Seeds of Resistance: The Fight to Save Our Food Supply

Mark Schapiro

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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.