It may make you laugh, smile and possibly even cry. And, as one movie-goer said upon exiting the theatre, “any movie that makes me cry is a good movie.”
It made me yearn for life on the family farm.
On May 1, Farmland will be coming to theatres in more than 60 major markets and will be screened in rural communities too. It’s the latest documentary from Academy Award winning director James Moll.
In the film, Moll goes behind-the-scenes and follows six young American farmers and ranchers whose passion for their jobs is extremely inspirational. In doing so, Farmland takes an intimate look at the lives of farmers and ranchers who are in their 20s, all of whom are responsible for running their farming businesses.
The documentary chronicles the farmers and ranchers’ high-risk/high-reward jobs and their passion for a way of life that has been passed down from generation-to-generation, yet continues to evolve. This allows the film’s viewers a first-hand glimpse into the young farmers and ranchers’ lives. Better yet, Farmland audiences will hear the thoughts and opinions about agriculture not from a narrator or director, but from the mouths of the farmers and ranchers themselves.
Whether it’s organic or conventional, the film explores all sides of the equation with a respectful balance. Moll’s fair approach gives the farmers and ranchers an open forum to discuss controversial issues such as GMOs and the treatment of animals without bias and over-dramatization.
The film also tackles many myths that the public may have about farmers, most of which are completely inaccurate. I got to view a screening of Farmland at the Cleveland Film Festival at the end of last month. It drew a big crowd as both screening rooms were nearly full. About half of the crowd stayed for a brief panel discussion that followed.
The documentary will help link consumers to producers and no doubt spark conversation. I think Farmland will help build and enhance trust in food, farming and agriculture for a variety of reasons:
- It focuses on shared values, which are three to five times more important in building trust than competence.
2. It focuses on values that are the foundation of building and enhancing trust: respect, empathy, transparency, respect for choice, safety, affordability, sustainability and science.
3. Consumers need to know about the care and love that farmers and ranchers put into their operations, and the film does that.
4. It engages consumers by introducing them to real farmers and ranchers. And these real farmers and ranchers demonstrate the way real farmers and ranchers go about using technology and care for animals, people and the planet.
5. It is credible and accurate. Information is shared that is truthful, objective, reliable and complete.
Overall, I think the most important reason why Farmland will help build and enhance trust in farming and ranching is that it involves people like me and people that I can help identify with and relate to, such as:
- A family trying to keep the farming operation going after the death of a loving husband and father;
- A young rancher trying to get all of the work done while he and his wife are expecting twins; work that he cannot get done without the support of his family and parents.
- A young farmer who is taking over part of the family’s farming operation and wants to grow the business.
- A young farmer who works very closely with his father in developing a business slightly different than his dad’s. Mom is always available for moral support.
- A young farmer who is a first generation farmer. Her family knows nothing about farming, yet they support her dreams, goals and ambition.
As you engage in conversations with family, friends and neighbors about Farmland, I think it’s important to keep these helpful steps to healthy engagement in mind:
- Listen – don’t judge
- Ask questions to invite dialogue
- Clarify their perspective
- Identify common values
- Share your perspective
For a full list of theatres showing the film, as well as to watch the advance trailer, information about the film and documentary subjects, please visit http://www.farmlandfilm.com/.