"Seeds of Resistance is a wake-up call. With vivid and memorable stories, Mark Schapiro tells us how seeds are at the frontlines of our epic battle for healthy food.” —Alice Waters, founder of Chez Panisse and the Edible Schoolyard
Three-quarters of the seed varieties on Earth in 1900 were driven to extinction by 2015. In Seeds of Resistance: The Fight for Food Diversity on Our Climate-Ravaged Planet, investigative journalist Mark Schapiro takes us to the frontlines of the struggle over the seeds that remain—a struggle with some of the world’s biggest agri-chemical companies that will determine the long-term security of our food supply.
His investigation unravels the stories of seed survival strategies and why it matters that more than half of all commercially traded seeds are under the control of three multinational agri-chemical companies—producing chemical dependent uniform seeds just as climate change is profoundly altering the conditions for growing food. And he dives deep into the growing movement in the United States and around the world to defy these trends, and assert autonomy over locally evolved seeds that are, by contrast, showing high levels of resilience to the onrushing impacts of climate change. He probes into the implications for our health and for the Earth’s ecological health, of patented seeds, and the companies that have turned them, and the chemicals they require to survive, into one of the world’s most valuable commodities.
Schapiro, also a lecturer at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, applies his investigative and storytelling skills to this riveting narrative, from the environmentally stressed fields of the American Midwest and California’s Central Valley to the unexpected centers of climate-resilient seed diversity in the arid, war-torn fields of Syria and Iraq, the mountains of southern Mexico and Latin America, and the lands of indigenous food cultivators in the American Southwest and Northwest. There, Native American communities are seeing increasing interest in their ability to grow food in shifting conditions over thousands of years.
Newly updated and available for the first time in paperback, Seeds of Resistance gives new meaning to the term ‘farm to table’ by unearthing the largely hidden backstory to the first ingredient in that journey, the seed.
David Talbot is the New York Times bestselling author of Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years and The Devil’s Chessboard. He is the founder and former editor-in-chief of Salon and has written for the New Yorker, Rolling Stone, and Time. He lives in San Francisco.
“Seeds of Resistance is a wake-up call. With vivid and memorable stories, Mark Schapiro tells us how seeds are at the frontlines of our epic battle for healthy food.”
—Alice Waters, founder of Chez Panisse and the Edible Schoolyard
“At the bottom of it all lies the seed: who controls it, who ‘owns’ it, who develops it, who plants and nourishes it. As Mark Schapiro so vividly and compellingly writes: Save the seed, and you save the planet. Let others control it, and they control everything. For real.”
—Mark Bittman, author of How to Grill Everything and A Bone to Pick: The Good and Bad News About Food
“If you like food and want to keep eating it, Seeds of Resistance tells a story you should know about. Over the next ten years and beyond, humanity is going to need seeds that can produce food even as global warming makes heat waves, droughts, and downpours increasingly worse. Those seeds are out there, Mark Schapiro’s globe-straddling reporting shows, championed by indigenous peoples, independent scientists, and small-scale farmers. But the three mega-corporations that are attempting to monopolize the world’s seed supply have a very different agenda. I won’t reveal how the story ends, except to say that you, dear reader, are part of it.”
—Mark Hertsgaard, author of Hot and Earth Odyssey, and environment correspondent for The Nation