FEATURED MOVIE – THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM
It’s not very often that a movie is beautifully shot, truly entertaining, and educational. But The Biggest Little Farm, filmed, written, produced by and featuring John Chester, along with his wife Molly, on their true life adventure from city slickers to full-on regenerative farmers, somehow is all of those. Technically, one could classify it as a documentary as it follows their real story and is actual footage, but that doesn’t mean one should. To do so would be to reduce it down to the facts it contains. It is much more than just an informative piece – it is a delightful, inspiring tale of human perseverance in the face of curveball after curveball, an example of the essence of farming.
For me, as somewhat of a cinephile, the film is so immersive that one can’t help but be drawn in, and relate to the Chesters’ story. John, previously a wildlife filmmaker for the likes of Animal Planet, clearly has an undeniable talent for capturing the incredible intricacies of fleeting moments in nature, and translates their journey into a visual feast. To be quite honest, the fact that he was able to capture the footage while also going through what they did during the course of the film is commendable to say the least.
For me, as a farmer, the film serves as a heartwarming inspiration summed up by the line “this all started with a promise that we would leave the big city and build a life in perfect harmony with nature” mentioned by the John. It is often easy to romanticise and idealise life on a farm and what goes into it, but in reality there are many facets of it which are neither pleasant nor desired. The Chesters get to learn this firsthand in many ways, and share their lessons with us. Being a farmer means one has to be adaptable, innovative, quick to learn, and above all, a keen observer.
The core message of the film – the call for humankind to return to working with nature, as opposed to against it, clearly resonates with the environmental theme that has recently gathered mainstream recognition, and is so important. But what I love about the film is how it ties this theme; through the pure hard evidence of their story (from video footage to actual statistics, to the first-hand accounts of all the farmers involved) with the importance of farming within this process. By farming with nature and aiming to aid it’s processes, we can not only increase a farm’s productivity (through resilience, health and diversity), but the farm can also actively aid in rehabilitating the ecosystem.
Ultimately, the film is a great window into the lives of some of those who have taken the proverbial plunge, and done what many only contemplate. It is an enjoyable journey through the difficulties along that path, which are often misunderstood or misrepresented. The Biggest Little Farm serves as a great reminder that challenges constantly face us all, and when addressed correctly, can often be turned into opportunities. And it’s lovely to watch.
– Nevau, one of those who harvest
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