The winning entries of the photo competition “Growing with Your Food” tell us about the joys and challenges of growing food

The winners of the photo contest “Growing with Your Food”, which is part of the European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024 activities, have been announced. More than 1,100 photos were received for the international competition, primarily from Estonia, but also from Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Georgia, Montenegro and Wales.

The competition invited people to capture moments in the garden, to show others the magic and the pain of growing food. Individual photos and photo essays from educational and community gardens, as well as home gardens, were welcome. The works were evaluated by a jury consisting of photographers Heikki Leis and Urmas Tartes, Triin Pikk, Tartu with Earth Programme Line Manager, and Karin Pai, the initiator of the “Growing with Your Food” project.

“There are several nature photography contests, but with you to the garden you’ll take a bucket and a spade rather than a camera. That’s why it was even nicer to see that in addition to the gorgeous harvests, hardworking moments were also captured in the pictures, as well as beautiful garden patterns and enchanting close-ups”, said Eeva Kirsipuu-Vadi, coordinator of the EcoSchools Estonia and the photo competition.

The photos were evaluated in the categories of children, youth and adults.

The main prize in the children’s category went to Georgia, where the photo essay, made by 11-year-old Mariam Meiparian, tells about the experience of growing an ancient wheat variety in the school garden. The winner of the youth category was 16-year-old Zala Debelak from Slovenia, who captured a moment on camera with the playful and multi-meaning title “Bee Happy!”. In the adult class, the main prize went to Estonia and it was awarded to Viktor Panasenko for his work “Spectacular chicken”.


II place

Children: Valeria Morgun, Estonia, “The Last Breath Before Winter”

Youth: Oskar Olle Laur, Estonia, “Green, red, black”. Photo was also awarded the title of Foundation for Environmental Education’s (FEE) favorite.

Adults: Jaana Süld, Estonia, “Kids hunting for prey”


III place

Children: Rico Sarapik, Estonia,“Pesto material”

Young people: Henri Steinberg, Estonia, “Fysal and slug”

Adults: Sten-Erik Remmel, Estonia, “Making the apple juice”. Photo was also awarded the title of FEE’s favorite.


Special awards

Talu Toidab OÜ: “Little rhubarb” Raigo Tõnisalu

Estonian Organic Farming Platform: “Youth in the Youth Center” Mona Reitel

Research Centre of Organic Farming of Estonian University of Life Sciences: photo essay “My carrot” Tatjana Aksenova

Audience favorite and FEE’s favorite in the children’s category: “Restoring endemic species of wheat” Mariam Meiparian

Audience favorite in the youth category: “Bee Happy!” Zala Debelak

The audience’s favorite in the adult category: “Quilt” Evar Ring


The photo contest was organized by the EcoSchools program in Estonia in cooperation with the project “Growing with Your Food”, which is part of European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024 activities. The goal of the EcoSchools program is to support children and youth to develop into sustainably thinking, environmentally aware adults. The goal of the “Growing with Your Food” project is to raise awareness and skills about growing organic food among children, youth, families and teachers.

The partner of the photo contest was the European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024, the supporters were Environmental Investments Center, Tartu Nature House, Research Centre of Organic Farming of Estonian University of Life Sciences, Talu Toidab OÜ, Estonian Organic Farming Platform and Biomarket OÜ.


The gallery of the winning photos can be found HERE.


Additional information:

Eeva Kirsipuu-Vadi

EcoSchools Estonia coordinator

tel. 521 3881