Sophia Sifaki from Greece is the winner of the first Mediterranean environmental-themed short story prize with her story The Treasure.

Sifaki’s story The Treasure spins an enchanting conservation tale in which a young doctor arrives on the small Greek island of Lemnos ready to serve the colourful population, having been charged by her benefactor to discover the hidden treasure of the island.

As part of her prize Sifaki will travel and stay on the Greek Island of Lemnos, one of the Rooted Everyday campaign eco-sites. She’ll be given a guided tour and opportunity to write further on the conservation and cultural heritage issues of the Island and be presented with the competition trophy.

Winning writer Sophia Sifaki has worked in linguistics and innovative translation technology for almost three decades. After becoming aware of the threat to the centennial forest of Dionysos she joined the ‘Yades’ movement and participated in local elections. She has previously been published in a collect of women’s short stories called Time For Coffee (Lychnos 2007) and Yades (2018). Her poem Belladonna was awarded the 1st place in the 13th Panhellenic Poetry Competition organized by Ideopnoon.

Sifaki said: “Through the competition I became aware of the Rooted Everyday campaign and it became immediately obvious to me that its goals are close to my heart and my efforts to protect nature in the Mediterranean. I immediately felt that I should pick up my pen and write.”

The Runner Up was Jose Ruiz Rosa from Spain with Plant Wisdom, a story told from the perspective of a thousand-year-old tree witnessing man’s destruction and its plea for science, love and wisdom to save them.

Shortlisted stories to receive a Highly Commended award from the judges were Gone by Maria Dalamitrou (Greece), The Shepherd by Abdelhakim Barnous (Morocco), and Rulfo by Ana Catarina Milhazes (Portugal).

Novelist Amy Beeson, Chair of Judges said; “The competition was created to give a platform for writers who are passionate about the environment and cultural heritage as part of the Rooted Everyday campaign. The writers have created characters that enable us as readers directly to engage with the hidden wonders of Mediterranean and the environmental challenges ahead.

The winning five stories can be enjoyed in a free eBook which will be available to download on the website from 8 October 2019. All shortlisted stories will be available to read on the website from 15 October 2019.

Eating an Organic Mediterranean Diet Helps Fight Disease

For years nutritionists have extolled the virtues of a Mediterranean diet, now environmental NGOs like WWF are calling for us to improve our health and the environment by following the Med. The #MedFoodHeroes campaign from 15-27 June coordinated by @RootedEveryday celebrates the rich cuisine the Mediterranean has to offer and the benefits to people and planet when we buy from small sustainable producers.

Meet #MedFoodHero Ambassador: Renato Álvarez

Renato Álvarez was born into a “neo-rural” family who were trailblazers of organic farming in Andalusia. They were also members of the first social movements and associations dedicated to the production and organic food. Since he was little he was involved in agriculture until he decided to study Environmental Sciences at the Pablo de Olavide University (Seville).

Meet #MedFoodHero Ambassador: Fábio Bernadino

Fábio Bernardino is a Chef, the CEO of Travel & Flavours, a teacher, gastronomic consultant, trainer and event organizer; a young Chef whose excellence opened the doors to major Portuguese hotels and restaurants, like the Pestana Hotéis & Resorts group or the Heritage Lisboa Hotels, where he left his mark of professionalism and rigour. With a great passion for cooking, and especially for pastry, he started his career at the age of 14, when he attended the Professional Cooking and Pastry Course of the Lisbon Hotel and Tourism School.

Meet #MedFoodHero Ambassador: Alfredo Sendim

Alfredo Cunhal Sendim was born in Porto and spent his childhood between Lisbon (the city), Montemor-o-Novo (the countryside) and Ferragudo (the sea). Studied veterinary and zoo technical. In 1990 he moved to the Monte of Herdade do Freixo do Meio, a territory where, step by step, he has been developing a structural project in the agricultural and social field.

Meet #MedFoodHeroes Ambassador: Sahar Elhallak

Nine years ago, Sahar left her home in California and landed in Morocco in a quest to find herself. While she started a new life in Marrakech, she found some challenges to find restaurants that catered to vegetarians like herself. Since she always enjoyed hosting dinner parties and food-related fundraising events, she started cooking for friends which grew into welcoming people into her beautifully restored hundred-year-old house, for unique culinary experiences.

Meet #MedFoodHeroes Ambassador: Najat Kaanache

Born to Moroccan parents in a small town near San Sebastian in Spain, Najat Kaanache has been cooking at home since childhood. Now based between the US, Mexico and Morocco. She now creates magic in the kitchen as the owner and chef of the beautiful restaurant Nur in the ancient medina of Fez, named World’s Best Moroccan Restaurant in 2017, 2018 and 2019. She also opened CÚS (a Moroccan bistro in the heart of Mexico City) and Nacho Mama (a funky Mexican cantina in the medina of Fez).

Meet #MedFoodHeroes Ambassador: Driss Mellal

Driss Mellal was born in a small town in the south of Morocco, near the beautiful Dades valley. His love for cooking started at the age of 20, when he was in art school in southern France. He missed Moroccan food and flavours and so started cooking and experimenting himself. After graduating from art school, he didn’t work in the arts as planned, but instead went to culinary school. “I finally got to combine my art background with new cooking skills, and it became the start of a new life for me,” Driss says.

Sheep to Combat Climate Change

Asociación Trashumancia y Naturaleza collaborated with the city council of Madrid to organise the annual Fiesta de la Trashumancia Madrid 2019 (Transhumance Festival)—which saw 1800 sheep and 200 goats pass through the centre of Spain’s capital city. The event, now in its 26th year, was successful in creating awareness on the importance of maintaining this ancestral practice of which Spain is a global example and that is a very valuable tool in the fight against climate change and rural depopulation, among other benefits.