SEED: THE UNTOLD STORY (94 NR)
ONE NIGHT ONLY – Thursday, February 16th at 7 pm
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.
Directors: Jon Betz, Taggart Siegel
Stars: Vandana Shiva, Andrew Kimbrell, Jane Goodall
Seed: The Untold Story is the rare documentary from filmmakers who are not just capable but also in love with their craft. It’s a wonder of photography, animation, and sound, and it’s a testament to its editors that the many interviews with activists and scientists are compelling and informative, sometimes even poetic. “This is the variety that explains why ‘O’ is the biggest section of the Boston phone directory,” says one farmer about the strain of potato brought over by starving Irish immigrants.
Seeds are tiny capsules of potential life that, collected properly, ensure that we can eat year after year. But many superior seed varieties are being eliminated by chemical corporations like Syngenta, Bayer, and Monsanto, which employ underhanded tactics to spread and protect their patented hybrids (and profits).
The film’s science is occasionally tenuous: There’s not enough evidence to assess claims that allergies and cancers are caused by those companies’ products. But that’s on them, too, considering how they quash the studies that would shed some light.
Directors Taggart Siegel and Jon Betz, in their third film on food and ecology, demonstrate how scientists, farmers, seed geeks, Native Americans, and others protect biodiversity and global livelihoods against the ravages of climate change and capitalism by saving and swapping rare and essential seeds.
But capitalism may help them, as long as consumers pay attention to well-researched works like this and limit their gardens and dinner tables to plants grown from non-agribusiness-tainted, local or organic — and sometimes downright gorgeous — seeds.
-DAPHNE HOWLAND, VILLAGE VOICE