Sustainability Poetry Contest

2021 Themes: Peace and Trust & Fruits and Vegetables

2021 will be a busy year as the United Nations will be observing four International Year designations: International Year of Peace and Trust; International Year of Fruits and Vegetables; International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development; and, International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour.

Considering what we have had to deal with in 2020 (with two major events, that in some ways are related, the COVID-19 pandemic and the Anti-Racism Movement) the UNESCO Chair on Community Sustainability: From Local to Global invites submissions for poems in two important themes for the region of Niagara:
Peace and Trust

Fruits and Vegetables

International Year of Peace and Trust: The United Nations calls to “promote peace and trust among nations as a value that promotes sustainable development, peace and security, and human rights” (Resolution A/RES/73/338).

International Year of Fruits and Vegetables: the organization aims to promote the importance of “the nutritional and health benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption, the contribution of fruit and vegetable consumption to the promotion of diversified, balanced and healthy diets and lifestyles, [and] reducing loss and waste of fruits and vegetables” (Resolution A/RES/74/244)

2021 sera une année internationale des Nations unies très occupée avec quatre désignations : Année internationale de la paix et de la confiance; Année internationale des fruits et légumes; Année internationale de l’économie créative au service du développement durable, et; Année internationale de l’élimination du travail des enfants.

Considérant les enjeux que nous avons eu à faire face en 2020 avec deux évènements importants, la pandémie du COVID-19 et la mouvement antiracisme, la Chaire UNESCO en durabilité des communautés : du local au global invite des soumissions de poèmes sur les deux thèmes importants:
Paix et Confiance 
Fruits et Légumes

Les Nations Unies appelle « à la promotion de la paix et de la confiance entre les nations, car elle est une valeur qui favorise le développement durable, la paix et la sécurité et les droits de l’homme » (résolution A/RES/73/338).

Pour l’Année internationale des fruits et légumes, l’organisation vise à promouvoir « les effets bénéfiques sur la nutrition et la santé de la consommation de fruits et de légumes et le rôle de cette consommation dans la promotion de régimes alimentaires et de styles de vie sains, diversifiés et équilibrés, à réduire les pertes et le gaspillage de fruits et de légumes » (résolution A/RES/74/244).


The World Poetry Day Celebration scheduled for March 23 has been postponed as part of Brock University’s ongoing efforts to protect the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and the community in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Please continue to monitor this page for details regarding the new date for the event when they become available. 

Submission Form/ formulaire de soumission


Submission Deadline / Date limite de soumission:

February 21, 2021 (5 p.m.)/ 21 Février 2021 (17 H)

Submission Categories / Les catégories de poèmes sont:

Elementary Student, High School Student, College/University Student, and General Public. / Etudiant(e)s du primaire, étudiant(e)s du secondaire, étudiant(e)s collégiaux ou  universitaires et toutes et tous les autres résident(e)s de la Niagara.

Who can submit a poem / Qui peut participer?:

All residents of the Niagara Region are eligible to enter. / Tous et toutes les résidents de la région de la Niagara, Ontario, Canada, sont invités à participer.

Prizes / Prix:

One prize will be awarded for each of the four categories. Prizes will include books, gift cards, and other gifts valuing over $50 per category. / Un prix sera décerné pour chacune des quatre catégories. Les prix incluront des livres, certificats cadeaux et autres prix pour une valeur de plus de $50 par catégorie.


UNESCO declared March 21 as World Poetry Day during UNESCO’s 30th session held in Paris in 1999, to recognize the unique ability of poetry to capture the creative spirit of the human mind. It supports linguistic diversity through poetic expression and to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities.

In 2015, the UNESCO Chair in Community Sustainability: from local to global, with the help of the Brock University Environmental Sustainability Research Centre, initiated a contest designed to celebrate Niagara’s creative minds region and enhance their role in community sustainability.

Every year, writers from the local community are encourage to submit unpublished poems on themes related to sustainability.

From the UNESCO Poetry Day Website:

“Poetry reaffirms our common humanity by revealing to us that individuals, everywhere in the world, share the same questions and feelings.

Poetry is the mainstay of oral tradition and, over centuries, can communicate the innermost values of diverse cultures.
In celebrating World Poetry Day, March 21, UNESCO recognizes the unique ability of poetry to capture the creative spirit of the human mind.


Thank you to all of the participants in our 2020 poetry contest!
Click the link below to read all of the submissions from the contest.

Thank you to all of the participants in our 2019 poetry contest!
Click the link below to read all of the submissions from the contest.

Thank you to all of the participants in our 2018 poetry contest!
Click the link below to read all of the submissions from the contest.

Thank you to all of the participants in our first three poetry contests!
Click the link below to read all submissions from 2015 – 2017

Previous Winners


Theme: ‘International Year of Plant Health’

“Poetry is a form of expression that can link our feelings and values to the real world. The International Year of Plant Health relates to many aspects of our lives including cultural expressions, the health of our planet and our own health.” – Liette Vasseur


  • Un monde tout vert by Brock Concurrent Education student Alexander Emmitt Yap
  • Help the Plants by Harry Byun, Grade 3 student at Kate S. Durdan Public School in Niagara Falls
  • Terra by Elizabeth Grace Tomaino, Grade 12 student at Blessed Trinity Catholic Secondary School
  • The Active Agent by Diana Vasu, English Language and Literature Student at Brock University
  • Adam and Eve Recall the tree by Franco ON Cortese, of Thorold, Ontario


View Presentation

Theme: ‘Year of Indigenous Voices’

“Poetry is the mainstay of oral tradition and, over centuries, can communicate the innermost values of diverse cultures. To encourage a return to the oral tradition of poetry recitals, to promote the teaching of poetry, to restore a dialogue between poetry and the other arts.” – UNESCO

“Indigenous languages are essential to sustainable development; they constitute the vast majority of the world’s linguistic diversity, and are an expression of cultural identity, diversity and a unique understanding of the world. The disappearance of indigenous languages has a negative impact on areas directly affecting lives of indigenous peoples such as, politics, health, justice, education and access to ICTs among other things.” – UNESCO, April 2018


“The Language Poem” by: Ambar K Foster
Category: Elementary Student (English)

“The Voyageur” by: Jake Ontario Vandenbosch
Category: College/University Student (English)

“Le pardon” by: Fatima Mojahid
Category: College/University Student (French)

“Well Educated Guesses” by: Janet M Rogers
Category: General Public (English)

Special Mention:

“The bridge” by: Cristina Soto
Category: General Public (English)


View Presentation

Theme: ‘The Future We Want’

The United Nations (UN) General Assembly in its Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 27 July 2012 during the Rio +20 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, adopted the outcome document entitled “The future we want” as a vision for what has become in 2015 the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

As mentioned: Poverty eradication is the greatest global challenge facing the world today and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. In this regard, we are committed to freeing humanity from poverty and hunger as a matter of urgency… We therefore acknowledge the need to further mainstream sustainable development at all levels, integrating economic, social and environmental aspects and recognizing their interlinkages, so as to achieve sustainable development in all its dimensions.”


“Now” by: Hannah Johnston
Category: Elementary Student (English)

“Do we have to die before dessert” by: Emily Lizbet Fulton
Category: High School Student (English)

“My feet are damp” by: Danielle Izzard
Category: College/University Student (English)

“Two worlds” by: Liz Bonisteel
Category: General Public (English)

“Les cris d’univers” by: Victoria Vieira
Category: College/University Student (French)


View Presentation


“Pensez avant de voyager” by: Natalie Leblanc
Category: College/University Student (French)

“Take a deep breath” by: Kostyn Vaughan Petrunick
Category: College/University Student (English)

*Honourable mentions:

“Touriste” by: Stacey Lynn Duncan
Category: College/University Student (French)

“Tourisme durable pour le développement” by: Wilfrid Junior Desrosiers
Category: College/University Student (French)


View Presentation


“La Ville-Jardin, faillite alimentaire” by Casey Maria Lawrence
Cateogory: College/University student (French)

“Gertrude Stein on Sustainability” by Jonathan Karl Lepp
Category: General public (English)

“Exported Goods” by Jamie Eri Lupia
Category: College/University student (English)

Contest Details

View Presentation


“Birds of the World” by: Cole David Michael Campbell
Category: Elementary school student

“The old man…” by Rebekah  Cho
Category: High school student

“The Malleable Genealogy of Oranges” by Ryan Ralph Racine
Category: College/ University student

“Ode to the Dandelion” by Shelley Anne Locke
Category: General public