaces are "part urban revitalization, part art," according to the company, and will be entirely built by and for local communities led by The Corps Network's national network of 30,000 young men and women engaged in service and conservation work.
Four Planters Groves are planned for New Orleans, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and New York City. The award ceremony for the three winners of the Planters awards will take place at the NYC Planters Grove.
Planters has made investments in greening their facilities through energy and water conservation, as well as waste reduction. The company is also an active member of the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform, a project created by the food industry to advance sustainable farming.
Kraft also supports "precision agriculture," a method of evaluating crop fields to improve the way fertilizer is used and reduce nitrogen runoff. Peanuts do their own part to give back to the planet by enriching the soil with nitrogen as they grow, allowing farmers to use less fertilizer for other crops planted in the same plot.