Ten thousand years of human history packed into less than an inch: that’s a seed.
That’s also what is at stake as companies push to patent, digitize, and control information about seeds, according to the documentary “Open Sesame: The Story of Seeds.”
Sean Kaminsky, director of the film, came up with the concept while at an open source video conference in New York, where he saw parallels between tech companies’ software patents and big multinational agriculture companies’ seed patents.
“Would the future of food at its very foundation be open or proprietary?” he asked himself, and decided to make an experimental short about the topic.
That experiment grew into a full-length film, featuring a cast whose livelihoods are intimately tied to seeds — from activist and physicist Vandana Shiva to Food Democracy Now director Dave Murphy as well as local farmers and seed activists. Through these interviews, “Open Sesame” seeks to shed light on the dire implications of seed privatization.
“Seeds are the foundation of food,” Kaminsky says. “I don’t believe that it’s possible to have a sustainable food system without seeds being a part of the equation …And farmers have been cut out of the equation.”
The movie will be released in 2014. In the meantime, however, there is one easy way, says Kaminsky, for people to help the seed movement grow…literally.
“Every time an individual buys a package of open-pollinated, non-GMO seed and plants and grows even just a little bit of their own food, that’s an example of what might seem like a small victory,” says Kaminsky. “But it’s a small victory with the potential to become very large as we reconnect with our human birthright to control the fate of the seeds that we grow.”
Can’t wait for 2014? You can watch the trailer here in the meantime.