Last fall, my husband Rob (Sahaj Singh) and I attended a viewing of The Real Dirt on Farmer John at the Bend Film Festival. We enjoyed the film very much and encouraged folks to see it if the possibility arrived. It was currently in the independent film circuit, showing at a few festivals here and there, not yet widely released. It won several awards in Bend, including the Grand Jury and Viewers Choice Awards. It has continued to garner awards at film festivals throughout the country and has now become more widely available. This film tells a great story of a man’s journey and struggles to live his passions, in relation to himself, his family and the land.
The power of the farmer and his land runs deep, deep, deep. Sahaj Singh comes from a farming family in the Palouse Region of Washington State. For generations they farmed wheat, peas and barley. No one in the family is currently farming the home place as traditional farming has been beset by hardships in the last 20 to 30 years and no longer supports the family as it once did. But when we go back to the land he was raised on, with the dirt black and rich, and stand upon that ground, it vibrates the passions of his great grandfather and grandfather, his father and himself; the story of farming from horses to machines, of backbreaking work and the satisfaction of a hard days labor in the rhythms of the seasons, in relation to the land. It is an intimate relationship, mistress and wife, in the knowing of her temperament and nature, her gifts and grievances.
These days Sahaj Singh “farms” our garden; dahlias, roses, iris, vegetables, berries. His green thumb has a Midas touch and everything under his care prospers and grows. And no matter where we travel, he has not experienced his journey until he can squat down upon the ground, run the soil through his fingers and feel the measure of the land. Then he understands her nature, what she produces, and her relationship to water, her capacity and limitations. It is his story and no matter where we live or what direction our lives may take, he will always be a farmer. It is his heart and soul, born and bred in the love of the land.
So here’s the dirt…
THE REAL DIRT ON FARMER JOHN is the award-winning true story of third-generation American farmer John Peterson’s hero’s journey of success, tribulation, failure and rebirth, through his childhood in the ‘50s, the tumultuous ‘60s, the hippie-influenced ‘70s, and the farm-crisis ‘80s, culminating in his transformation-based creation of a biodynamic, organic CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm serving 1500 families in the Chicago area with weekly fresh produce.
This film is available through www.netflix.com
Visit http://www.therealdirt.net/story.html to read all about John Peterson, the making of the film and his farm.
You can also visit the website http://www.angelicorganics.com/indexold.html to learn about the farm, Biodynamics and Community Supported Agriculture.