Seed Battles

201350 mins

Hidden deep inside a massive mountain in inhospitable Spitsbergen, Norway, is the most important vault in the world: the Global Seed Vault. It is 20 degrees below zero and the vault is able to withstand earthquakes, floods, missile attacks and nuclear disaster.

The “Doomsday Vault,” as it is called, is the life's work of the inspired American professor Cary Fowler. Its mission is to be a "backup" for as many of the world's crops as possible, and a toolbox for seed breeders. This is vital, for by 2050 there will be 9 billion mouths to feed.

But the success of the vault also shows its downside. The increasing strategic importance of seeds gives rise to a fundamental debate: to whom do the seeds belong?