By Dan Clendenin

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SEED: The Untold Story (2016)

Seeds. Since the dawn of humanity, they have been the gift of life and food itself. But in this one-hour film, we learn about the various dangers to and extinctions of seed diversity. We used to have 544 varieties of cabbage, but now only 28, 158 of cauliflower, and now 8. Beets, corn, celery, radishes, and watermelon have similar statistics. The big petro-chemical giants like Monsanto and Bayer come in for heavy criticisms — for their “seed dictatorship” that creates dependence, toxicity, and GMOs. They have patented and now own life itself. Over 90% of the foods that we grow depend on these corporate-owned seeds (although it’s never mentioned that we could never feed a world of nine billion people without GMOs). Then, there is drought and climate change. Of particular interest are the seeds banks, like in Tucson, and, most notably, the Global Seed Vault in Svalbard, Norway (with almost a million seed samples). The film draws upon the self-described seed hippie Will Bonsall, seed collectors who have traveled to over a hundred countries, molecular biologists, environmental lawyers, indigenous and organic farmers, and name plates like Jane Goodall and Vandana Shiva. I watched this award-winning documentary on the PBS website.

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