A Public Resource Compiled by the

AgroEcology Fund

14455 N. Hayden Road,
Scottsdale, Arizona, 85260, US
501c3 nonprofit
AgroEcologyFund.org
Donor to anti-GMO organizations as part of a broader philanthropic strategy

Key People

  • Daniel Moss, Executive Director
  • Edie Mukiibi, Advisory Board Member
  • Sarojeni Rengam, Advisory Board Member
  • Solome Lemma, Advisory Board Member
AgroEcology Fund

The AgroEcology fund (AEF) was established in 2012 as a multi-donor fund to invest in “agroecological practices and policies” and lobby African governments to prevent the introduction of GMO crops in their countries. (Note that AEF is not an independent 501c3, but a coalition of donors, and not formally incorporated as an independent organization. It serves as the coordinating pass-thru for donations which come directly from its member foundation. As of the end of 2019, it was noted as having been formed and operating under the Arabella Advisors New Venture Fund as a project.) AEF’s four founding donors include the Christensen Fund, New Field Foundation, the Swift Foundation and one anonymous foundation, all of which fiance anti-GMO advocacy, especially in the developing world. In the six years since its founding, the AgroEcology Fund “has awarded $4.03 million to …. 202 organizations in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the USA.” Donations made through AEF are managed by the New Venture Fund, yet another wealthy foundation that finances opposition to crop biotechnology.

AEF maintains close ties to prominent anti-GMO groups through its advisory board members.   Sarojeni Rengam is the executive director of Pesticide Action Network’s Asia branch, and Edie  Mukiibi serves as vice president of Slow Food International, an NGO that believes GMOs could turn “our food into a patented commodity controlled by a few multinationals.” AgroEcology fund takes a similar position, arguing that “banning genetically modified (GM) seeds …. illustrates a “commitment to food sovereignty.” AEF further believes “corporate GMO seeds” rob smallholder farmers of the right “to retain control over their seeds.”

In 2017, AEF and the Alliance for Food Safety Africa (AFSA), which has received $200,000 from AEF, collaborated unsuccessfully with the Center for Food Safety (CFS) to prevent the enforcement of biotech seed patents, because such “seed policies and plant variety protection laws …. have negative implications for smallholder farmers.” The collaboration is ongoing, however, and active in six African countries, including Tanzania, South-Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi. CFS has also received $50,000 from AEF.

Financial Data

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Annual Budget: $1,200,000 (2018)

Major Recipients (total contributions 2012-present)

La Via Campesina $695,000

Grassroots International $300,000

Groundswell International $200,000

Alliance for Food Sovereignty Africa (AFSA) $320,000

International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) $210,000

Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity and Food Sovereignty $255,000

The United National Federation of Agricultural Unions of Colombia $100,000

Fahamu $195,000

Southeastern African American Farmers Organic Network $95,000

Sibol Ng Agham at Teknolohiya $95,000

Save PNG $75,000

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Note that there are three “levels” of both donors and recipients.

Donors
Donations to advocacy groups are sometimes designated to support a specific cause, such as organic agriculture or mitigating climate change. There is no way for us to know from publicly-available documents on what the money will be spent, as we can only see the total amount donated. When we assign the levels below to donors and recipients, we assume that all donations are available to the recipient for all advocacy, including anti-GMO advocacy.

  • Level 1: Donates primarily to dedicated anti-GMO organizations
  • Level 2: A large portion of donations go to anti-GMO organizations; some donations go to organizations without a position on GMOs
  • Level 3: A small portion of donations go to anti-GMO organizations
    * Most donations go to organizations without a formal position on GMOs but which have aligned themselves with anti-GMO activists

Recipients
For Level 1 recipients, all donations are used for anti-GMO advocacy. For Level 2 and 3 recipients, we don’t know how much of each donation is used for anti-GMO advocacy.

  • Level 1: Dedicated to anti-GMO advocacy
  • Level 2: Involved in anti-GMO advocacy along with other causes
  • Level 3: No specific anti-GMO advocacy, but general support
    * Organizations without a formal position on GMOs but which have aligned themselves with anti-GMO activists
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