Young boys seeking to serve their country are encouraged to join the Mendelian Corporation’s Sprouts youth program. The Sprouts motto “Duty First” indicates that the security of the food supply comes above all else, and that a Sprout must remain vigilant at all times. At 12 years old, Juan (Sebastian Villada) is completely devoted to the Sprouts, and to Sprouts leader and local security chief Dick Phillips (Yul Vazquez). Under his tutelage, Juan — whose mother died in a food riot a decade earlier — routinely uses his electronic “seed-sniffer” to secretly inspect the crops on neighboring farms in search of “bad seeds.” On one otherwise average day, Juan is inspecting a cornfield on the Ballard Farm when he discovers a contaminated patch. The field is burned down and the farmer is arrested.
But young Juan is torn when he finds his father Mateo (Julian Acosta) in the family barn, meeting with a man he doesn’t recognize. Juan suspects the two men are collaborating as underground seed-runners. Mateo is disappointed in his son’s blind loyalty to the corporation, and Juan is conflicted about his suspicions regarding his father, but needs help making moral sense of this new world order. The young man struggles to juggle his alliances, and in the end, his choices may change his life forever.