Sept. 12: Film explores seed preservation, future of food

By Cathy McKenzie, WSU Mount Vernon

FowlerMOUNT VERNON, Wash. – The makers of a film about preserving the world’s food supply will discuss their movie after a free, public showing at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 12, at Washington State University Mount Vernon, 16650 State Route 536.

Sandy McLeod is an Academy and Emmy awards-nominated independent filmmaker. Cary Fowler is director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust and subject of the film, “Seeds of Time.”

“It’s a rare opportunity for us to have a filmmaker and subject of this caliber in the region,” said Steve Jones, director of the WSU Mount Vernon research center.

seedsA link to the “Seeds of Time” film trailer is available at

The documentary follows Fowler’s “race against time to protect the future of our food as gene banks of the world are crumbling, crop failures are producing starvation-inspired rioting, and the accelerating effects of climate change are already affecting farmers globally,” according to the film’s press synopsis.

The 77-minute film traces Fowler and his team from Rome to Russia to a remote Arctic island to help protect the future of food by safeguarding the world’s seed banks.

McLeod has directed and produced numerous music videos and played a central role in making the Talking Heads’ concert film, “Stop Making Sense.” Her short documentary, “Asylum,” the story of a Ghanaian woman’s pursuit of political asylum to escape female genital mutilation, was nominated for Academy and Emmy awards.

Fowler is a former professor and research director of the Department for International Environment and Development Studies at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and senior advisor to the director general of Bioversity International.

Of his epiphany regarding the importance of preserving the genetic diversity and availability of seeds to protect the future of the world’s food supply, Fowler said: “I’m not sure why it happened, but it really dawned on me that agriculture was going to face a gigantic challenge with climate change and that agriculture was not ready.

“Most of us take seeds for granted,” he said. “The fate of humankind is resting on these genetic resources: seeds. So nothing could be more important.”

Presentation of “Seeds of Time” is sponsored by WSU, the WSU Mount Vernon Bread Lab, Dick’s Restaurant Supply and Bellingham’s Community Food Co-op.


Steve Jones, WSU Mount Vernon Research Center director, 360-416-5210,