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Back to August 2014 Newsletter

The Sower

The film "The Sower" is a documentary on the life, work and passion of Patrice Fortier. Fortier is a Quebecois artist and organic farmer, who has devoted his life to producing seeds of herbs and vegetables, especially those of ancient heritage and other forgotten varieties.
 

Fortier grows and produces seeds of ancient varieties to perpetuate and sell, as well as to help with his new creations. Along with carefully cultivating these unique specimens, Fortier also transforms them into works of art. He makes paintings with carrots, wigs with flowers and fairies with potatoes. The film is shot in Kamouraska, Quebec, and explores the fascinating world of a farmer who does not hesitate to marry his farm work with art.

Fortier is a unique and passionate farmer. First, he seeks to revive any rare or forgotten seeds that are well adapted to our climatic conditions. "A plant that requires too much care is not in its place," he says. He belives hearty plants like the Peruvian gourds, Belgian carrots and Polish rutabagas that do well in his area are the crops of the future. Indeed, the wet and windy conditions and short growing seasons in Kamouraska are fairly representative of several regions of Quebec and other parts of the country.

What makes Fortier particularly intreresting, however, is that he is not just looking to save seed. He strives to reintroduce these heirloom varieties and to make them accessible to the public, but also to revive their history. This is especially true if that history is as fascinating and iconic as, for example, that of the Blessed Sacrament bean, to which Fortier dedicated a parade in his village.

He is also seen in the film hand-pollinating a number of varieties of squash to preserve their varietal purity, extracting their seeds, one by one, and bagging them to sell them to people who care about food diversity. Another scene in the film shows him at work behind his booth at a number of seed exchanges and sales, where he sells the fruit of his crops each year.

Don't miss this film – it's a must-see for seed savers and enthusiasts!


(The Sower - Le Semeur - is a french film with English subtitles).

 

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