What does it mean for a small farmer in a traditional society to be confronted by an agribusiness juggernaut that intends to consign him, his family, and his methods of sustainable food production to the dustbin of history?
This film gives farmers and activists in Africa, Asia, and Latin America the opportunity to tell us about their experiences as they undergo the appropriation of their land and the corruption of their time-honoured methods by those who treat expressions of biological diversity as commodities to be privatised, manipulated, bought and sold.
Western chemical and agribusiness corporations have long understood that the key to controlling the world’s food supply is control of the essence of life itself: seed. Control of seed supply quite simply means control of the farmer and, as we can plainly see happening in the US, consolidation of the food supply into the hands of a small number of corporate entities.
Narrated by Jeremy Irons, and featuring interviews with a range of experts this short documentary packs a powerful punch. Its visual beauty, the words of farmers of three continents who are on the front line of this struggle, and the concise and direct message that it conveys will leave a deep and lasting impression on all who see it.
Seeds of Freedom is produced by The Gaia Foundation and the African Biodiversity Network, in collaboration with MELCA Ethiopia, Navdanya International and GRAIN.
“All traditional cultures have been based on the recognition that the most important reason we are here on earth is to play our role in maintaining life in its diversity. Because seed contains life, seed has been central to reproducing the culture of life. And if you look at rituals, in India, in Africa, in Latin America, seed is at the centre of it”.
“Our traditional crops are good for eating, while the modern crops can be exported. But we can’t eat coffee.”
Traditional Farmer, Kenya
“I think the real concern is that there is an increasing corporate control of the seed chain, and increasingly that means that a very small number of people are having a massive influence over the way in which farmers are able to farm. Traditional practices of saving seed are now under threat, and what that does essentially is to put corporate profit ahead of farmer’s ability to feed themselves and their communities.”
Caroline Lucas MP (Green Party) Brighton Pavilion
“They are chemical companies first and they are seed companies second. If you control the seed you control the profit from growing food.”
Environment Editor, The Guardian
“By controlling the seed you control the farmer, by controlling the farmer you control the whole food system. And that’s the legacy of genetic farming.”
Director of the Gaia Foundation
“It has nothing to do with feeding the world, it has nothing to do with tackling some of these huge issues we face today. It’s about control of the food sector, the food economy.”
Zac Goldsmith MP (Conservative)
Former environmental advisor to Prime Minister
“In reality it is all about stopping farmers from having their own seeds. And at the same time the eradication of independent food production. The corporations want control of food production in the hands of a very few.”
Ramon Vera Herrera
Editor GRAIN International
“The agrochemical and GM industry claims that small-scale agro ecological farming is backward and inefficient. But the reality is that in spite of the unrelenting pressures they face it is these farmers that feed 70% of the world’s population.”
“If we look at the ancestral way we find the solution to rebuild what has been destroyed.”
Mupo Foundation, South Africa
- GM crops won’t help African farmers | Million Belay and Ruth Nyambura (guardian.co.uk)
- Environmentalists See Seeds as Key to Agricultural Reform (ipsnews.net)