One crop diversity pioneer’s efforts to preserve seeds and the world agriculture community’s support of those efforts to protect the future of our food were the focus of a new documentary film shown to a full house here September 12, 2014.
The “Seeds of Time” film presentation, which was free and open to the public, was sponsored by Washington State University, the WSU Mount Vernon Bread Lab, The Woolley Market of Sedro-Woolley, Dick’s Restaurant Supply, and Bellingham’s Community Food Co-op. Renowned independent filmmaker Sandy McLeod and The Global Crop Diversity Trust Director Cary Fowler were on hand for an audience question-and-answer session following this showing of their documentary collaboration.
McLeod has directed and produced numerous music videos, including a central role in the making of Talking Heads’ concert film “Stop Making Sense.” Her short documentary, “Asylum,” the story of a Ghanaian woman’s pursuit of political asylum to escape female genital mutilation, was nominated for an Academy Award and an Emmy.
“Seeds of Time” follows the work of Fowler and his “race against time to protect the future of our food as gene banks of the world are crumbling, crop failures are producing starvation-inspired rioting, and the accelerating effects of climate change are already affecting farmers globally,” according to the film’s press synopsis.
Prior to taking on this project, Fowler was professor and research director of the Department for International Environment and Development Studies at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and senior advisor to the Director General of Bioversity International.
“I’m not sure why it happened, but it really dawned on me that agriculture was going to face a gigantic challenge with climate change and that agriculture was not ready,” Fowler said of his epiphany regarding the importance of preserving the genetic diversity and availability of seeds to protect the future of the world’s food supply.
“Most of us take seeds for granted,” he said. “The fate of human kind is resting on these genetic resources: seeds. So nothing could be more important.”
The film, “Seeds of Time,” is a testament to that importance. The 77-minute documentary captures the journey of Fowler and his Global Crop Diversity Trust team as they travel from Rome to Russia — and eventually a remote island under the Arctic Circle – to help protect the future of food by safeguarding the world’s seed banks.
“It was a rare opportunity for us to have a filmmaker and subject of this caliber in the region, and we’re just thrilled to have had Sandy and Cary sharing an evening with us,” said WSU Mount Vernon Research Center Director Steve Jones.