Who Owns Seeds?

seeds on the horizon

Photo illustration by Mark Riechers

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Original Air Date: 
September 14, 2019

It's easy to take seeds for granted, to assume that there will always be more corn or wheat or rice to plant. But as monocropping and agribusiness continue to dominate modern farming, are we losing genetic diversity, cultural history, and the nutritional value of our food? We speak to farmers, botanists and indigenous people about how they are reclaiming our seeds.

Wheat
Articles

Kamut is arguably the oldest grain in the world. Bob Quinn, who runs the multi-million dollar nonprofit Kamut International, argues that it's an example of what can be right in a very wrong American agricultural world.

Length: 
10:34
Flint corn
Articles

Botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer says there is a reason so many around the world consider corn to be sacred. We give it life, and in return, it gives us life. She says the industrial-scale farming of America has lost control of that balance.

Length: 
10:43
Aerial roots.
Articles

There is an unusual, giant corn in southern Mexico that gets its own nitrogen from the air — no manufacturing required.

Length: 
20:07
Svalbard Global Seed Vault
Audio

If a disaster wiped out our ability to grow crops, how would the survivors rebuild civilization? Back in the 1990’s Cary Fowler wondered the same thing. So he created the Svalbard Global Seed Vault – otherwise known as the Doomsday vault.

Length: 
8:21
Clockwise: Wheat in a field, flint corn, kamut grains, and the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.
Articles

Most of us get our food from the grocery store, not the fields where it grows. But if you really want to understand where our food comes from — and the potential threats to the food supply — you have to think about seeds.

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September 14, 2019
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Last modified: 
September 18, 2019