Do you ever have this experience? You’re lying in bed, and your mind won’t shut off. You’re thinking about all the things you weren’t able to accomplish in the day, or you’re thinking about all the things you have to do the next day. Weeding, tilling, planting, harvesting. The list is endless, and the tasks don’t stop. Your time is required for all of them. If not your time, then your money. Over and over. “TURN OFF MIND!!”. 


Then, out of nowhere, BAM! The idea hits. You just thought of the most innovative solution to managing an aspect of your organic farm that will save so much labour  and money. Why haven’t you thought of this before you ask yourself?


The Carrot Cache Innovation Prize is back for the 6th year at the EFAO Conference. A $1,000 prize will be awarded for innovative, low-cost solutions to planting, harvesting, and managing food grown on an Ontario urban or rural organic farm. Farmers can share proven, creative ways already in use on-farm to build financial and environmental sustainability.  


Even if you didn’t have the sleepless genius idea, perhaps someone you know did. Feel free to send details about the Innovation Prize to anyone you think has an innovation worth sharing. Do you know someone who is too humble to nominate their innovations? You can nominate a fellow farmer-innovator. We’d love to see any tried-and-tested innovations.


Last year’s winner, Eric Barnhorst of Eva Mae Farm, won for his creative solution for an Off-Grid Seedling House. Eric created a solar-powered heat exchanger and reservoir to buffer temperatures and to build a heated bench in his otherwise unheated seedling greenhouse. His innovation pumps the water through a homemade heat exchanger when the air temperature in the greenhouse and the water temperature in the reservoir are significantly different. His approach pumps heat into the tank when the greenhouse gets warm during the day (when the air is hot, and the tank is relatively cool). It then pumps heat into the air when the temperature drops at night (when the air is cold, and the tank is relatively warm).


When we asked Eric the impact on winning the Innovation Prize had, he responded:

“Thanks again to the EFAO and Carrot Cache for the Innovation Prize. With the prize money, I was able to buy a quick cut greens harvester. The combination of the greens harvester with stale bedding and tarping has allowed me to scale up my salad mix production by quite a bit this year. I really appreciate the support!”

Do you or someone you know have an idea? 

Describe your or your nominee’s innovation and how it has for saved time, money or energy on an Ontario urban or rural organic farm. Farmers or nominators should submit a short description (2 paragraphs or less), at least one photo, and an estimated cost breakdown of the project. Send information in a Word document titled “innovation prize_farm name” to with Innovation Prize in the subject field.


We will display items at the conference, and conference attendees will select the winner. We will announce the winner after lunch on Thursday, December 5th.


Email submissions are due by Monday, November 25th. Conference attendees can alternately bring two (2) copies of a 1-page printout to submit at registration on by 9 am on Tuesday, December 3rd.


Important note: The Innovation Prize is not a bursary, and you do not need to attend the conference to enter. It’s a $1,000 cash prize from The Carrot Cache that will be awarded at the conference. It is meant for tried-and-tested innovations on any organic farm in Ontario.