The Seed Saver

An adopted Korean-American farmer sows only seeds from her native land. Will she cultivate healthy crops and a connection to her heritage?

a man collecting seeds
Independent Lens
Premiere Date
May 13, 2019
9 minutes
Funding Initiative
Short-Form Open Call

John Picklap

John Picklap’s directorial work has been featured by The Atlantic, Atlas Obscura, and premiered at AFI DOCS, Mill Valley Film Festival and won Best Short Documentary at LA Lift-Off Film Festival. He has also worked with major media organizations such as NPR, WIRED, AJ+, and the Associated Press.Picklap is a 2019 SFFilm Artist-in-residence as he works on Show more his first feature film. Show less

Garrett Stern

Garrett Stern

Garrett Stern is a Virginia native. For the past decade he has been a researcher and advocate for sustainable, ethical farming. He has worked with farmers, nonprofits, and universities to build bridges between the farmers who produce our food and the communities that eat it. When he not producing films, he is working at the University of Richmond as a Senior Show more Program Manager, building professional education programs to meet the needs of the Richmond community. Show less

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The Film

The Seed Saver captures a struggle both personal and universal – how does an adopted child cultivate a connection to the culture of her birth? For Kristyn Leach, that cultivation is literal. As a farmer in Northern California, she tends crops grown from ancient Asian heritage seeds. Leach grew up on Long Island, a rebellious South Korean child adopted into an Irish Catholic family. Now, the connection to her past is tangible, but so are the ravages of disease and wildlife that threaten her harvest. The Seed Saver explores the roots of cultural identity through the insightful story of one unique American farmer.