That question is at the heart of the documentary Seed: The Untold Story, which is now making its rounds at theaters nationwide. While science and data abound, director takes viewers on a ride through the ins and outs behind the battle for life on earth. Watch the trailer and you will get the gist on the narrative: Massive seed companies have patented their way into controlling almost the entire global food system, which has drastic consequences for people and planet.
But in terms of message and production quality, it’s far from the grassroots, extra crunchy eco-docs of yesteryear. The lovely time-lapse scenes are backed by gorgeous macro-photo landscapes. As well, the doc draws in green foodies with stories of rare and interesting ethnic meals that reflect the beauty and magic of seeds.
After telling viewers that 94% of plant seed varieties were lost over the 20th century, the film does an interesting job of introducing us to those fighting to spare that ever-important six percent. Well-known interviews include nature-warriors like Jane Goodall attacking former Monsanto lawyer Clarence Thomas, who cast a deciding vote to allow the company’s patents on DNA. Vandana Shiva is also featured as she reports on her effort to save seeds from non-GMO crops across India, comparing her activism to that of Gandhi’s homespun-cloth campaign against British imports in India just after World War I.
The director statement reads: “More than a cautionary tale of ‘man against nature,’ the remarkable story of seeds is an epic ‘good-versus-evil’ saga playing out in our modern lives. For eons, cultures around the world have believed seeds to be our birthright: a covenant with the earth shared by all and passed down across generations.”
SEED is Executive Produced by Academy Award Winning actress Marisa Tomei, Marc Turtletaub (Little Miss Sunshine) and Phil Fairclough (Grizzly Man, Cave of Forgotten Dreams). Directed by Taggart Siegel and Jon Betz.