Live blog: GROW launches around the world

15:45 GMT

Giant peas, corn cobs and carrots have unleashed the GROW campaign on the Canadian public. Sporting 'price tags' that said: 'You can't afford me'; 'Produced by Women'; 'A right not a luxury', the veggies danced, posed and talked their way around the country.

In the capital Toronto, a 30 ft living 'GROW' sculpture caused a big buzz. Campus and Youth Outreach Officer, Taryn Diamond said: “The GROW structure was amazing! It was incredibly captivating and people just kept coming by and taking pictures…I think this shows Canadians will be receptive to the campaign.” On and offline journalists attended an exclusive campaign briefing with a hunger banquet theme, and the media coverage has been exceptional. The whole launch experience was an overwhelming success in Canada.  Toronto and St. John’s have already wrapped up their stunts, but more is still to come in Western Canada in Sasktaoon and Vancouver. Keep an eye on the blog for more.

For more from Canada, visit the GROW websites from Oxfam Canada and Oxfam Quebec

15:40 GMT

GROW launch in Guatemala

Participants at the GROW forum event in Guatemala City were encouraged to join the campaign’s movement for change and join dialogue to help solve the food problems faced by Guatemala and the world. Oxfam Guatemela’s Director, Aida Pesquera, called on those present to not only analyze the problems of the food system, but also to discuss and reflect on food security public policies and solutions that are working in other countries. She said “We should ask ourselves if we are truly addressing the structural causes of food injustice, and what we should do to address them”.

Rigoberta Menchú, Noberl Peace Prize in 1992, attended the launch event.She opened her speech by celebrating that Guatemala was part of the 43 countries that joined together to launch the GROW campaign. She added, "We must make it clear that hunger is an outrage against humanity". Now we need the public to join this campaign against hunger and food insecurity. We're also calling on the government to ratify the civil society proposal to promote a law for rural development. If you want to know more about what happened during the launch in Guatemala, or see the video of Rigoberta, check out our blog.

The GROW campaign in Guatemala is joining forces with the Vamos al Grano campaign, which, since 2008, has worked to promote small farmers’ production in the country and recognizes the importance of women in the production process.

15:20 GMT

In Burkina Faso the launch was marked by a press conference hosted by Oxfam, national partners and allies, such as SOS Sahel International. We explored the issues around GROW campaign internationally and discussed how the food system effects the poorest people in Burkino Faso.

After watching the Lula Da Silva, Angelique Kidjo and Tiken Jah Fakoly members of the press enjoyed dinner with civil society representatives. It was a great turn out with national TV, press and radio in attendance. On the dinner menu was food and beverages based solely on Burkinabe agricultural products from Burkina Faso.

While this was happening we were busy sending our politicians copies of the GROW report, the Burkino Faso summary of it and a presentation from the Oxfam country director about the new campaign. We sent this neat little pack to the Office of the Prime Minister of the Government of Burkina Faso, Ministers in charge of the rural sector, The Minister of Economy and Finance, Permanent Secretary of the Agricultural Sectoral Policy Coordination, Ambassadors to France, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Canada and USA, the European Commission Delegation and Representation of the World Bank in Burkina. Hopefully we didn’t miss anybody out. 
At the end we pledged to carry and support GROW campaign with our sister organisations around the world and together with our partners and allies here in Burkina.

15.10 GMT

GROW discussion launches the campaign in Takijistan

A new Oxfam report on the impact of climate change on women smallholder farmers in Tajikistan provided the backdrop for the launch of GROW.

A lively discussion took place amongst policy makers, women smallholder farmers and Oxfam representatives on issues around agricultural reform,nclimate change adaptation, access to markets and safeguarding seed stocks. The event heard from Andy Baker, Oxfam Country Director, Ms Marifat Shokirova, Head of Department of International Relations of the State Committee for Women and Family Affairs and from Ms Tojinisso Nasiorova, Head of Department of Science of the Ministry of Agriculture. Also speaking at the event were some women smallholder farmers from a village in Hissar District.

11:50 GMT

“Chakula Haki Yetu” (Food, our right)

The African launch of the GROW campaign went on late into the night in Nairobi. Renowned Kenyan singer Sara Mitaru kicked off events with a tribute to African women, and the crowd of 200 people from more than 20 countries all over Africa were still dancing a few hours later.

In between Evelyne Khaemba, who grows sugarcane in the west of Kenya, talked of the difficulties for women farmers: “Land in this country belongs to men – it’s very difficult for women to access and own. We have no rights. To farm you need capital – but to get capital you need a title deed to the land, and only about one percent of women have one.”

She urged the audience: “Let us join hands to save the woman farmer.”

The launch took place amid protests in Nairobi over rising food prices. Mary Wandia, Oxfam’s gender justice campaigner, called on governments to respond quickly: “Costs are skyrocketing. We’ve seen the Walk to Work campaign in Uganda and now protests in Kenya. We are not going to have food secure societies when we are food insecure.”

Copies of Oxfam’s “Growing a Better Future” report were handed over to high level guests, including representatives from the African Union and the head of the African Court of Human Rights.

Others in attendance included farmers, activists, pastoralists and civil society from across the continent. The launch was part of a conference on African Women’s Land Rights, and the issue of land grabs by foreign companies was raised as one of the biggest threats – whether for tourism, exports or biofuels. “We need to stop using grain for producing fuel,” said Wandia. “It’s unfair when people are sleeping hungry.”

The launch took place on Kenya’s independence day.

Oxfam’s Marc Wegerif called for a new food independence for Africa: “This is the continent suffering the worst food injustices. More than 50 years after the first African countries celebrated independence – and today Kenya – we still see too many of our children stunted by malnutrition. This is a tragedy we should be angry about. There cannot be independence when we rely on food aid to feed our people.”

Follow us on Twitter @OxfamEAfrica

Read more about the GROW campaign in Africa

11:20 GMT

Nigeria’s launch event was full of colour, music and drama. The team wore matching dresses, shirts and sashes to signify unity, synergy and a singularity of thought and action. Members of the Nigerian media, radio and television attended.

There was drumming, drama and dance performances by a local group called Bella Wahala (In pigeon English Bella: means Belly and Wahala: means trouble) They wowed the audience with their energy and creativity. There were also two solo dances and singing performances by Modina.

Then we got to the serious part. People spoke to the audience about issues around food security. We highlighted the role of media in this and presenters expressed their excitement about the launch of GROW campaign. A post card calling for President Goodluck Jonathan to take action to help small-scale farmers within the country was distributed among the audience.

20:00 GMT

Indonesian journalists attend GROW discussion

A group of select journalists were invited to a briefing and discussion about GROW. Roysepta Abimanyu discussed the Oxfam campaign report, Growing a Better Future, and Tejo Wahyu Jatmiko from Aliansi untuk Desa Sejahtera provided insight on food justice issue in Indonesia.

18:30 GMT

Campaigners hold picnics to launch GROW across United Kingdom

Oxfam volunteers in brand new GROW T-shirts took to iconic Picadilly Gardens in Manchester to discuss a recipe for better ways to grow, share and live together. They created a recipe to fix the broken food system across the UK and the world:

First off we need to add a bunch of awareness for the broken system.

Spread this liberally, and then stir in a healthy dash of support for the 1 in 7 people who go to bed hungry every night.

Next sieve the unnecessary parts of the food system, so that food will be more equally distributed and less waste will be generated.

Then fold in investment in research and development for smallholder farmers as well as basic irrigation techniques.

Let this settle, before adding a splash of transparency about who is controlling the food markets and a spoon of regulation of speculation on commodity prices.

To garnish, sprinkle a generous helping of fairness and justice on top and why not add some hot sauce to spice things up as the global food system needs a kick up the bum to restore justice to small farm holders.

This recipe goes well with a side dish of more veggies and fruit bought from local farmers.

(Written by Chris Ashworth - Manchester Oxfam group volunteer)

Oxfam Midlands volunteers held picnics in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, Coventry, Stratford upon Avon and Leamington Spa. In each place activists and supporters came to show their support for GROW by pledging to take part in future actions and telling 10 friends about the campaign.

Ramona, Chair of Birmingham Council of Faiths said "GROW is incredibly important and I'm so glad Oxfam are doing something about the food injustices the world's poorest people face."

Hundreds of people attended picnics in Wales. Picnics took place across England including an Oxfam Bookshop in London.


17:50 GMT

Oxfam Ireland campaigners 'wait' on table for nine billion

Dressed as waiters serving a table for 9 billion, Oxfam campaigners took to the streets of Dublin and Belfast today to launch the GROW campaign.

Our giant globes were enough to grab the attention of passers-by and get them involved in a conversation about food that is now happening all over the world. Addressing the crowd, Oxfam Ireland Chief Executive, Jim Clarken, said “GROW is Oxfam’s new campaign to ensure we grow, share and live better together”.

At the stunt in Dublin celebrity Chef Clodagh McKenna explained that GROW was a campaign “for the billions of us who eat food and over a billion men and women who grow it”. See more photos from the event


17:37 GMT

EU Brussels, European working lunch to feed nine billion

The Oxfam International EU team in Brussels also participated in the working-lunch sitting of the European ‘big heads‘ outside the European Parliament, organised by Oxfam Belgium (see 12:45 GMT).

Colourful copies of the European Union GROW briefing note prepared for the launch outlining the steps the EU must take towards assuring global food security ‘Averting Tomorrow's Global Food Crisis’ were distributed.

We placed an opinion article in the name of Jean Ziegler, former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food ) in a leading EU media outlet. International news agency Reuters covered GROW from the EU perspective in the article ‘EU accused of dragging feet on global food security’.

To coincide with the launch of the GROW campaign, the EU office has launched a blog and now tweets at @OxfamEU.

Contact: Angela Corbalan on or + 32 473 56 22 60 Twitter: @AngelaCorbalan

Check out the photos on Flickr

17:00 GMT

Watch the Live-Stream of Oxfam Mexico's CRECE (GROW) Launch

Watch the discussion about the CRECE campaign (in Spanish) from Blanca Aurora Rubio Vega, Dolores Rojas Rubio, Javier Solórzano(Moderador), Luis Gómez Oliver, Omar Musalem López, Raúl Argüelles,  Víctor Suárez Carrera on Oxfam Mexico's CRECE campaign site.


16:20 GMT

Watch the Live-Stream of Oxfam America's  GROW Launch.

Join special guests Academy Award-nominated actor Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond, In America), UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Olivier De Schutter, bestselling author on world hunger and cofounder of The Small Planet Institute Frances Moore Lappé (Diet for a Small Planet is celebrating its 40th anniversary), Dr. Cheryl Smith, President of Trillium and immediate past Chair of the Social Investment Forum, and Oxfam America President Ray Offenheiser as we kick off our global campaign in the US.

Link here for an Ad Free live-stream or watch below for an Ad supported version

Live TV : Ustream


15:30 GMT

Strong show of support for the GROW campaign in Tanzania

The GROW campaign launched in Tanzania with a strong show of support from local civil society organisations who joined Oxfam GROW Ambassador, actor Mr Stephen Kunabma and Oxfam staff to   in unveil at a special GROW event. 

The  audience took part in a debate about the impact of food security on rural communities  and found out more from Oxfam Country Director and Advoacy Co-ordination - Moinca Forman  and Mwanahamisi Salimu - about why Oxfam started the campaign.

The highlight of the event was when Oxfam Abassador Mr Stephen Kanumba unveiled the images of women farmers which he signed to show his support for the aims of the GROW campaign. Mr Kanumba was then joined by representatives from TGNP - Tanzania Gender Network Program, the hosts who have an ongoing Economic Justice campaign, Care, MVIWATA - a farmers organisation, TAMWA - Tanzania Media Women Association,  University of Dar es Salaam  - Gender Club and Food Lecturer's organisation (UDASA), Haki Ardhi - a land rights organisation, DUCE - a human rights organisation, FEMACT, NFRA - National Food Reserve Authority, farmers from surrounding neighbourhoods of Dar es Salaam  among others in adding their names in support of the GROW campaign. 

Mr Kanumba , who has travelled with Oxfam to see for himself how rural communities and in particular women are affected by the food price rises, land grabs, climate change and small scale farming.  Mr Kanumba said: “People in the rural areas get by with porridge for breakfast and Ugali (stiff porridge) in the evening.  This is because their fields are dry from drought caused by climate change.  We in the urban areas talk about having breakfast and meals!  Food security issues are very real especially in the rural areas".

15:00 GMT

The big Dutch food conversation has begun

Dolf Janssen, national star of broadcast and comedy, has pledged his support to the GROW campaign in the Netherlands (video below).

He joined a range of supporters to launch the GROW campaign in the Netherlands. Authors of Oxfam report ‘Who Will Feed the World’, Lucie Wegner and Gine Swart, staged a heated debate, including the pros and cons of private land ownership.

In the Netherlands, the big food conversation has definitely begun. The media coverage was rich and diverse, including a feature piece by Professor Martin van Ittersum from the University of Wageningen questioning the impact of food price rises, a national radio debate with Tom van der Lee, Oxfam Novib’s campaign director setting out the problems of a broken food system and Oxfam’svision for a better future, and a full page article Volkskrant by a professor at the University ofAmsterdam who, says that Oxfam is too alarmist. There is no  link to the volkskrant as this article only appeared in printed version.

Coming soon: the Pinkpop rock festival in two weeks, where the campaignwill launch to music lovers from across the country.

Visit Oxfam Novib's website for more about GROW

14:30 GMT

South Africa, launch of Grow campaign report, English

African spears and mashed green banana

Dance troupe The African Spears greeted guests arriving for the launch of the GROW campaign report in South Africa. The event included a celebration of food from across Africa, with a menu that included Zulu Spinach and ground nuts, Xhosa samp and beans, Pedi mealie-meal with pumpkin, Mashed green banana with ground nut sauce from Uganda, and cassava root couscous with fried fish from Cote D’Ivoire.

African Spears leader Mmotsi Nobela said he supports the GROW campaign because "it is a call to governments to revise their strategies in terms of food systems. Clearly the system doesn't help the poor or the country. It's only empowering the multinational companies to pursue their own profit goals."

Desmond D'sa from Oxfam partner organisation, the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance, said: "Laws must be made binding on governments, and implemented, to ensure that everyone has access to food, and not just the few."

South Africa is host to the COP 17 climate change summit, coming up in Durban in December, and the GROW campaign will be using the momentum towards the COP to make the links between a changing climate and the food on our plates.

13:15 GMT

Australia launch GROW with live-streamed Future of Food forum

Oxfam Australia launched the GROW campaign by hosting a forum entitled The Future of Food, which  was simultaneously livestreamed on on their new GROW campaign website.

Over 100 people representating organisations such as the  the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Australian National University, RMIT University, Melbourne University, Victoria University, Victorian Farmers Federation, Heart Foundation, Australian Conservation  Foundation, Biological Farmers of Australia, FairTrade Association, Department of Primary Industries, United Nations Association of Australia & local governments, were joined by a leading bloggers to find out more about the GROW campagin.

The livestream of the forum saw over 250+ people tuning in to watch the live feed and encouraged conversation on Twitter, using the hashtag #FutureofFood, which proved so popular it appeared as a trending tweet.

Speakers at the included Andrew Hewett - Executive Director of Oxfam Australia, Ego Lemos - Community Leader and Musician from Timor Leste, Russell Shields - Food Development Manager of SecondBite, Jennifer Alden - CEO of Cultivating Community and Julie Goodwin, winner of MasterChef Australia, with  by ABC radio broadcaster, Hilary Harper moderating. Video of the forum will be avialable at the Oxfam Australia GROW site soon.

Our speakers raised many of the key topics within the GROW campaign: waste, support for small-scale producers, the impacts of changing weather patterns and climate change, as well as raising some questions about how the solutions can be found. In particular, Ego Lemos spoke with passion about the impact of single-crop intensive farming in Timor Leste and the changing diets of people as a result. Our Q&A session raised some good questions both from the audience as well as via the Twitter stream.

Our GROW ambassador Julie Goodwin has also starred in a video advertising the importance of the campaign:

Visit Oxfam Australia's website for more about GROW

12:45 GMT

Belgium: European big heads at a working lunch to feed nine billion on the planet Oxfam Belgium today organized a working lunch in Brussels for European big heads Nicolas Sarkozy, Angela Merkel, David Cameron, Silvio Berlusconi and Yves Leterme. The European leaders were all invited to sit around tomorrow’s table. Oxfam asked them to put their heads together to formulate a menu to feed nine billion. That is how many we will be in 2050.

Oxfam Belgium’s policy adviser on food Thierry Kesteloot said at the media-event: "The potent combination of power, policies and financial punch gives the European Union the potential to shape the global food security debate. But instead, Europe is sleeping at the dinner table as the world enters into an unprecedented and avoidable reversal in human development." 

At the same time chef campaigners for GROEI / CULTIVONS - the Dutch and French translation for GROW - asked people for support for Oxfam’s new campaign. They handed out fair trade biscuits to passers-by and encouraged them to take action by asking Belgian and EU policy makers to ensure everyone has enough to eat. A member of public said "I support Oxfam’s GROW campaign, as I believe everyone should have enough to eat."

Photos: please embed the Flickr slideshow in your article or pick any picture you might like.

12:00 pm GMT

Oxfam India launches GROW

Oxfam India simultaneously launched the GROW campaign in Delhi, Lucknow, Patna, Mumbai, Guwahati and Hyderabad via a livestreamed Press Conference and unveiling of their new GROW campaign site. 

More events are planned for later in the evening focusing on how people can show their support for the GROW campaign via creative expression.

Oxfam India has teamed up with renowed musican Sandeep who composed "Roti Rooti'' especially for the GROW  launch.  Sandeep said "Roti Rooti, encompasses all the issues, pertaining to hunger, the shrinking lands for agriculture, women farmers and their plight, the problem of plenty versus starvation and how lack of political will is responsible for the situation -- it presents the power and politics of food in a subtle manner  It also showcases the debilitating effect of hunger and how it leaves the body, mind and spirit shattered"  Watch Roti Roothi below.

Visit Oxfam India’s GROW pages to find more about the campaign in India including a series of videos that look at the how Food, Land Grabs, Climate Change and Agriculture affects people in India


11:00am GMT

In Rome, today people from all over the world gathered around a huge banquet while the italian actress Serena Autieri and an Italian Chef were serving a meal for everyone. Meanwhile, across Italy many others have supported the new GROW campaign. From Cavour's statue in Padua, to Dante, to the famous piglet in Florence, all spoke out in favour of a change, new solutions and better food for everyone in the world.

Valentina Montanaro, Oxfam campaigner said, "A billion people go to bed hungry every night. This is a scandal in a world able to produce enough food for all."

See more photos from Italy

Visit Oxfam Italy's website


10:30am GMT

More from Oxfam New Zealand and their Cookies, Conversation and Commodity Crops. As well as giving out over 20,000 cookies to commuters, they made this video to highlight the injustice of our broken food system. On one side, we have a commodities trader making a killing in profits, while next to him we have a small-scale woman farmer struggling to feed her own family.

8:30am GMT

Listen to this: Oxfam Great Britain's Chief Exec, Barbara Stocking, on the Radio 4 Today Programme talking about the need to invest in small-holder farming.  'In the future there will not be enough food'

More from our friends over in New Zealand where the launch of GROW has made a splash in the New Zealand Herald

8:00am GMT

Morning everyone, or evening if you're a hardly soul still awake in the Americas. It's Ian Sullivan here, and I'll be bringing you the latest action as Europe wakes up and announces the launch of GROW.

To kick off, I wanted to share this video from former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula De Silva. He explains why this campaign is so important.


Oxfam is launching the GROW campaign in 43 countries on 1 June 2011. We'll be reporting on all the action from around the world on this blog. Keep checking and refreshing  this page for updates from 22:00 GMT May 31 - 24:00 GMT June 1.

1:30am GMT

Hope you have enjoyed the first few events and videos from GROW.  We will be back at 8:00am GMT on June 1 with more updates and reports from around the world.

1:00 GMT

Future of Food - Oxfam Australia Live Stream

Oxfam Australia's new food justice campaign launches at the Wheeler Centre, Melbourne at 11am on 1 June, 2011.

The live stream will discuss issues such as: the world produces enough food to feed everyone, yet one in seven people go hungry. This is one of numerous factors demonstrating that our global food system is broken. But how to fix it?

Discussing this question will be Andrew Hewett - Oxfam Australia Executive Director, Ego Lemos - Community Leader & Musician, Russell Shields – Food Program Development Manager,  SecondBite, Jennifer Alden – CEO, Cultivating Community Julie Goodwin - Australian Masterchef Winner and Oxfam Grow Amabassador.

Find out more about the Live Stream  and Oxfam Australia's Grow Launch.

Tune in to the live video stream below, and join in the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #FutureofFood 

Video streaming by Ustream

00:30 GMT

Cookies, Conversation and Commodity Crops – Oxfam New Zealand launches GROW Across the country, thousands of commuters were greeted on ferries, stations and in city centres by Oxfam staff and volunteers wearing Fairtrade GROW t-shirts. We were offering Anzac cookies, the chance to have a chat and to find out more about the GROW campaign.

Michael Smith, who was handing out the cookies said, “People seemed really interested in what we were saying – asking questions, or where to find out more information, and why Oxfam was focusing on food injustice. Plus it was easy to get people interested – everyone loves a free cookie!”

A little later in the morning the Oxfam team grabbed the attention of city workers in the bustling Chancery area of downtown Auckland, by theatrically illustrating how commodity crop trading is affecting small-scale farmers. 

As the crowds gathered Advocacy and Campaigns Director, John Stansfield, introduced the GROW campaign to the eager New Zealand public and media by saying, “People are hungry because their land has been stolen, people are hungry because of climate change, people are hungry because their plants have been patented. Oxfam New Zealand hopes the GROW campaign will put pressure on Governments to act.” Find out more about Oxfam New Zealand GROW campaign activities on and see photos from their launch on Flickr

23:45 GMT

Dolf Jansen, a Dutch Broadcaster, Comedian and most importantly an Oxfam Novib ambassador, shares why he supports the GROW campaign.

23:00 GMT

Watch our GROW campaign video, share it with your friends and encourge them to Join GROW

22:30 GMT

The Story of GROW.

Oxfam International's Executive Director, Jeremey Hobbs discusses why Oxfam started the GROW campaign.

22:00 GMT

Hi. It's Conor and Karina from the GROW team. We are really excited to be sharing the launch of Oxfam’s new campaign, GROW, from our friends and partners around the world.




Over the next few hours we will have updates from Oxfam New Zealand’s cookie communications, our super catchy campaign video and more information on what Grow is all about. At 1:00am GMT we will bring you a live stream of Oxfam Australia’s Future of Food discussion.

And, that’s just for starters.

If you have any comments or questions leave a message in our comments section below.














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