From Seed to Seed

Semences Buissonnières from Olga Widmer on Vimeo.

European Seed Saving Organization Longo Maï and the European Civic Forum, together with people from Kokopelli and probably other organizations, are making a high definition seed saving film.  This is a first!  As far as I’m aware there is no existing seed saving film that’s as comprehensive and professionally made.  I think the Longo Maï cooperatives and partners are one of the few organizations able to complete a project like this on such a large scale.   To allow for biennials, this is a minimum two year project.

In the spirit of sharing, when completed, the full film will be freely available for download from the Internet, together with subtitles in all available languages.  It won’t be a language specific film, in that there will only be subtitles, no voices.  It will be a fantastic educational tool for the whole planet.

Your support is needed to make it a success.  Please consider buying an advance copy of the DVD via a subscription, or simply making a generous donation.

More information can be found here, and a subscription form to use for purchasing an advance copy of the DVD can be found here.

If you’re interested in translating subtitles into your local language, I think they would like to hear from you too.

Seed Freedom, Gardens of Hope

Today in Japan, Shumei International and Navdanya (Dr. Vandana Shiva’s organization), launch Seed Freedom, Gardens of Hope.

The press release is below.

Shumei International and Navdanya host events with Fukushima Farmers and Civil Society to Support SEED FREEDOM, GARDENS OF HOPE Campaign

TOKYO, February 20, 2013  – Today, Dr. Vandana Shiva and Shumei International announced the launch of SEED FREEDOM, GARDENS OF HOPE in Japan during a special symposium held at the United Nations University in Tokyo. SEED FREEDOM is a global campaign and movement started by environmental activist Dr. Vandana Shiva to spread awareness about the current precarious state of the global seed supply and its consequent threat to food security. Shumei International, a Japanese nonprofit organization that promotes Natural Agriculture, has partnered with Dr. Shiva’s organization Navdanya to promote the importance of saving seeds, protecting biodiversity, and supporting agricultural systems that work in harmony with nature.

As the 2nd anniversary of the Fukushima disaster approaches, the SEED FREEDOM campaign puts a spotlight on the growing need to build community resiliency and adopt more sustainable lifestyles. Japanese farmers and communities are facing serious concerns about nuclear radiation, climate change, environmental degradation and natural disasters. The “Seed, Soil and Food for the Future” symposium emphasized the critical relationship between the environment, agriculture, food and human life to build support for SEED FREEDOM. Starting a community seed bank is one of the ways SEED FREEDOM encourages people to protect the integrity, purity and diversity of natural seeds for the future.

“The disappearance of our biodiversity and of our seed sovereignty is creating a major crisis for agriculture and food security around the world. We must act before it is too late,” urged Dr. Vandana Shiva, founder of Navdanya and the SEED FREEDOM movement. “Seeds are the first link in the food chain and the repository of life’s future evolution. As such, it is our inherent duty and responsibility to protect them and to pass them on to future generations. The growing of seed and the free exchange of seed among farmers has been the basis to maintaining biodiversity and our food security.”

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), seventy-five percent of the world’s food is currently generated from only 12 plants and five animal species. Crop diversity is being lost at an alarming rate as farmers leave local varieties for genetically uniform, high-yielding varieties, which require certain amounts of pesticides and fertilizers to produce. However, numerous studies have revealed that genetically engineered foods can pose serious risks to humans, domesticated animals, wildlife and the environment. Although there is no commercial cultivation of genetically modified crops in Japan, this is still an issue as approximately sixty percent of its food is imported and the labeling requirements of GMO ingredients in foods are not comprehensive.

The “Seed, Soil and Food for the Future” symposium explored new solutions to regain food and seed sovereignty based on respect for nature that recognizes the inherent power of natural seeds and soil to produce healthy food locally. Dr. Elaine Ingham, a soil microbiologist and chief scientist of Rodale Institute, addressed ways to grow more resilient crops through sustainable soil management. Mr. Seiji Sugeno, a farmer and the president of the Fukushima Organic Agriculture Network explained the role of sustainable farming in community rebuilding and land rejuvenation following the March 2011 nuclear disaster. He was joined by a Natural Agriculture farmer Mr. Mamoru Azuhata, who shared his experience in Fukushima and seeing the positive impact of working in harmony with the land.

“Once soil life and its proper balances are understood, the need for all the toxic chemicals in industrial agriculture disappears,” said Dr. Ingham of Rodale Institute, a nonprofit in the U.S. pioneering organic farming through research and outreach.

The symposium drew more than 300 attendees from civil society and was supported by Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, the Fukushima Organic Agriculture Network, Slow Food Fukushima and Shumei Natural Agriculture Network.

“Food safety and agriculture are key issues for Japan right now. As farmers and consumers, we are at an important point in deciding our future and learning from our past,” said Alice Cunningham, director of International Affairs for Shumei International, which has Natural Agriculture farms around the world. “Shumei International is a part of SEED FREEDOM because we see the urgent need to shift our thinking towards the environment, and the seed is a crucial starting point.”