By Sarah Newman

Why You Should Watch This:

Director Micha X. Peled, in his dramatic film, Bitter Seeds, introduces us to citizens of a small Indian town who are dealing with the impacts of GMO seeds in their community.  Bitter Seeds is a dire warning to us about the potentially devastating impacts on US agriculture due to GMO seeds.  The film offers an intimate portrayal of the financial, family and social tolls these seeds have had on the farmers.

We meet farmers, family members and a young girl aspiring to be a journalist who seeks to unearth the cause of so many farmer suicides in her town, including that of her own father. Her determination to expose the connection between farmer suicides and Monsanto, the U.S.-based biotech company who develop GMO seeds, is inspiring, heart-wrenching and a David vs. Goliath story for the 21st century.

  • Title: Bitter Seeds
  • Date Created/Posted: 2012
  • Length: trailer 2:37 mins; full length feature 88 minutes
  • Who made it:  Micha Peled/ Teddy Bear Films
  • Location: India
  • Human Rights Issues: climate change, access to water, women’s education, international trade policies

Goal: India has more farmers than any country in the world, and they are in a crisis that is unprecedented in human history. Every 30 minutes a farmer in India kills himself in despair. Bitter Seeds raises questions about the human cost of genetically modified agriculture and the future of how we grow things. The goal of the film is to start a conversation about these topics and provide ways for audience members to get involved with anti-GMO actions in their communities.  This is the third film in Micha Peled’s globalization trilogy, following the award-winning Store Wars: When Wal-Mart Comes to Town and China Blue.

Primary Audience: This film is for people who are interested in better understanding the costs of GMO seeds on farmers, agriculture and the environment.

Content/Style/Voices: The film is almost entirely told through personal stories. These include the farmer who plants GMO cotton seeds, a young girl who aspires to be a journalist, the daughter of the farmer who is hoping to get married, and Indian executives at Monsanto.

Did you know? Proposition 37 is on the ballot in California this fall. If passed, it would require food products sold in California containing GMOs to be labeled.

Suggested Resources:

  • Learn more about GMO seeds through national organizations working on anti-GMO initiatives;
  • Organize a screening of the film at your office, home, community center or congregation – note that the screening kit is $35;
  • Get news updates and infographics about the film’s issues including Indian farmer suicides, GMOs, and more.

Sarah is an independent media consultant coordinating the screenings for BITTER SEEDS.

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