Watch the 4 minute taster of our upcoming Seeds of Justice film here.
The Guardian has released a short edit of our upcoming film, Seeds of Justice, to accompany its coverage of the G8 ‘New Alliance’. Created by Gaia in partnership with the African Biodiversity Network and MELCA Ethiopia, and due for release in Autumn 2014, the film is the last in the Seeds of Freedom Series.
Following the life of Dr Melaku Worede, former head of Ethiopia’s national seed bank, the film explores his work to embrace participatory plant breeding, redignify farmer’s expert ecological knowledge and to conserve Ethiopia’s precious seed diversity.
In response to the 1984 Ethiopian famine, Melaku went against the grain of top-down scientific seed preservation, opening the Ethiopian seed bank’s doors to farmers and rural communities to prevent it from becoming an obsolete ‘seed morgue’. Drawing deeply on farmers knowledge and establishing partnerships with rural communities, his work has since helped to pioneer forms of living conservation that rest in the hands of farmers. Such as the community seed banks that farmers are using to conserve and revive Ethiopia’s diverse, indigenous seeds.
Melaku’s recognition of farmers knowledge, and his willingness to work with and for them, is the antithesis of the G8′s plans for agriculture in Africa. It’s New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (NAFSAN) is encouraging African governments to introduce policy changes around seed, land, tax and trade that favour foreign investors over diverse groups of small farmers. Guided by the interests of giant corporate agribusinesses this process has been negotiated behind closed doors.
The G8’s initiative has couched its interventions in terms of investment for agricultural ‘growth’ and poverty alleviation, but it could be better described as a new wave of colonialism in Africa. The New Alliance will place increased control over seed and large swathes of prime agricultural land in the hands of foreign corporations, and represents a significant challenge to the food sovereignty of small African farmers. It threatens the cultural and biological diversity that, as Gaia’s Seeds for Life Report revealed, is so key for agriculture to flourish and adapt to climate change.
Seeds of Justice will illuminate a different path into the future. One in which the small-farmers who produce 70% of the world’s food are empowered through co-operation with scientists like Melaku, not dispossessed by corporations seeking a return on their investment. Where the importance of diverse, indigenous seed and farmers vital knowledge is truly valued. We look forward to sharing the film with you in the not too distant future.
Find out more:
Watch Seeds of Freedom to learn about the corporate monopoly on the food system.
Watch Seeds of Sovereignty to explore the work being done to build seed and food sovereignty on the ground.
Watch the 4 minute Guardian short of Seeds of Justice
Read our ‘Seed under Siege‘ briefing to disover the current threats to seed diversity worldwide.