The Real Dirt on Farmer John

Posted by on February 23, 2006 in Garden | Comments Off on The Real Dirt on Farmer John


I should be at our local Grange tonight watching this documentary with my fellow organic gardeners & farmers, but I’m still getting over a cold so I think I’ll just Netflix it instead. It looks like a great film about an inspiring farmer, so if it’s coming to a theater near you, check it out. It’s won all kinds of film festival awards. Here’s more info about the film:

Filmmaker Taggart Siegel has documented Farmer John’s efforts to redefine his farm for over twenty years, witnessing the colorful drama of John’s life. Beginning with home movies from the 1950s, Real Dirt paints a vivid picture of John’s rural American beginnings and the struggles he inherits along with the land. After the death of his father during the late 1960s, John turns his traditional farm into an experiment of art and culture. At the film’s close, the Peterson family farm is one of the largest Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms in the United States. Out of the ruins of single-crop agriculture, John creates an extended farm village where people and art can thrive alongside agriculture.

Real Dirt addresses the economic pressures faced by small farmers, conflicts between tradition and innovation, and the difficulties of nurturing a community through times of crisis and change. Farmer John’s story is the tale not merely of one farm, but of an entire rural culture threatened by mega-farms, monoculture, and modern market society. It is also a story of inspiration, demonstrating that
solutions exist to the problems of rural communities, and that they are luscious, rich, and filled with joy.