Written by Declan Murphy
Edited by Fatima Khan
Designed by Jiya Mehta
Published by Kiya Tavascia


As the weather turns cooler, it’s the perfect time for gardeners to head indoors, cuddle up, and enjoy a good movie. Seed: The Untold Story (2016) is an award-winning feature-length documentary that you should watch if you’re interested in seed keeping and small-scale farming or in preserving our natural resources for future generations.

Seed: The Untold Story is a 94-minute American documentary film made in 2016 by Jon Betz and Taggart Siegel. The film explores the world of “seed keepers,” or people who practice the traditions of harvesting, storing and using heirloom seeds, and activists seeking to protect seeds and the right to access affordable, ecologically sustainable seeds. Activists such as Will Bonsall of the Scatterseed Project and eco-activist Vandana Shiva are featured in the film.


You can watch the trailer here or below:


The film explores the work of seed keepers in the face of the startling fact that 94% of the earth’s agricultural seed diversity disappeared in the last century. From a vast variety of regional strains of seed, we are now down to just a slim selection of mass-produced seed strains. Most of the food seed available to us is dominated by just a handful of agricultural mega-corporations, many of whom are also chemical companies, like Monsanto.


For thousands of years, humans have harvested, stored, and re-used seed grown from their own crops. They have painstakingly developed and protected their heirloom varieties, each one selectively bred and proven for the specific region in which the seeds were grown, ripened and reaped. Handed down from generation to generation, growing stronger as they traveled, these seeds were perfected to suit their local environment. In just a blink of human history, this work has been discarded in favour of patented, commercially modified seed – replacing heirlooms with identical, often sterile, clones, and crushing biodiversity with monoculture. Often with a side order of harsh chemicals necessary to enable these mass produced seeds to live in areas where they weren’t developed to thrive.

Seed is not a film about how humans have conquered nature, but about how humans have always worked with nature, and how we have recently strayed from these traditions – and the price we are paying and will continue to pay for that betrayal.



This film covers an incredibly important topic using nice visuals and a compelling set of characters. However, some viewers might find it a bit overly sentimental. The protection of the planet’s biodiversity doesn’t have to be sold to viewers in an emotional way, because there is nothing more rational than protecting our food supply! Nevertheless, it’s important to watch this film. If these topics are new to you, you will be much better informed on the value of seed saving and biodiversity activism after watching it. If these topics aren’t new to you, you will find people to connect to and stories to rile you up in this film.


Seed: The Untold Story is currently available to watch free (with ads) in Canada via Tubi and YouTube (as of November 2023) and can be found on some paid streaming services. It’s also available for purchase on DVD or Blu-Ray via the company website (seedthemovie.com).

Seed is rated PG.



Though Seed was made in 2016, it’s still a valuable documentary seven years later. This is an ongoing fight, and one that is nowhere near being finished. The film is highly recommended, so be sure to catch it while you can. It’s important to know what is happening in the world, and what decisions are influencing our food systems. 


After watching the film, I hope you will be inspired to ask what role you can play in saving our seeds, and, therefore, saving biodiversity for future generations. If you’d like to learn more about seed saving, you can read a basic beginner’s guide here, and explore the resources on Seeds of Diversity Canada.


Have you seen the film? Are you a seed saver, or would you like to be? Share your thoughts in the comments, below.




Collective Eye Films. (n.d.) Seed: The Untold Story 

Collective Eye Films. (2023.) Seed: The Untold Story Product Page 

Collective Eye Films. (n.d.) Seed: The Untold Story Educational Discussion Guide.

Genzlinger, N. (2016.) Review: In ‘Seed: The Untold Story’, It’s Farmers Versus Big Business. New York Times.

IMDb. (n.d.) Seed: The Untold Story (2016) – IMDb 

Murphy, D. (2023.) Seed Harvesting. YFS Blog.

PBS. (2017.) SEED: The Untold Story | Documentary About Importance of Seed Keeping | Independent Lens | PBS 

PBS. (2017.) Filmmakers Share the Roots of their Seed Documentary 

Rotten Tomatoes. (n.d.) Seed: The Untold Story – Rotten Tomatoes 

Seeds of Diversity. (2023.) Seeds of Diversity 

Seigel, T. and J. Betz. (2016). Seed: The Untold Story. [Motion picture]. USA: Collective Eye Films. 94 min.

Tubi. (2023.) Seed: The Untold Story.

USAID. (2013.) Image: Producing High Quality Seeds – Flickr

YouTube. (2015.) Seed: The Untold Story (94 minutes) 

YouTube. (2017.) SEED: The Untold Story (Official Theatrical Trailer). (2.46)