2010 Innovation Award Winners

The 2010 SVN Innovation Award Winners were honored at a ceremony at SVN's Fall Invitational in Long Branch, New Jersey, from October 21 - 24th. The awards were presented by Utne Reader and the ceremony was emceed by SVN member Bryan Welch of Ogden Publications and Simran Sethi, a journalist and professor at the University of Kansas.

Alejandro Velez & Nikhil Arora

BTTR Ventures

Back to the Roots was founded by Alejandro Velez & Nikhil Arora during their last semester at UC Berkeley in 2009. Inspired by the idea of turning waste into wages and fresh, local food, they experimented in Alex's fraternity kitchen, ultimately growing one test bucket of mushrooms on recycled coffee grounds. In 2011, they're on pace to help families grow over 250,000 lbs of fresh food at home, while diverting and reusing 1,000,000 lbs of coffee grounds from Peet's Coffee & Tea.

Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins

Green For All

Green For All is dedicated to improving the lives of all Americans through a clean energy economy. Green For All works in collaboration with the business, government, labor, and grassroots communities to create and implement programs that increase quality jobs and opportunities in green industry - all while holding the most vulnerable people at the center of the agenda.

Jessamyn Rodriguez

Hot Bread Kitchen

Hot Bread Kitchen is a nonprofit social enterprise that creates better lives for low-income women and their families by paying women while they learn the skills necessary to launch food businesses and achieve management track positions in bakeries. To help offset costs, Hot Bread Kitchen sells delicious multi-ethnic breads inspired by the bakers and the many countries that they come from using local and organic ingredients when possible.

Tevis Howard


KOMAZA is a social enterprise committed to reducing rural poverty in Africa by connecting smallholder farmers with high-value markets. KOMAZA offers high-value trees with financial, training and marketing services to enable poor farmers to incorporate sustainable forestry business into their regular farming cycle. Working in areas affected by desertification, the forestry projects also have measurable environmental impacts.

Danny Kennedy


Sungevity is a residential solar panel installer and leaser that is dedicated to bringing easy and affordable solar electricity to mainstream America and beyond. The startup offers free online "iQuotes" by using satellite and aerial photography to estimate the size and cost of a solar installation. Sungevity's leasing program means customers can pay no money down and receive proactive monitoring, maintenance, cleaning, and insurance of their home solar system.


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