Urban Beekeeper, Noni Leather Maker, and Yogurt Cup Clothes Designers Vie For Visionary Award


Stages of noni fruit photo by Wendy Cutler via Flickr

Just when awards season seem to be over, here comes the VISIONary Awards. Among the nominees there is an urban beekeeper, an organic Noni farmer, and an active wear company reusing trash bags and cell phones to create its clothing line. Along with Foodies and Entrepreneurs, Photographers makes up the somewhat random selection of categories for this deserving honor. I'm highlighting the more environmentally-conscious candidates among the nominees. If you decide who takes the award, you could share in the prizes. In the Foodie category, Steve Frailey of Hawaiian Health Ohana in Kaui started organic farming in the 1970s in California growing acres of pears, persimmons and veggies. Now he's focused on a noni fruit farm in Hawaii, eaten for its 165 nutrients and extensive list of health benefits including antioxidant properties and immune boosters. He makes it into fruit leather but this isn't sweet stuff you gnaw on. Noni tastes like blue cheese.

A juice bar in Austin includes it in smoothies and raw food restaurants serve it in dressings. Slap it on some crackers. Besides the leather, there a lotion and BioBandage for people and pets. If Steve wins he'll invest the $20,000 prize in more sustainable efficiencies on his organic farm.

The VISIONary Awards is the vision of graphics and microchip design firm, AMD, Advanced Micro Devices, entrepreneurs who share a passion for food, photos and recognizing these visions with a generous prize, and plans to spread the winnings with voters, too. Read on.


LiveProud "Charisma" shirt of recycled plastic trash bags, yogurt cups, computer keyboards.
Recycled yogurt cup and keyboard clothes

With the goal of recycling one million cubic inches of landfill space into clothing before Earth Day, Phil Tepfer and Charles Bogoian, owners of LiveProud, are nominated in the Entrepreneurs category. The Boston-based company makes high-performance active wear apparel for hiking, sailing and yoga from textiles of recycled and reclaimed materials.

Everything from plastic bottles and cell phones to TV casings and computer keyboards, trash bags, and yogurt cups are used for the textiles, as well as sustainable hemp, bamboo, coconut shells, and corn. And they support environmental groups focused on ocean conservation, such as Sailors for the Sea and Save Our Shores.

Ballard Honey by urban beekeepers Ballard Bee Company.
From Hives to Honey

Another worthy environmentally-minded visionary in the Foodie category is urban beekeeper and honey maker, Corky Luster of the Ballard Bee Company, who's trying to keep the honeybee population alive and pollinating Seattle's gardens and parks. He started with two hives and when folks went wild for his raw, unfiltered Ballard Honey, the hives multiplied to 60. Luster also sets up others prospective urban beekeepers who want hives in their yards and even rents to Hive Hosts.

Vote for a worthy VISIONary candidate and the recipient will receive a $20,000 award. Plus you'll be entered to win a Canon EOS 5D Mark II (if voting in photography) and a culinary tour of New York (if voting for a foodie) and/or the Grand Prize, a vacation in Tokyo, Japan, a beautiful and beleaguered country that could use some visitors.

More on visionaries:
100 Words - Two Hundred Visionaries Share Their Hope For the Future
Can Green Visionaries and Eco Realists Coexist?
Green Awards Celebrates Local Green Innovators

Tags: Bees | Clothing | Contests | Farming | Sustainable Fabrics