Even as a kid, I’d been aware that environmentalists saw farmers as the bad guys. This whole thing made me uncomfortable because my dad was a farmer… but I loved the environment! And I could see that he loved the environment too. Farmers know their land well. And how could you not love something you know well?
I’ve probably been trying to reconcile this whole farmer/environmentalist thing for a long time. And at the screening, someone I was talking to put it this way: when these old family farms began operation back in the 40’s or earlier, there was no such thing as organic farming. It was just all farming. And it was all organic.
But then something happened. A lot of somethings, all building on each other. Chemicals and ways of trying to get more profit from the land and… a whole maelstrom of events involving companies and the government… and farmers were swept up in it all. Trying to keep their head above water, follow the ever-increasing rules, operate in the midst of ever-growing debt… only to be labeled the bad guys on top of it all.
I dunno, maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about. But I’m trying to learn.
So here, let me talk about From Seed To Seed.
The film takes us through a year in the lives of Terry and Monique, who operate an independent small scale farm in Neubergthal, near Altona. We see the toil and heartbreak and hope of this life, up close.
We also see other operations, such as Kroeker Farms in Winkler — a huge organic farm I hadn’t heard of (though I imagine I’ve probably enjoyed their produce).
We meet a young man considering the farming life… and finding it incredibly surprisingly difficult.
We meet a farmer in the Brandon Hills area, trying to begin transitioning to organic… and ultimately failing in his first attempt. Super heart-breaking.
We see an idyllic childhood, a connection to family, a connection to food sources, and a love for the land.
That is what I saw, anyway, when watching From Seed To Seed.
I took a few scattered notes when Katharina was speaking during the Q&A, and also when we were standing in a circle chatting afterward… here are my notes ‘n’ quotes:
Katharina is especially concerned about a new law coming out that will prevent farmers from saving seed — it will become illegal. Think about the implications of this. If you grow something, and want to grow it again, you can’t just harvest the seed and replant. No. That will actually be illegal. You must throw the seed away, and go again and buy fresh seed next season. It’s pretty chilling when you think about it.
Today, the average age of farmers is 55 years old. What happens when large scale farms replace family farms? That lost mentorship.
Katharina clearly made this film with a lot of love. She herself was raised in a farming family, her dad was a farmer. A film that sees the hard work and effort that goes into this life. She loves farmers, and this film was like a love letter for farmers of all stripes.
Farmers don’t get enough respect for being stewards of the land. We need MORE farmers on the land.
Farming is a sacrament. This film gives farming the dignity it deserves… it brought humanity back to farming.
Beautiful. Thank-you for making this film, Katharina. And thank-you for coming to the Mennonite Heritage Village to engage in this conversation with us!
To learn more, visit fromseedtoseed.com
Watch From Seed To Seed on Bell MTS Stories From Home.