Cycling the Length of South America for Seeds

I first saw the flyer when I was trying, in vain, to interest my five-year-old grandson into trying Go Berry. Even with a generous coating of chocolate syrup, only a sliver of a bite was consumed, but while we were there I picked up a flyer for a Friday night movie at the Academy.  It was called Ciclovida:Lifecycle, and it was made by two brothers, Matt and Loren Feinstein, who spoke before and after the movie.

Apparently, everyone else in Northampton must have picked up the same postcard, because last night at 8:15, there was only balcony-room seating left. It felt good to be supporting a cause that we all can all sink our teeth into…this was not only a movie premier, but a gathering of people who think about local food, with short talks from CISA’s Phil Korman, Mass Bike (please tell us why you aren’t riding your bike everywhere so we can help you try to figure out how to do it), and Grow Food Northampton.  Grow Food’s rep was positively giddy–they only need $4800 to finish a fund drive that’s netted them nearly $700,000, so they can buy 120 acres of farmland in the city. WOW!

The movie followed a pair of poor, landless peasants named Inacio and Ivania. In 2006, they set off on two single-speed rickety bicycles with an audacious mission. They’d cycle from their home in Brazil all the way down to Buenos Aires, bringing only about $10 and relying on fellow campesinos who shared their view of the people’s rights to land to feed them and give them places to stay.  Along the way they’d collect seeds–and share them with other farmers, exchanging these seeds of life that are so threatened by Monsanto and other companies who push genetically modified seeds and hybrids that don’t create seeds to use the next year. Up to 87% of the seeds sold by these companies in Argentina are now GMO seeds, threatening biodiversity. “Seeds are life, and whoever owns the seeds controls life,” say the narrators.

The filmmaker brothers follow the pair, the soundtrack often includes the sound of the bike wheels turning and we learn about their life, and their romance, and the struggle that’s happening with deforestation, pollution from factories, and peasants with no rights to land.

The Feinsteins have a plan to bring the pair up to the US, and take a tour in April and May riding down the east coast , showing the film along with live music and workshops on biofuels, landless movements in Brazil, and even pedal and solar-powered sound and video