Funding & funding policy

LandRush is an independent, non-partisan art, journalism, and research project. We prize our carefully cultivated reputation for impartial, high-quality reportage and assessments and our ability to inform the public with our work above all else.

We take ethics seriously. While LandRush’s scope includes many disciplines, it is firmly rooted in journalism. We believe that any valid consideration of a vital social issue such as global agriculture must begin with a comprehensive, fair, and compassionate assessment and documentation of its social and environmental consequences. Accordingly, we take appropriate steps to maintain the utmost journalistic standards.

We also believe that transparency is critical to maintaining trust in our reporting. The question of where our income comes from is central to this transparency. There are two areas that we believe are important: The funding for LandRush itself, as well as our personal income. Both could influence or appear to influence our reporting. While we have mostly been able to finance the project through revenue and grants generated by LandRush since 2007, we couldn’t pay ourselves a regular salary. Consequently, we earn our income by teaching photography, filmmaking, journalism, and eco-social design at universities, journalism schools, and workshops worldwide, project coaching, and occasional photography assignments.

Funding for LandRush comes from various sources: media publications, exhibition and speaking fees, journalism, art, film, and foundation grants, individual donations, and products such as LandRush publications. No funding body, grant, or sponsor ever gets any editorial influence on the content we produce. Sometimes, however, we adjust our proposals to fit the grants we apply for. So if the grant is for science journalism, environmental or investigative reporting, we focus our proposal on this aspect of our research, but that never influences the final publication.

 Below is a graphic showing our funding and a list of all our significant financing since 2007. We try to update the graphic and the list whenever possible for a small team of two independent journalists.

German Federal Filmboard (FFA)

The German Federal Film Board (FFA) partly funded our upcoming experimental documentary Frozen Echoes. The funding is the prize money for the German Short Film Award (LOLA) 2018, which we won for the production of Ann-Sophie Lindström’s documentary The Bitter with the Sweet.

Stiftung Kulturwerk of the VG-Bild-Kunst​

The Stiftung Kulturwerk of the VG-Bild-Kunst supported LandRush with five grants that kickstarted the chapters in Brazil, Ethiopia, Iowa, Germany, the American West, and the newest chapter about desert agricultural practices.VG Bild-Kunst is an association with over 54,000 members: artists who create works in the visual sector and have organized themselves into a society to jointly administer those copyright claims that cannot be realistically administered individually. The German Copyright Administration Act requires the society to use a certain proportion of the income it receives from the management of copyrights to promote cultural objectives. The Stiftung Kulturwerk cultural foundation carries out this cultural mandate. It supports projects and programs, awards grants to photographers, illustrators, graphic artists, and graphic designers, and sponsors projects of cultural significance in the film industry.

Filmwerkstatt Kiel der Filmförderung Hamburg-Schleswig-Holstein GmbH​

Filmwerkstatt Kiel der Filmförderung Hamburg-Schleswig-Holstein GmbH supported the chapters in Ethiopia and Brazil with little research and production grants and the chapter on the Salton Sea with a research grant.
Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein supports cinema films and exceptional TV productions of all genres. It provides financial support for all phases of film projects, from the first script drafts through production to sales, distribution, and festival presentations. Its aims include improving the region’s film industry infrastructure, supporting young creative talent and career changers in practical production work, and professionalizing media work. It supports scripts, project development, production, and sales through conditionally repayable loans.

Dachstiftung/GLS Treuhand e.V.

Dachstiftung/GLS Treuhand e.V. supported us in 2018 with a grant to publish LandRush over various channels and develop the multimedia publishing tools for RiffReporter e.G. The GLS Treuhand is a non-profit association committed to supporting projects for an active, democratic and open society. In the civil society action area, they respond to social developments and the needs of a vibrant civil society. They constantly exchange with initiatives, organizations, donors, and social movements to gain a comprehensive picture – and provide support where needed. They focus on quality journalism, democracy and human rights development, and civic energy.

Greenpeace Photo Award

The Greenpeace Photo Award provided less than 25 % of the travel costs for the story about the Colorado River. The Greenpeace Photo Award supports the production of innovative photographic works that focus on environmental topics. The awarded series are published in GEO magazine and exhibited at the Coalmine in Winterthur and the Museum der Arbeit in Hamburg. An independent jury of magazine editors and art curators determines the winners of the award.

Netzwerk Recherche / Olin gGmbH

The netzwerk recherche / Olin grant for investigative environmental journalism supported our Salton Sea chapter with a 5000 € research grant. netzwerk recherche e.V. (nr) is a registered not-for-profit association of journalists founded in 2001. netzwerk recherche is an independent organization and only pursues goals with a clear public benefit. The organization seeks to improve the quality of media coverage using investigative journalism methods. To facilitate investigative journalism, the association awards scholarships to journalists. In addition, every servitor is assigned a mentor to support and advise them.

Kulturelle Filmförderung Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

Kulturelle Filmförderung Mecklenburg-Vorpommern supported the story about organic agriculture and land use policies in Germany with a small research grant. Kulturelle Filmförderung supports scripts, project development, production, and sales of independent creatives in the film industry of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

Punkt Award for Science Journalism

The Punkt Award for Science Journalism provided part of the travel costs for the story about the continuing drought in California.
The Punkt Award for Science Journalism aims to promote the debate in society about science and innovation. It is an initiative by acatech, the National Academy of Science and Engineering, that represents the interests of the German scientific and technological communities at home and abroad. It is an autonomous, independent non-profit organization. As a working academy, acatech supports policy-makers and society, providing qualified technical evaluations and forward-looking recommendations. An independent jury of media professionals judges the Punkt Award.

Deutscher Künstlerbund - Neustart Kultur

During the fellowship “Module D: Digital Mediation Formats” granted by the Deutscher Künstlerbund e.V., we developed a concept for the new interactive LandRush website and digital publishing strategy. It will make our research experienceable online and mobile and open up the archive of about 100 films and interviews to a broad social debate.
The fellowship is part of the federal program NEUSTART KULTUR of the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM) that supported a new start of cultural life in Germany in times of Corona and afterward. The fellowship “Module D: Digital Mediation Formats” was intended for visual artists to develop innovative projects in contemporary, digital, and media-based art and to enable artists to break new ground by creating and realizing digital projects. 

ifa - Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen

The ifa supported our participation at the World of Matter exhibition in Montreal and Minneapolis, and the LandRush exhibition at the Centre national de l’audiovisuel (CNA) in Dudelange, Luxemburg. The ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) is committed to peaceful and enriching coexistence between people and cultures worldwide. It promotes art and cultural exchange in exhibitions, dialogue, and conference programs. As a competence center for international cultural relations, ifa connects civil societies, cultural practices, art, media, and science. The ifa has a global network and counts on long-term cooperation. It is supported by the Federal Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany, the state of Baden-Württemberg, and its capital Stuttgart.


LandRush stories have been published by Der Spiegel, GEO, Geo International, Geolino, Südeutsche Zeitung, Cicero, Leica Fotografie International, Forschungsfelder, Sag Was,  Kontinente, and Science Notes. We also provided images to the Open Society Foundation, the World Press Foundation, and Greenpeace publications.


hArtware Medien-Kunstverein Dortmund, James Gallery at CUNY New York, Leonard&Bina Ellen Gallery Montreal, Katherine E. Nash Galery Minneapolis, Museum Arnhem, HEK (Haus der Elektronischen Künste)Basel, Museum der Arbeit Hamburg, Coalmine Gallery Winterthur, Photobastei Zürich, Food Phoro Festival Velje, Centre national de l’audiovisuel (CNA) Dudelange, MQ Freiraum Vienna, Bombay Beach Biennale

Talks + Educational Institutions

Tensta Konsthall, Agents in the Anthropocene Symposium at the Piet Swart Institute, Whitechapel Gallery, Colorado River Distict, Zentrale Landesbibliothek Berlin (ZLB), HSLU Lucerne, Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Fotografie Forum Frankfurt, Nature Film Festival Innsbruck, DJU in Verdi, Riff – Masterclass Wissenschaftsjournalismus, DJV (German Journalism Association), Studio Brandlhuber at ETH, University Freiburg, FH Vorarlberg