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Filipina Chef Wins Young Champion of the Earth Prize

Filipino chef Louise Mabulo, 20, is one of the recipients of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) award


Chef Louise is among the seven young entrepreneurs recognized as winners of the Young Champion of the Earth Prize by the United Nations. She won the distinction for the Asia and the Pacific region through her initiative Cacao Project, which aims to boost farmers’ income through climate resilient cocoa.

Lousie MabuloPhoto courtesy of Louise Mabulo

The Cacao Project has trained over 200 farmers in agroforestry techniques, planting more than 70,000 trees across 70 hectares of land. The Junior Master Chef finalist started the project after Typhoon Nina or Nock Ten (international name) devastated her home province, Bicol in 2016. 

While her true passion lies in being a professional chef, she started getting into farming and agriculture as part of her interest in sustainable food value chains. Chef Louise soon realized how unsustainable it was for farmers in the Bicol region to sustain planting crops that are not climate-resilient.

UN Environment ProgrammePhoto courtesy of UN Environment Programme

Seeing the aftermath of the typhoon firsthand, Chef Louise discerned that she had to come up with something more resilient and something more profitable for the farmers of her hometown. And so her ultimate solution was cacao trees. Her dream is to make cacao farming an “artform,” similar to vineyards.

As a recipient of the Young Champions of the Earth Prize, Chef Louise is granted $15,000 (P783,900) for her agricultural project. Before receiving her award, she will be attending and giving talks at the UN Youth Climate Summit and other climate-related events in New York.

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