SEEDversity - Feeding the Planet, Cultivating Diversity


A movement of farmers and scientists is promoting a worldwide sustainable and participatory approach to agriculture and food sovereignty. This project documents the impacts of this innovation in northern and southern rural communities.

  • €20,000 Budget in Euros
  • 2014 Final release date
  • 2 Round winner
  • 6 Locations
  • 8 Durations in months

A movement of farmers and scientists is growing in Europe, Africa and Middle East, promoting an innovative, low input, sustainable approach to agriculture: participatory seed and plant breeding, where farmers are not only the final buyers of industry-selected seeds but actual players in the entire process working together with scientists from the beginning. This project documents changes in rural community life as a result of these developments.

The project both highlights common elements to "northern" and "southern" experiences and marks differences amongst diverse local situations while we travel from Italy to Senegal, from Ethiopia to Iran, from France to Indonesia to meet people and to see their fields and institutional as well as community seed banks. The story focuses on local agricultural practices, seed selection, roles of scientists and farmers, recovery and improvement of traditional varieties, quality change in food production, seed distribution, connection with other networks at the regional as well as international level, women's roles and active participation.

Farmers, women and men are at the centre of the stories. How has participatory breeding impacted their rural life? Has it improved their family income and their access to quality food, and does it enhance possibilities to develop a rural economy and strengthen the local community? Is it a concrete reason not to move to a urban settlement? Interviews with scientists and agronomists and other key players demonstrate the robustness and efficacies of this method of selection compared with the industrial one. The story also highlights connections between these experiences and those at the international level.

The voices of farmers and scientists are included in a series of audio-docs, in Italian and English. Video stories, audio clips, pictures and data have been integrated in a crossmedial project, declined in different forms depending also on the requirements of the diverse media outlet which published it.

The project has been updated during the year 2016 and a new chapter, after the first 5, has been added with a journey to Indonesia, in the island of Flores where rice is the most important cultivation.

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