Film Review: Open Sesame - The Story of Seeds
By Nicole Wines /

Film Review: Open Sesame – The Story of Seeds

by Nicole Wines


“What makes a seed grow?…
…You need sunshine, you need water, you need love.”
~Open Sesame – The Story of Seeds

This inspiring documentary film by M. Sean Kaminsky follows the history of seeds, in their shift from a shared, local and cultural resource, into patented, privately and corporately owned property.  We are currently facing a silent seed crisis.  Only a few generations back nearly all seed was saved each season by gardeners and farmers, exchanged, shared, and preserved, while now at least 53% of seed stock is controlled by only three major biotech and chemical corporations – Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta.  73% is controlled by the top ten global seed companies, mostly U.S. Corporations.1  With the commercialization and privatization of seeds, we have experienced a severe loss in biodiversity of cultivated crops.  Over 90% of seed varieties cultivated just 100 years ago are now extinct.

Open Sesame - The Story of Seeds“Open Sesame” details this history and presents some of the challenges faced today by organic and small growers, seed savers and seed freedom advocates.  The film introduces you to “a diverse range of individuals whose lives center around seeds. Farmers. Renegade gardeners. Passionate seed savers. Artists. Seed activists.”It highlights interesting and inspiring seed based projects, like the Hudson Valley Seed Library (which is also one of our own seed library supporters through their annual seed donation program!), the Native Seed/SEARCH Seed School, the Brickyard Educational Farm and Vandana Shiva’s Navdanya Seed Bank.

The most striking thing about this film is the emotion shown by the people highlighted and interviewed, and the connection they felt to their land and their seeds.  I’ve honestly never seen so many tears coming from people interviewed in a documentary (I think my own eyes even teared up once or twice during the film).  It was touching, revealing just how much they care about preserving the heritage of seeds, seed saving and biodiversity.

This film is inspirational to watch, focusing not just on the problems that exist in the world regarding seeds, loss of biodiversity, and modern technological agriculture, but also on some of the solutions and steps that people are taking to address those problems. It makes us at Raíces EcoCulture look forward to seeing our own seed saving projects continue to grow.  Seeds are our heritage as well as our future, and it is important to learn all we can about preserving them and maintaining control over the food we grow, eat and share.  This film is a great primer, educational and moving.

We highly recommend that you see “Open Sesame – The Story of Seeds”, purchase it from the filmmaker, or even arrange for a screening in your community.  Hopefully, the film will spark something in you, and if you aren’t doing it already, you will start saving seeds and becoming a seed advocate yourself!  As the filmmaker stresses on the film’s website, it’s not too late…yet.


Note to Raíces readers: The filmmakers encouraged us to share the film with other people, so we invite you to screen our preview for free until Thursday, February 19.  You can view the film at this link until then:

Open Sesame – The Story of Seeds (link will expire 2/19/2015)

Open Sesame PosterFor those of you viewing the limited free preview copy we are sharing, please consider purchasing a digital or DVD copy of the film from the filmmakers or making a donation for outreach development and support for the 2015 worldwide release of “Open Sesame – The Story of Seeds”.  This film, like many important and inspiring documentaries, began as a labor of love, and we hope that you will show your support to the film and the filmmakers by helping to spread the word, purchasing copies of your own, organizing a screening of the film, and taking steps to become a seed saver and seed freedom advocate in your community!

Also, be sure to “like” the film’s Facebook page for news and updates from the filmmakers.


Want to become a seed saver but not sure where to start?


1. Seed Giants vs. U.S. Farmers: A Report by the Center for Food Safety and Save Our Seeds
2. Diminished Crop Diversity by Patricia Muir

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Film Review: Open Sesame - The Story of Seeds