For social movements, small food producers, environmental and human rights activists, journalists and many others who GRAIN interacts with on a daily basis, 2018 was a pretty difficult year. Democracy is being undermined as right-wing nationalist and authoritarian leaders cling to power and pursue their narrow and destructive agendas. Corporations are merging and shrinking in number, but growing in wealth and real control through technology, consolidation, legal loopholes and market expansion. Repression of our allies who are fighting the mainstream development model and neoliberal regime has been increasing dramatically, making it harder to defend space for more just and resilient food systems. But we are holding on and keeping strong to the best of our abilities.
For GRAIN, as for many, 2018 was also a year marked by transitions. We sadly said goodbye to some of our staff who retired or moved on, while energetically welcoming newcomers. As a result of these shifts, we are happy to be our "old selves" again where GRAIN has at least 2 staff people in each of the regions where we focus our work, while sticking to our self-imposed limit of 15 people in total.
Perhaps one aspect that stands out about last year was how much we were forced to juggle the old with the new. We have been helping farmers’ groups and social movements resist corporate seed laws that privatise seeds since the 1980s, and we have been fighting GMOs since ever. And yet those battles are not over and still need to be fought. As hard as ever! At the same time, new challenges like China's Belt and Road Initiative (which has the potential to undermine rural people's livelihoods across the world - not to mention in China itself), and giant meat and dairy corporations driving climate change require creative energy to analyse with partners what is going on and how to mobilise new alliances. Similarly, much as we may feel that the locus of communication power has shifted to social media, we know that we have to produce print publications and summarised forms of our work to reach rural communities and others who have less access to internet or need physical information tools to work with.
We are happy to share these highlights of the year and look forward to building more strength and solidarity with all of you who are committed to the fight for food sovereignty and all of our sister struggles.
Download the report [1.91 MB]