Seeds of Resistance: The Fight to Save Our Food Supply

Ten thousand years after humans figured out how to stop wandering and plant crops, veteran investigative journalist Mark Schapiro plunges into the battle underway for control of seeds, the ground-zero ingredient for our food. The stakes have never been higher, as unprecedented climate volatility threatens the long-term security of our food supply. 

Three-quarters of the seed varieties on Earth in 1900 had become extinct by 2015. In Seeds of Resistance, Schapiro takes us onto the frontlines of a struggle over the seeds that remain.

Schapiro reveals how more than half of all commercially-traded seeds have fallen under the control of just three multinational agri-chemical companies, and unravels the myths that lie behind their genetically engineered and crack-baby seeds, addicted to pesticides from the day they are planted. He dives deep into the heroic and increasingly powerful movement in the United States and around the world that is defying those trends, and embarks on a search for the seeds that offer our best and healthiest options for resisting the rush of climatic changes.

Schapiro applies his investigative and storytelling skills to this riveting narrative, from the environmentally stressed fields of the American Midwest to the war-torn fields of Syria, from Native American communities that have been cultivating crops in extreme conditions for centuries to the financial markets that have been turning patented seeds into one of the planet’s most valuable commodities. Seeds of Resistance lifts the lid on the struggle over seeds as conditions on the earth shift above our heads and beneath our feet.

This will be a special edition of Real Food Reads, bringing together author Mark Schapiro and farmer, seed preserver, and activist Kristyn Leach in conversation together live at the Center for Urban Education and Sustainable Agriculture

Praise for Seeds of Resistance

Seeds of Resistance is a wake-up call. With vivid and memorable stories, Mark Schapiro tells us how seeds are at the frontlines of our epic battle for healthy food.” 
–Alice Waters, founder of Chez Panisse and the Edible Schoolyard 

“At the bottom of it all lies the seed: who controls it, who ‘owns’ it, who develops it, who plants and nourishes it. As Mark Schapiro so vividly and compellingly writes: Save the seed, and you save the planet. Let others control it, and they control everything. For real.”
–Mark Bittman, author of How to Grill Everything and A Bone to Pick: The Good and Bad News About Food

About the Author

ph: Luis Hernandez

Mark Schapiro has won numerous journalism prizes for his investigative work, including the du Pont-Columbia University Award. He is the author of two widely praised books on urgent environmental issues, Carbon Shock and Exposed. His articles have been published in The AtlanticHarpersMother Jones and The Guardian, and his documentary work has been featured on PBS’s Frontline.

Follow him on Twitter @schapiro and make sure to stay up to date on seeds on his website


About Kristyn Leach

Kristyn farms in Winters, partnering with Namu Restaurant in SF and doing field trials and seed production for Kitazawa Seed Company. Her farm focuses on growing Asian crops while also trying to support community organizing through food and seed sovereignty. Kristyn has recently been recognized as one of California’s Emerging Food Systems Leaders by the Berkeley Food Institute.

Learn more about Kristyn’s seed-saving work here, and Nongwhal, her volunteer farm program here. 

Additional Resources

The Seed Stewards by Melissa Hung, Popula, July 15, 2019

How the Fight for the World’s Seeds Can Make or Break Our Food System by Cirrus Wood, Berkeleyside, November 2, 2018

Header photo by Tiffani Patton