Friday, February 01, 2008

Real Dirt



Last night during our champagne and pizza, the three of us watched the DVD The Real Dirt on Farmer John. What a wonderful little movie!

The film talks about a fascinating farmer, John Peterson, who does everything a little bit differently--and ends up running an enormous CSA on an organic farm. He also wears boas around his neck while he rides his tractor and frolics through his fields in a bee costume with his girlfriend. Great fun--but also a piercing discussion of the difficulties of farming across the last few decades.

One of the best things about the film is the early footage. His mother ran her handheld movie camera from the time her children were quite small growing up on the farm that Farmer John now runs. He took up the filmmaking talent and recorded all his hippie college friends partying and celebrating in the barns and fields. A bit after college, he made a short documentary about his own difficulties and about the pressures on farmers in general at the time. He chronicles his own depression and its changing meanings over time. And from the beginning of the story until its current happy ending, it has all been chronicled on film. Pretty amazing to see.

John Peterson also has out a great cookbook celebrating his farm. Check it out!

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