The Real Dirt on Farmer John film 10/21/07

Slow Food Huntington & Cinema Arts Centre present

The Real Dirt on Farmer John

Sunday, October 21 at 2pm


Members $9 • Public $12
Reservations Recommended

No Refunds • Includes Reception

Guest Speakers: Jo Halsey, Green Thumb Farm; Steve Storch, Natural Science; Ann Rathkopf, Slow Food Huntington; suzanne j. zoubeck, Green Thumb CSA – Huntington

The Real Dirt on Farmer John depicts the life and times of John Peterson, AKA Farmer John. Director Taggart Siegel, a friend of John’s from college, began working on the film as a labor of love about the love of labor. Siegel pursued this project for over 25 years using any type of camera that was available to capture key moments in the farmer’s life. This harvest of film footage enabled Siegel to create the perfect biography, one that combines an accurate chronicle with an engaging narrative. Siegel portrays his friend honestly and unpretentiously, using the camera as a confessional device to accompany the farmer through thick or thin.

Naturally, the subject of this epic tale deserved the attention. John’s eccentric qualities put him against the grain of tradition. He feels just as comfortable driving a combine as he does wearing flamboyant costumes. But aside from offering comic relief, The Real Dirt shows us how this unique individual’s sensitivity towards nature makes him the ideal farmer.

John Peterson is at the forefront of broad changes that many American farmers have made in what they grow, and how their crops reach our tables. Where his father grew commodity crops (wheat, corn, soybeans) that were sold to large corporations, John grows organic vegetables that are bought by local people in the vicinity of the farm. Much of his crop is sold through a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) in which individuals buy a share in a farmer’s crop at the start of the growing season, and receive a weekly allotment of fresh organic produce. In the end, the downward spiral of his career is dramatically altered by a redeeming sense of purpose and an unexpected opportunity.- Matthew Garklavs

USA, 2006, 82 min., color & b/w

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