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seed: the untold story - a documentary following the history and perilous future of food crop biodiversity

Posted: October 2 2020

Over the last century, "94% of our seed diversity has disappeared". In this documentary, follow passionate seedkeepers and activists to unbury the history and future of seeds.

From the directors, Jon Betz and Taggart Siegel:

"The story of our seeds is a defining story of our time. Caught between the runaway juggernaut of industrial agriculture and the ecological, cultural, and spiritual destruction in its wake, seeds offer us a profound chance to restore mutual harmony between people and planet. They are the eternal promise of an abundant new world waiting to be born. But the time for this redemption is running out. In telling this story, we aim to bring into clear focus the beauty, hope, and magic that seeds represent for humanity at this critical juncture.

For years, we have passionately made films that reveal our deep connection to nature and our food. The Real Dirt on Farmer John (2005), tells the story of a maverick farmer who saves his family farm against all odds. Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us? (2010) investigates the mysterious colony collapse disorder ravaging honeybees around the world.

SEED: The Untold Story began with an article in National Geographic reported that up to 96% of the vegetable seeds available in 1903 have disappeared. Within moments we knew that was our next film. The speed and scope of this loss is staggering, and its implications for our future are stark. As the renowned naturalist and author Gary Paul Nabhan puts it, “Many of our seeds today are as endangered as a panda or polar bear.” In an era of climate uncertainty, this dearth of diversity is a recipe for catastrophic crop failure and human suffering– not unlike The Great Famine of Ireland that saw the starvation of nearly a million people when their sole crop variety, a potato, was wiped out by blight. SEED explores a topic that is still largely unknown, yet it is increasingly urgent with climate change and the consolidation and control of the seed industry.

“Many of our seeds today are as endangered as a panda or polar bear.” - Gary Paul Nahban, Agricultural Ecologist and Ethnobotanist

SEED completes a trilogy of films that uncovers the invisible connections between our food and the natural world. As we filmed seed savers, farmers, scientists and indigenous communities for SEED, we were struck by how little their voices are heard. SEED presents audiences with a hidden fabric of our food, the people that painstakingly and meticulously curate the diversity of our food. The film charts a David and Goliath battle as these marginalized people fight the large corporate power of chemical companies that now control the majority of our food."

See trailer below:

Learn more and find places to watch the full movie at SEED: THE UNTOLD STORY.