Nucla, Colorado, just an hour’s drive from Telluride, has seen hard times ever since the U.S. uranium industry collapsed in the late 1970s. It’s a hardscrabble town, where the folks who haven’t fled barely eke out a living. One oasis of activity is The Apothecary Shoppe, the sole pharmacy within 4,000 square miles. The owner, Don Colcord, gamely occupies multiple roles as druggist, surrogate doctor, life counselor and community benefactor. Colcord’s sanguine public persona, however, belies a long-suffered private pain for which there is no drug, no cure and no relief.
Far in the frozen north, on a remote island near the North Pole, lies a magical and beautiful place that houses treasures beyond imagination. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault was built to store duplicates of seeds from collections around the globe to ensure the continuation of crop diversity in the future. All comparisons to cryogenics aside — a critique that’s been lobbed at the seed vault — Seeds of Time lays a convincing argument for the importance and urgency to create a physical database of the genetic material of South American potatoes, Thai rice varietals and Midwestern American corn — to name just three of the millions of seeds destined to be stored in Svalbard. Told through the eyes of one man, Cary Fowler, whose mission is to protect the future of our food and who is facing his own mortality, Seeds of Time takes a subject as esoteric, small and removed as global seed storage and gives it a persuasive human face.