From Seed to Seed
Through a group of Canadian organic farmers—both large-scale and small-scale—we experience a full growing season with all of its rewards as well as the challenges of a changing climate.
Directed by Katharina Stieffenhofer
Writer: Katharina Stieffenhofer
Co-Producer: Jean du Toit
Associate Producer: Wendy Buelow
Director of Photography: Bryan Sanders
Editor, Sound Design: John Gurdebeke
Composer: Jason Staczek
Animation: Toby Gillies
When Terry and Monique left the opera to pursue their true passion—ecological, small-scale farming—their story of community and resilience took center stage. FROM SEED TO SEED follows their young family and a diverse group of farmers in Southern Manitoba, for a season of challenges and rewards.
"Reveals as much about the meaning of life as the challenges of farming." John Ikerd, Emeritus, Agricultural Economics, Univ. of Missouri
Scientists are working with these farmers using a blend of ancient traditions and cutting edge science to develop improved methods for growing food ecologically and in a changing climate.
This hopeful story provides a Canadian perspective on a global social movement that regenerates the land, farming, and communities toward a healthier future for us all.
Grade Level: 7 - 12, College, Adults
US Release Date: 2019
Copyright Date: 2017
DVD ISBN: 1-948745-29-1
"From Seed to Seed took my breath away. I think everyone who eats should see it! As a professor, I could teach an entire course in regenerative agriculture using nothing more than this film. As a farmer, I know of no documentaries that provide a more honest and clear-cut exposé of the emotional territory between hope and despair within which every farmer lives. The farmers exemplify the paradox created when striving toward nature-based farming while being beaten down by a changing and unpredictable climate and enticed by the easy-way-out offered by industrial agriculture."
Gary S. Kleppel, Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences, University at Albany-SUNY, Co-owner, Longfield Farm
"The resounding message delivered by Seed to Seed is optimism - that building a sustainable society is possible - but what makes this film stand out is that this hope is securely tethered to humility...This is not only a film about organic farming, it is also a glimpse into community resilience, and what is required to build our place-based knowledge of land, food production and the natural world."
Dr. Lorelei Hanson, Associate Professor and Academic Coordinator, Environmental Studies, Athabasca University
"From Seed to Seed offers a beautiful portrait about the importance of tradition for creating our future. The film offers us a glimpse at the delicate balance of creating diversity in our genetics, seeds, and communities. For students, the film provides an unbelievable lesson on the value of the small, the local, and the old - not as backwards - but vital and necessary for carving a path forward."
Paul Stock, Associate Professor, Sociology and Environmental Studies, University of Kansas, Co-Author, New Farmers 2014/2018
"The film gives us an intimate look into the common and individual experiences of farmers...Interspersed among stories about the production of livestock, vegetables, wheat, hemp and flax are sidebars illustrating innovations and techniques - both traditional and new - that farmers use to successfully produce food. Viewers will come away with a deeper appreciation for the skills, knowledge, patience and hard work required to be a farmer and the inevitable tensions that exist in attempting to build a sustainable family business without exploiting themselves in the process."
Sean Clark, Professor of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Berea College, Co-Editor, Fields of Learning: The Student Farm Movement in North America
"Informative, beautifully shot...This gentle, quiet advocacy doc possesses some of the philosophical patience seen in its subjects, who need to follow the seasonal cycles of farming and withstand the vicissitudes of Prairie weather."
Alison Gillmor, Winnipeg Free Press
"A gentle but powerful film that really grew on me as I fell deeply into their story."
Matthew Gilbert, Cinema Noesis: Films for Evolving Minds
"This is one of the best documentary films about farming that I have watched."
Dr. Av Singh, Vice-President, Canadian Organic Growers
"With honesty and realism the film explores the risks farmers bear year to year, and provides audiences with a raw and unfiltered view of how their food is produced and the decisions farmers must make in the process...We applaud the effort taken in the film to highlight how farmers can help mitigate the effects of climate change through thoughtful, diversified and regenerative production practices. Seed to Seed rightly illustrates how farmers can be part of the solution to our climate crisis."
Stuart Oke, Youth President, and Katie Ward, President, National Farmers Union of Canada
"This extraordinary film takes us from a smallholding farmed by newcomers to the large holdings common to Manitoba. In so doing, it shows how organic practices can transform the landscape and provide resilience in light of climate change. From Seed to Seed is an exhilarating and successful demonstration of organic practices on both small and large farms."
Lawrence Busch, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Michigan State University, Author, Knowledge for Sale: The Neoliberal Takeover of Higher Education
"From Seed to Seed reveals as much about the meaning of life as the challenges of farming. This compelling documentary centers on a young couple who has chosen farming as a moral, social, and economic way of life-in that order. Their story is juxtaposed with other Manitoba farmers exploring various paths of transition from conventional to organic farming. The story leaves little doubt about whose path is more difficult, but whose path is more fulfilling is a more difficult question. Will farming in the future be a continuing quest for money or a moral expression of purpose and meaning?"
John Ikerd, Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics, University of Missouri, Author, Small Farms Are Real Farms: Sustaining People through Agriculture
"From Seed to Seed makes an important contribution to our understanding of how organic farming systems, participatory breeding, and farmer engagement with scientists can contribute to the creation of sustainable and resilient food and farming systems. The film provides an excellent overview of key issues facing farmers in many rural communities today. It will make an excellent addition to academic classes and public education events focused on sustainable and community based food systems."
Albie Miles, Assistant Professor of Sustainable Community Food Systems, University of Hawai'i - West O'ahu
"A beautifully filmed paean to the growing significance and importance of ecological farming. This is a timely and inspiring guide to earth-and-human-centered principles based in adaptable and resilient knowledges, rather than the standardizing science of commodity agriculture. This film will be important for both classroom and community screenings. Watching it involves learning that ecological farming is a real science, especially in the face of climate crisis."
Philip McMichael, Professor of Development Sociology, Cornell University
"A loving and enjoyable encouragement for anyone who cares about food and farming...I liked all the people featured in the film and the emphasis on community. It made me want to move to Canada."
Claire Hope Cummings,
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DVD includes SDH captions for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, and scene selection.
The Film's Website
Awards and Festivals
Best of the Fest, Colorado Environmental Film Festival
Audience Choice Award, Soo Film Festival
Civil Eye Award, ARC Film Festival, Mainz, Germany
Best Documentary Film, Popular Culture Association, DC
Best Environmental Film, Ridgefield Independent Film Festival
Best Documentary Film, Seneca Film Festival
Best Documentary, Big Water Film Festival
Nominated Best Feature Film, ELEMENTS Environmental Film Festival
Finalist Jury Award, Kansas International Film Festival
Finalist Best Feature Documentary, Kuala Lumpur Eco Film Festival
Nominated Best Feature Documentary, Central Alberta Film Festival
Regina International Film Festival
Princeton Environmental Film Festival
Frozen River Film Festival
Port Townsend Film Festival
Friday Harbor Film Festival
DEVOUR! Food Film Festival
Oneota Film Festival
Boston International Food Film Festival
16th World Film Festival, Tartu, Estonia
Green Bay Film Festival
St. Cloud Film Festival
BIFED- Bozcaada International Festival of Ecological Documentary, Turkey
Science Film Festival 2018, Goethe-Institut
West Virginia FILMmakers Festival
Yellowknife International Film Festival
Gallup Film Festival
River Town Film Festival
Gimli Film Festival
International Nature Film Festival Gödöll?, Hungary
SunChild International Environmental Film Festival, Armenia
Ozark Foothills Film Fest
Marda Loop Justice Film Festival
Utopia Film Festival
Climate Change/Global Warming
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Author, Uncertain Peril: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Seeds