Feb. 7, 2019
If you’re a farmer, there’s an easy way to obtain seeds, and there’s a hard way.
The easy way is to purchase seeds from a large agribusiness company. Such companies sell seeds with stable genetic characteristics, which means they reliably produce the same variety each year.
The hard way is to use a technique called evolutionary crop breeding. Using this method, farmers plant seeds containing a high level of genetic diversity. They observe which plants thrive in the local conditions. Then, the farmers collect seeds from the best-performing plants to sow during the next season.
Why would a farmer choose the hard way? This short documentary, by independent videographers Eleni Gill and Sarah Cahlan, explains that over time, the technique produces seed varieties that are well-suited for an individual farmer’s land.
And Italian plant geneticist Salvatore Ceccarelli, who is featured in the documentary, says the technique could help farmers around the world respond to problems posed by climate change. To learn why, watch it.