GRAIN's Board

by GRAIN | 8 Oct 2009

GRAIN is governed by a Board composed of dedicated individuals acting in their personal capacities. We do not tend to put them much in the spotlight, but they do play a crucial role in giving direction to GRAIN’s work and organisation. There is regular rotation and renewal of Board members. Recently we uploaded on to our website brief interviews with each of our current Board members, to give an idea of where they come from and what motivates them. Here we present each of them one by one.


You can find these interviews at

Paul Nicholson works in Spain for EHNE, a rural trade union, which was a founder member of La Via Campesina. “My main interest is food sovereignty, which we are building from the local level”, he says. “It’s going to be a process of accumulation through alliances at the local, national and international levels. That’s the focus of most of my political work today.”

Maria Fernanda Vallejo comes from Ecuador. She works for an organisation called the Heifer Foundation, active in four continents. “My work is basically strengthening indigenous and peasant organisations in the Central Andes of Ecuador”, she says. “The region is largely inhabited by Quechua indigenous groups. “

Cathy Holtslander is from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. “I work with organic farmers through Beyond Factory Farming”, she says. “It is an organisation that works with sustainable livestock production.” She is also on the board of the Saskatchewan Organic Directorate and active in the movement to protect seeds from genetic contamination by GMOs.

Assetou Samaké [not shown] comes from Mali. She works for IRPAD (Institut de Recherche et de Promotion des Alternatives en Devéloppement), which promotes alternative development in the area of agriculture. “Many such solutions exist in Africa but they are not taken into sufficient account by the authorities”, she says

Meriem Louanchi, from Algeria, lectures in plant pathology at the National Institute for Agriculture, in Algiers. “I’m also active in an organisation called the Association for Reflection, Exchange and Action for the Environment and Development”, she says. “In the beginning the organisation was involved in environmental education, but very quickly, since 1999 at least, we’ve been leading actions around GMOs.”

Supa Yaimuang is from Thailand, where she works for the Alternative Agriculture Network. “We do research to support farmers, particularly in the area of seasonal agriculture”, she says. “We help them to save seeds, to process their crops and to develop food sovereignty.” The Network also helps farmers to operate community radios.

Silvia Ribeiro works for the ETC Group in Mexico. “Generally, the ETC Group works on the impact of new technology on society”, she says. “But in Mexico we have been focusing particularly on the issue of seeds, and how genetically modified seeds are affecting crops, people’s rights and their livelihoods.”

Author: GRAIN
Links in this article:
  • [1]