Every single day, every one of us consumes food. It is an element of our survival. We must eat, and we must eat continually. “Farmland” is a documentary film about six young Millenial farmers–five young men and a young woman. All six are in their 20s. All six are part of the 2% of our population who feeds all the rest of us.
Years ago, I took my ten-year-old niece on a vacation to show her the Old Florida in which I was raised. We visited an Alligator Farm, rode an airboat in the Everglades and swam in many of its cool, deep springs. We also visited my cousin’s cattle ranch, because my niece told me earlier in the trip that she thought farmers were kind of boring and sad because they were stuck on the farm. Of course, I begged to differ; and I took her to meet my good looking cousin who was passionate about what he did for a living. He personally took her for a tour of his ranch. It was a great lesson for her.
What the Critics Said
I heard about this movie called “Farmland” and decided to take the time to check it out, though the critics panned it. I liked the movie and wondered why it got such poor ratings. After reading the reviews, I wondered if it had more to do with their dislike of the message than the actual production of the movie itself.
Frankly, I couldn’t help feeling sad. It seems that many in our artistic community are the first to yell “freedom of speech” until they don’t like the message. Then they want to squash it.
I found the movie well done with really beautiful scenery. It did a wonderful job of showing the lives of these young people, two of which grow organic crops. “Farmland” demonstrated how much risk and responsibility goes into producing our food. So what did I rate it? On a five star scale, I gave it four stars. I took off a star because it got a little slow in the middle.
“The movie helps the viewer understand a little something about what it feels like to be a farmer. Today we in America are far removed from the land which grows the food we eat. Most of us have never even seen a farm or ranch up close, let alone had a meaningful conversation with a person who grows the food we eat. This movie would be excellent for children to help them understand the importance of work and responsibility.
The only thing irregular about these six farmers is that they are all fairly young and there was only one woman. Farmers, in general, are disproportionately older. The average age of a farmer in America is 58. Also, about 30% of our farms are either owned or managed by a woman. Other than that, one gets a good sense that farming is both a business and a passion. It is certainly not the romanticized view of farming practices of years gone by but then that romanticized view was not very accurate anyway.
These six young people explain how they must tend to the financial bottom line or go out of business. They also demonstrate how farming is about hard work, long hours, and an enormous amount of uncertainty and risk. It is also about family, community, and doing something that they love to do.
Most Farmers Are Passionate About What They Do
This seemed very real to me. My cattleman cousin once told me that he couldn’t imagine doing anything else for a living. I also come from an agricultural community. Most farmers I know are passionate about what they do.
Most people think of farming as unsophisticated and behind the times, yet the statistics do not support this. Only three percent of our population feeds all of us. Agricultural production is becoming an exact science. Successful farmers today must have a thorough grounding in some type of science.
To be successful, a farmer must know a great deal about his land and the products he plans to raise.
The difficulties associated with keeping a farm in the family are well illustrated as well as the hardships that come about when one generation passes away before the next generation is ready to step in. It deals with the misinformation supplied by groups such as PETA, though it doesn’t dwell on the subject.
Farmland may not be the best documentary ever made but it is far better than the 1/2 star given by one of its critics.