GRAIN is founded on 16 March, with a Board of six (Dorothy Myers, Miges Baumann, Vincent Lucassen, Bente Herstad,
Antonio Onorati, Hannes Lorenzen), and staff of two (Henk Hobbelink and Renée Vellvé). Photo: GRAIN
Henk authors the book, Biotechnology and the future of world agriculture, which was translated into multiple languages. Photo: GRAIN
Renée authors the book Saving the seed, genetic diversity and European agriculture.
GRAIN publishes Growing diversity: Genetic resources and local food security,
a collection of testimonies and achievements from activists and farmers in developing and
managing crop varieties and genetic resources. Photo: GRAIN
GRAIN helps organise the Biodiversity and Community Rights workshop in Montezillon, Switzerland, bringing together activists and academics from around the world, debating tensions around Farmers Rights and “sui generis” laws. Photo: GRAIN
The Latin American magazine Biodiversidad, sustento y culturas, a joint publication by REDES-AT (Friends of the Earth Uruguay) and GRAIN is born (and still going strong!).
Here is the history of it.
And here are all the issues (the 100th edition was published in 2019, and issues are now translated into Portugese for distribution in Brazil). Photo: GRAIN
The European Parliament rejected a directive to allow the patenting of life.
This was a major victory after years of campaigning by GRAIN and many others. Photo: GRAIN
GRAIN supports calls for a sui generis rights system for local and indigenous communities to counter the
World Trade Organisation TRIPS requirement, a move that causes confusion and debate in the process.
GRAIN declares 1996 as “The year of agricultural biodiversity” with several UN fora organising conferences on the topic and civil society mobilising around them.
GRAIN participates in all of them. La Vía Campesina launches the food sovereignty platform at the FAO World Food Summit. Photo: European Coordination Via Campesina
GRAIN Board, increasingly led by people from Asia, Africa and Latin America, adopts a “regionalisation” strategy to shift GRAIN’s operational base and political grounding to the global South.
Oryza nirvana, a critique of IRRI (the Green Revolution Rice Institute in the Philippines), launched with groups in the region and followed by a dialogue process with the Institute.
Biothai and GRAIN organise an international seminar in Thammasat, Thailand, on ‘sui generis rights’. As follow-up, GRAIN launches BIO-IPR, an information service on the privatisation of biodiversity and people’s struggles against it. Photo: GRAIN
GRAIN sets up its first website. Oldest snapshot of grain.org still available on the internet.
GRAIN teams up with the Gaia Foundation on a two-year project that results in important research for activists, including 10 reasons not to join UPOV, which helped clarify why UPOV is not better than patents, as was argued then by some. Widely used.
Nudged by activists in Latin America, GRAIN starts looking into bilateral trade agreements and investment treaties to understand where the most powerful forces of change are coming from to privatise biodiversity and install corporate control over policy making. At the same time, social movements took the cry “Agriculture out of WTO/WTO out of agriculture” to the Battle of Seattle” WTO negotiations. Photo: Becoming a citizen activist
GRAIN launches the Growing diversity project (2001-2003) to take stock of local experiences in management of agbiodiversity around the world.
GRAIN helps set up the BASA-Asia network (Biodiversity in action for sustainable agriculture), a unique coalition advancing farmer-controlled seed systems in the region laying the groundwork for more intensive collaboration amongst the main actors. Photo: GRAIN
GRAIN consolidates its decentralisation process, adding staff from Argentina, Benin and India, and laying the groundwork for our current setup. As part of this process, GRAIN starts publishing systematically in three languages: English, Spanish, French. Photo: GRAIN
GRAIN issues one of the world’s first critical reports on “Golden rice” as an erroneous strategy to fight malnutrition. GRAIN kept working on the issue since then, publishing more reports and collaborating with the Stop Golden Rice Network.
GRAIN issues a harsh critique when the FAO adopts its international seeds treaty in November arguing that it subverts the idea of farmers rights, and accepts intellectual property on seeds and genes. GRAIN decides to stop participating in these meetings.
The Growing diversity project holds its final meeting, Rio Branco, Brazil. The project yielded a Growing diversity website and regional case studies, and helped to set on-farm seed management on a firm footing. Photo: GRAIN
GRAIN commits to using free and open source software. Image: devopscube.com
bilaterals.org, a collaborative website that GRAIN helped conceive and put together, is launched. (Still going strong today!) Image: Bilaterals.org
GRAIN co-organises a meeting in Geneva on indigenous peoples rights and traditional knowledge with Third World Network and Tebtebba Foundation.
GRAIN helps found COPAGEN, the Coalition for the protection of Africa’s genetic heritage, a large multi-sectoral network in 10 countries (still going strong today!)
GRAIN publishes Whither biosafety, a report that argues that biosafety laws don’t stop GMOs but frame their introduction and use. Image: La Confédération Paysanne
As bird flu decimates poultry farms, and sets off a global pandemic, GRAIN identifies its corporate source in the factory farms of China and Southeast Asia in Fowl play. Both The Lancet and FAO acknowledge GRAIN’s findings.
GRAIN, bilaterals.org, Biothai and others, co-organise Fighting FTAs, a global strategy workshop in Bangkok, which helped articulate the global struggle against free trade agreements. Several important documents were published from it. Photo: Suraj Mishra
GRAIN publishes Food sovereignty: turning the global food system upside down its first piece on food sovereignty, centering this approach as the solution to the dominant food system and supporting the proposal of La Vía Campesina.
Amidst parallel activities at the COP8 in Curitiba, the Alianza Biodiversidad is born from the editing body of the Biodiversidad Sustento y Cultura magazine. It is now an active regional collaboration of 13 organisations (including GRAIN) who work in defense of biodiversity throughout Latin America.
GRAIN is on the organising committee of the first Nyeleni food sovereignty gathering in Mali. An important moment in galvanising the struggle for food sovereignty amongst farmers, fisherfolk, pastoralists and indigenous peoples. Photo: Nyeleni.org
GRAIN publishes Stop the agrofuel craze, a document that proves to be key in destroying the myths around “biofuels”, a supposedly “green” alternative to fossil fuels.
GRAIN is systematically tracking news reports in the business press about political leaders and financial firms making massive farmland deals across the globe as a response to the food and financial crises. This results in the publication of Seized: The 2008 landgrab for food and financial security, the first publication to put this issue on the global political agenda. It also identifies 100 deals in a first dataset. Image: Polyp.org.uk
GRAIN is part of the initial group of organisations that create AFSA, the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa.
As the world food crisis comes to a head, GRAIN releases an analysis showing who is benefitting from it.
GRAIN publishes the first of what will become a series on the impact of the industrial soy plantation in the Southern Cone of South America.
GRAIN launches the farmlandgrab.org website to help activists and journalists keep abreast of what’s going on with land grabbing for agricultural production. Still going strong today!
As swine flu spreads globally from an outbreak in Mexico, GRAIN again uncovers its corporate source: the then US-owned Smithfield Foods. Photo: GRAIN
GRAIN’s 20 year anniversary is a sad time for the organisation. As GRAIN’s funders are hit by the financial crisis, so are we. After salary cuts followed by programme cuts, we have to do some staff cuts. After a special issue dedicated to the first 20 years, GRAIN stops producing the magazine Seedling. Photo: GRAIN
GRAIN identifies pension funds as a key new player in the global land grab.
In Food and climate change: the forgotten link, GRAIN estimates that the industrial food system produces up to half of global greenhouse gas emissions. Official sources at the time were saying 18% (and only looking at agriculture).
GRAIN publishes a first detailed analysis of how the industrial food system compromises food safety and makes people ill.
In December, GRAIN receives the Right Livelihood Award for its lifetime work, with an emphasis on our achievement in exposing the new global trend of land grabbing. Photo: Right Livelihood Award
The great food robbery book is published, a compilation of GRAIN reports and articles. Photo: GRAIN
GRAIN along with La Vía Campesina and ETC Group denounces carbon trading and “climate smart” agriculture following the UN climate summit in Copenhagen. Photo: La Via Campesina
Planet palm oil booklet published, initiating lots of further research and alliance building on the impact of oil palm plantations in Africa, together with the World Rainforest Movement.
GRAIN helped set up the Global convergence of land, water and seed struggles, in West and Central Africa. Still going strong today! Photo: Convergence Globale des Luttes pour la Terre et l’Eau - Ouest Africaine
Together with La Via Campesina, GRAIN publishes a poster with data from our climate research, and the video and comic book “Together we can cool the planet”, explaining the same data. Both have been (and still are) widely used by social movements and others. Translated into many languages.
GRAIN published a key study, Hungry for land, showing that small farmers have less than 24% of the world’s farmland and yet produce 80% of our food, challenging analysis by FAO and others.
The great climate robbery book published and launched at the Paris climate summit. Photo: GRAIN
Staying close to our roots, we co-publish with Vía Campesina an overview of seed laws that criminalise farmers in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe. Additional resources include a poster, a dataset, a map and a table as GRAIN works to produce more multimedia materials.
Following the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal in Mexico targeting free trade, GRAIN publishes Structural reforms, free trade agreements and the war on subsistence, highlighting the connections to the food system and food sovereignty.
GRAIN issues a 3rd dataset of land grabs documenting 35 million hectares of farmland that have changed hands since the mid-2000s. In our assessment, the rise of global farmland deals has slowed as many projects fail and resistance from local communities is turning investors away. GRAIN is now involved in helping coordinate an informal alliance against industrial oil palm plantations in West and Central Africa. Photo: GRAIN
GRAIN starts to look seriously into the impact of the mega Asian trade deal called the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership or RCEP. We produce research and analysis adapted into an infographic and translated to local Asian languages to support movement building across Asia. Photo: GRAIN
With partners in Latin America, GRAIN produces a documentary and short video animation on seeds activities in the region. Translated into half a dozen languages, and the materials were also adapted to a comic book and an online course.
GRAIN report identifies livestock as the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the food system. This is the first report of ours connecting livestock to the climate crisis, but certainly not the last.
The real seed producers is published with the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa. The case studies and resources are translated into several local languages to strengthen local struggles for seed sovereignty around the continent.
Working with local partners in the Stop Golden Rice! Network in Asia, we unveil two decades of lies around Golden rice. Photo: Stop Golden Rice! Network
New research from GRAIN and IATP examines the world’s largest 35 meat and dairy companies and found that most are not reporting their greenhouse gas emissions data and that together, the world’s top five meat and dairy corporations are now responsible for more annual emissions than Exxon, Shell or BP. The report, titled Emissions impossible, gets a lot of traction.
As the UN climate summit moves from Santiago, Chile to Madrid, Spain due to political upheaval in Chile, GRAIN sees an opportunity to have staff at both parallel civil society sessions. We take our new climate audit of the EU-Mercosur trade deal with us, along with many other materials. The climate audit and its infographics gets widely picked up in the media and is used in parliamentary debates and campaigns in the EU and Mercosur regions. Photo: GRAIN
Official circuits now say the food system causes up to one-third of the world’s climate emissions, catching up to GRAIN's numbers of almost a decade earlier.
GRAIN marks its 30th anniversary year with a special logo and a short video explaining our work.
Coronavirus crisis puts a brake on celebrations and activities as we are forced to work from home. GRAIN produces a report urging to look at industrial pig farms, not just wet markets and wild animal trade, as part of the pandemic’s origin. We also produce Millions forced to choose between hunger or Covid-19 on the link between Covid and the looming hunger crisis, and how local communities are coming up with solutions.