Seed: The Untold Story

Synopsis: SEED: The Untold Story follows passionate seed keepers protecting our 12,000 year-old food legacy. In the last century, 94% of our seed varieties have disappeared. As chemical companies control the majority of our seeds, farmers, scientists, lawyers, and indigenous seed keepers fight a David and Goliath battle to defend the future of our food. In a harrowing and heartening story, these reluctant heroes rekindle a lost connection to our most treasured resource and revive a culture connected to seeds.
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Jon Betz (co-director), Taggart Siegel (co-director)
Production: Collective Eye
  1 win.
Rotten Tomatoes:
94 min


(calm and earthly strings music)

(seeds shake and rattle)

(soft and chill strings music)

When I first came here,

we are a hippy, back to

nature, self-sufficient thing.

We were watching too

many David Crockett,

Daniel Boone movies

and reading too much Thoreau.

(man sings song in

foreign language)

We were trying to seek

a different vision.

The first time I saw bean

collections and so on,

it was like woo, a

jewelry store, lit up,

and I've always just been

dazzled by diversity.

I don't like people that

are all straight, all gay,

all communist, all Christian,

let them all be there

and absolutely the

different kinds of seeds.

My great grandfather

was a farmer.

Looking through our

family photo album,

I just wish that I could like

somehow step into that photo,

say "Hi great grandma.

It's me, Billy,

"can I have some of these?"

because I know for a fact

that 90 something percent of

the things are now extinct.

They're my family,

and they're gone.

I have this horrible

vision someday

that the creator would look down

and he'd come look

around and say,

"Well, where is this,

well where did that go?

"I created this,

where did it go?

"How come it's not here?"

I see myself as Noah, not God.

Noah didn't get to decide

whether the crocodiles

came on the Ark or not,

or the black flies.

His job was to load 'em on,

ok, that's my job.

I have thousands of varieties

that I am maintaining,

People of the future, plant

breeders, and gardeners,

they will decide.

What the heck did

Will save that for?

I don't get to

make that decision.

My job is to keep

these all on the Ark,

keep them alive for

40 days and 40 nights

until the flood's over.

I may discover 10 years from now

that that seed will

be in huge demand

because it has in its genes

some resistance to some disease

which is only now evolving.

In many many cases,

what I've got is not

available anywhere else.

She's my sweetheart.

The year that I fail

to grow a variety

is the year it is lost to me.

And in some cases perhaps

lost to the planet,

some of these things are right

on the edge of extinction.

(calm and relaxing

strings music)

We have this collection

of several hundred

potatoes that are

purple or black skinned

and with yellow flesh,

some with a purple skin

hot pink flecks in them.

We have in the collection

a variety of lumpers.

Most of the Irish in the 1830s

and 40s were growing lumpers,

big yielder,

and none of those varieties

had any resistance

to late blight.

This is the potato that

killed a million Irishmen.

Because of the fact that

they were the one or two

or three varieties that

were totally vulnerable.

This is the variety

that explains why O

is the biggest section of the

South Boston phone directory.

Genetic diversity is the hedge

between us and global famine.

(soft, somber strings music)

The diversity in our seed

stocks is as endangered

as a panda or a golden eagle

or a polar bear right now.

We have the largest

seed shortage

in history.

(moves into calm ambient music)

It's this beautiful dance

between the plant

and the humans,

that find each other

and make a culture possible.

In Mesoamerica over

10,000 years ago,

corn found humans,

and humans found corn.

Corn really is this

beautiful co-creation

between plants and humans.

The domestication of corn

was centered in the

Oaxacan Valley of Mexico.

The incredible evolutionary

leaps that we took with corn

is a miracle.

It ignited this

sacred connection that

Corn seeds moved along the

entire spine of the Americas.

It became this revolution,

it became this new way of

being able to feed ourselves.

It's what fueled you from

a small tribe to an empire.

Spies and traders and

anyone who was around

and saw what it was doing

grabbed a handful and took off.

It took 4,700 years to

get it to the U.S. border.

Then about a thousand years ago,

corn is everywhere in what we

now call the United States.

(moves into soft

and melodic music)

[Rowen] Corn becomes

so elastic and adaptive

that now we see corn being

grown on every continent.

As keepers of the corn,

the corn has come up with

us though our migrations,

sustaining us.

(man speaks in a Native

American language)

Our first mothers

were the Blue Corn

and White Corn women.

This is my grandmother,

my grandfather,

my mom, my dad, my

brother, my sister,

my kids, my

grandkids and myself.

We all are one.

My father said "Son,

"never, never let

go of the corn.

"When I pass on,

"carry on the way of the corn."

I've always been a

farmer all my life.

From the day that

I can remember,

I was out there with

my grandparents,

my uncles and my father.

The spiritual people

gave us the corn.

They say when the

corn hears you,

then they start dancing with

you with the leaves fluttering.

Crow, crow damage, but

we still bring it in.

Everything is brought in.

People are too attracted

to the big and beautiful.

But the Hopi woman

and man say that

even this little

one here is special,

because every corn

seed has life.

Everything is special.

And I'll plant these,

I'll plant this.

We don't throw them away.

We take care of them.

In the womb, human

people are seeds.

We see the seeds,

being planted into the

womb of the mother earth.

They may be calling me daddy

and say "Daddy, I'm glad I'm

here with you," you know,

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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