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Posted - 05/16/2013
On Farming and Filmmaking - Harvesting the Yield of a Film

The process of bringing The Organic Life to light has been long, arduous and sometimes monotonous, but in that sense, it’s not unlike the process of organic farming, which it seeks to reveal. Our farmers start out with a seed – or, in my case, a simple idea – which they plant and cultivate, caring for it with water, compost and sun. However, despite their best efforts to nurture this plant, its success is ultimately dependent on so many factors, natural elements, over which they have no control.


The artistry and magic of this natural process echo during the filmmaking process. A fellow filmmaker put it wisely, “You set out to make one film, and the film that needs to get made, gets made.”


IMG_20130407_181212_1.jpgWith every planting, the farmer ultimately loses potential plants (and revenue) to poor germination, pests, too much rain, too little rain, and days that are too hot or too cold. When you consider, even for a moment, the multitude of micro elemental transactions that must take place for you to purchase that juicy carrot at the farmers market, you begin to realize it’s a miracle that its first tiny sprout ever broke through the rough earth at all. Even then, you have no idea what its yield will be.


Farmers might set out to grow a certain type of produce for a certain reason, but the harvest that needs to happen – for them to learn certain life lessons or to grow and ultimately to blossom in their chosen career – happens.


Similarly, if you would have asked me two and a half years ago what The Organic Life was about, my description would certainly not match the powerfully personal, intimate chronicle that I’ve nearly completed today. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I never thought I’d make a film with myself as a main character. For a long time, I never even thought I’d make a film about Austin. Yet that’s the film that emerged.


Now, I’m a mere weeks from having the film be 100% completed and festival ready, replete with downloadable mini-books for both educators and also adult viewers, and I realize the immensity of this undertaking. However, with a little luck (the early dry spell, a few warm nights), this film could truly influence people’s eating and produce buying habits.


I’ve been inspired by Austin’s continuous tenacity to pursue his passion and, if I must admit it, by my own courage to have made a film that goes against what most experts and critics want to see in the food documentary genre (such as films that align with the structure and tone of Food, Inc., The Future of Food, and Forks Over Knives).


I know that change happens only from human-to-human contact, and as I approach the precipice of sharing The Organic Life with the world, it is my sincere hope that by getting to know Austin and me and understanding our decision to partake in a more localized, seasonal, and just food system, viewers will feel empowered to change and improve their own lives and the planet as we revolutionize the American food system (one carrot at a time).