The Seeds of Freedom Trilogy charts the story of seed from its roots at the heart of traditional, diversity-rich farming systems across the world, to being transformed into a powerful commodity, used to monopolise the global food system.
The films highlight the extent to which the industrial agricultural system, and genetically modified (GM) seeds in particular, has impacted on the enormous agro-biodiversity evolved by farmers and communities around the world, since the beginning of agriculture. Seeds of Freedom seeks to challenge the mantra, promoted by the pro-GM lobby, that large-scale, industrial agriculture is the only means by which we can feed the world. In tracking the story of seed it becomes clear how the corporate agenda has driven the take over of seed in order to make vast profit and control of the global food system.
Through interviews with leading international experts such as Dr Vandana Shiva and Henk Hobbelink, and through the voices of a number of African farmers, the films highlight how the loss of indigenous seed goes hand in hand with loss of biodiversity and related knowledge; the loss of cultural traditions and practices; the loss of livelihoods; and the loss of food sovereignty. The pressure from agribusiness interests is growing and threatens to replace the diverse, nutritional, locally adapted and resilient seed crops which have been bred by small-scale farmers for millenia, by monocultures of GM seed.
Seeds of Freedom
Seeds of Freedom, the first film in the trilogy, 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. Despite this, small-scale agroecological farmers feed the largest portion of the world’s population and they need our support to protect and promote food sovereignty.
The film includes footage from across Africa and speakers such as Dr Vandana Shiva (Navdanya), Henk Hobbelink (GRAIN), Zac Goldsmith MP and Kumi Naidoo.
Seeds of Sovereignty
Seeds of Sovereignty shares the stories of African communities embarking on a journey to revive their traditional seed diversity, and take back control over their food systems. Forging a path toward a socially just, ecologically sane and sovereign future, they are courageously challenging the corporate, profit driven model of agriculture imposed upon them.
Through the voices of local and indigenous farmers, the 30-minute film unpacks the approach responsible for this revival, evolved by The Gaia Foundation and African Biodiversity Network, alongside partner organisations and communities. Aligned with the principles underpinning the growing global movement for food sovereignty, it provides a guide for anyone looking to revive traditional, diversity rich, seed and farming systems around the world.
Seeds of Justice
The final film in the trilogy, created by Gaia in partnership with the African Biodiversity Network and MELCA Ethiopia, Seeds of Justice explores the life of Dr Melaku Worede and his work to embrace participatory plant breeding, redignify farmer’s expert ecological knowledge and conserve Ethiopia’s precious seed diversity.
Instigated by Melaku Worede, its former head, Ethiopia’s national seed bank has embraced participatory planting since the 1980s. The approach involves opening the bank’s doors to farmers and rural communities, drawing on their knowledge and establishing new partnerships as a means of conservation and preserving diversity. Due to its enduring efficacy Melaku’s pioneering work is now widely promoted by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation and other agencies.