Mr. Seed is the new, brash face of organic farming.
Mr. Seed, created by The Butler Bros., is the star of a new video for Seed Matters. The initiative was founded by the Clif Bar Family Foundation with three main goals: conserving crop diversity, promoting farmers’ roles and rights as seed innovators, and reinvigorating public seed research and education.
The loud-mouthed character, who was introduced to the world last month, seems to be attempting to create mass appeal for the organic movement by slinging insults at the Big Six chemical companies that make pesticides and herbicides in the U.S. (and that also control 63 percent of the seed market), citing presence of these chemicals, nutrient decline in chemical-resistant crops, and unsustainable agricultural methods as just some of the many issues plaguing our food system today.
The video also directs viewers to a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and presidential candidates, asking them to block mergers of big agrochemical companies and to increase crop diversification. The video relies mostly on name-calling and quite a bit of mature humor to get its point across, which, while an interesting tactic, also risks alienating certain people.
It’s no surprised that the CEO of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, Randy Krotz, wasn’t a fan. “I encourage each and every one of you reading this to Be Offended. Be Disgusted. Be Angry,” he said. “And even Be Hurt and to react loud and clear. Our livelihoods are being criticized and it is time to respond.”
A recent Forbes article also fought back, attempting to poke holes in the argument upon which the video is based: the journalist claimed that the organic industry also uses herbicides (and neglects to mention that organic herbicides aren’t nearly as dangerous as glyphosate, which the video dubs PoundUp and associates with illicit drugs) and alluded to the notion that all genetic modification, including generations of cross-pollination carried out by farmers, is on-par with the mass production of GMOs plaguing our agricultural system of late.
They’re all arguments we’ve heard before, but do naysayers have a point when it comes to this video? Is it too brash to be helpful?
Not according to Civil Eats, which calls the video “edgy” and claims that it does a good job of directing consumers towards the issues at hand, including but not limited to the possibility of agro mergers and the subsequent increase of seed prices due to the further concentration of the industry.
Moreover, Mr. Seed lends a voice to the movement, something that Adam Butler, founder and strategic chief of The Butler Bros., thinks that it needed. “Organic seed needed a voice that couldn’t be ignored so its advantages could be shared broadly,” he says. “Mr. Seed was born to be that voice, and now it is thanks to an ambitious script (and) a brave client.”
Less than one month after the video’s release, the Seed Matters page boasts more than 12,000 likes, and the YouTube video has more than 43,000 views. He’s a slow-growing character but certainly a popular one; Mr. Seed may, in fact, be the voice that organic seed needed.
Image care of Seed Matters