Across three 30 minute documentary films – Seeds of Freedom, Seeds of Sovereignty & Seeds of Justice – The Gaia Foundation and our global partners explore the ways in which the industrial agricultural system, and genetically modified (GM) seeds in particular, have impacted upon the agro-biodiversity evolved by farmers and communities around the world over millennia.
With thanks to the African Biodiversity Network, GRAIN, Navdanya and Melca Ethiopia, each of whom collaborated on the making of these films. Huge appreciations to filmmaker Jess Phillimore for the years he dedicated to seeing them come to life.
Seeds of Freedom (2012, narrated by Jeremy Irons) provides an overview of the history of agriculture, charting the transition of the farm into a factory, and highlighting the impact of the agrochemical and GM industries. The film includes footage from across Africa and speakers such as Dr Vandana Shiva (Navdanya), Henk Hobbelink (GRAIN), Zac Goldsmith MP, Caroline Lucas MP, John Vidal (The Guardian), Percy Schmeiser and Kumi Naidoo. The film challenges the mantra that large-scale, industrial agriculture is the only means by which we can feed the world, promoted by the pro-GM lobby. In tracking the story of seed it becomes clear how corporate agenda has driven the take over of seed in order to make vast profit and take control of the food global system. Read more
Seeds of Sovereignty (2013, narrated by Theo Sowa) shares the stories of African communities embarking on a journey to revive their traditional seed diversity and in doing so, to forge a path towards food sovereignty. At the heart of each community’s story lies the seed; a symbol of renewal and life. The custodians of these seeds are women who are working together with grassroots partners to revalorise their knowledge and status. Exploring their relationship to seed and its deep cultural and spiritual significance, the film draws attention to the vital importance of seed diversity to humanity’s collective resilience and health and that of the ecosystems we rely on. The film shows how reviving seed and related customary practices and knowledge supports farmers and families towards a socially just, ecologically sane and sovereign future. Read more
Seeds of Justice (2015, narrated by Jon Snow) explores the life of Ethiopian plant geneticists Dr Melaku Worede and Dr Regassa Feyissa to rebuild Ethiopia's seed diversity after the devastating famine of the mid 80s. Their work around participatory plant breeding and community - living - seed banks redignified farmer’s expert ecological knowledge and conserved Ethiopia’s precious seed diversity. From the plains of Ethiopia to the halls of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation in Rome, Dr Melaku’s quest to rediscover and valorise farmers’ knowledge shows that putting control over seeds back into the hands of farmers can make our food system healthier, more resilient and more just. Read more
If you'd like to see more from those who contributed to the Seeds of Freedom trilogy then take a look at the Talking Heads series across our Vimeo channel. Here you can find uncut interviews with Vandana Shiva, Pat Mooney, John Vidal, Henk Hobbelink, Caroline Lucas, Patricia Howard, Liz Hosken and Zac Goldsmith. These provide a rich insight into the complex issues surrounding our food system and the corporate agenda to control it. Please watch and share all of the films widely! Read more
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