Monthly Archives: July 2009

Showings of “Our Seeds” in New York

Thu, 17/12/2009 – Jude Fanton

Frank O’Neill, Independent Consultant and pro bono adviser to Seed Savers, New York, has expertly converted our film “Our Seeds” to a digital NTSC version for showing on TV in the USA.
Here he reports on seven recent screenings for societies and on television in New York:
• Humanist Society of Metropolitan New York – Beth Lamont showed your “Our Seeds” film last Tuesday evening (December 8) at a meeting of the Humanist Society here. See Beth plans to show it again at next month’s meeting on January 12, 2010.
• Manhattan Neighborhood Network I just finished watching the first showing of the NTSC DV tape version of your PAL DVD. Both the sound and picture quality held up perfectly because the entire system is digital, not to mention that the original footage was acquired in high definition.
• the Columbia University Earth Institute in the last two months
• Also Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
• Saturday, December 12 – 1400 to 1500 (2:00 PM to 3:00 PM) on MNN3 (Channel 57 on the Time Warner Cable of NYC cable television network)
• Sunday, December 13 – 0630 to 0730 and also 1830 to 1930 on MNN2 (Channel 56 on the Time Warner Cable of NYC cable television network)

I’m sure that it will be shown many times in the future; the above schedule is all that I’m aware of at the moment.
See Frank’s thoughts on HDV (also covers AVCHD and XDCAM EX)


How did you start Seed Savers?

Fri, 17/07/2009 – Michel Fanton

Just reflecting on how we started Seed Savers in the 1980s… Jude and I became alarmed by the weird speed-dating going on between seed company owners and slickos from petroleum/pesticide corporations.
Problem of liaison between seeds and chemical. One solution is community seed banks. All images from India
The concentration of ownership of seed companies had started. By 1999 it reached 33%. By 2009, two-thirds of commercial seeds companies worldwide were owned by three corporations, the largest Monsanto, the second Dupont and the third Syngenta. These companies all produce agrochemicals that their seeds depend on. They also genetically engineer seeds such as Bt cotton that is used by even small farmers in India.

Their reach extends well into the Majority World where even the smallest of shops sell seed along with the chemical fertilisers and pesticides necessary to grow them.

Small seed and chemical shop in Mysore, India
And what did we do as world citizens? We shared our huge seed collection with thousands of gardeners.
We went media… thousands sent us their precious seeds
In 1986 we started to write articles in the press and give radio and television interviews about our seed experience. Every week parcels full of rare seeds would fill up our mail box. we turned them into SEED GIFTS. 500 000 packets were sent to caretake in backyard gardens.
We have since worked in twenty Majority World countries helping small local groups to start seed exchanges and community seed banks.

In Community Seed Bank in village of Chinakatte, northern Karnataka, January 2007 – marginal farmers save and swap seeds.


Make Your Mark

Thu, 16/07/2009 – Michel Fanton

Television stations in Australia are required to fullfill their community duties by producing and regular screening community announcements. Guess what? Seed Savers was invited to participate in a thirty second advert. We turned up at Channel 10 studios in Sydney. The segment was shot in a cute little public park just below the studios. Michel and Jude were profiled as environmental heroes.

Television stars we did not know because we left the tv world behind long ago, congratulated the efforts of our small organisation.


Local Adaptations Do Happen

Wed, 15/07/2009 – Michel Fanton

We have shifted from “salvaging” seeds given to us as a group, to consciously creating local varieties out of them. Local varieties in a wide range of climates are now being adapted to local conditions. That happens every time we select plants candidates for seed saving and when we replant them. Again and again. These changes happen faster than we would have predicted in 1985 when we started.
Join your Local Seed Network or create one!