THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM Saturday 4th April 2020 in the Village Hall Doors open 7pm, film starts 7.30pm Duration 1hr 31 mins Rated: PG
It all started with a promise to a dog. John and Molly Chester leave the big city to build a life in perfect harmony with nature like a traditional farm from the past. With advice and guidance from biodynamic farming guru Alan York, they bring a large plot of mostly avocado and lemon trees on a dusty hillside of exhausted soil back to life, farming a wide variety of fruits and flocks of chickens and ducks whose eggs are much in demand with foodies. Over the nearly 10 years covered in the film they expand into sheep, cows and an endearing sow who becomes best mates with a rooster, all of which John films with great skill and empathy. Of course it helped that John had been a director-cinematographer specializing in wildlife photography and Molly a chef and food blogger interested in rediscovering traditional farming methods as opposed to the large-scale, pesticide-intensive agriculture thatís highly profitable but ravishes the land. To the filmís credit it doesnít become a self-congratulatory, or simply a highly profession home movie. John Chester responsibly explores the downside and many challenges inherent in their agrarian methods. The couple must decide whether they should go to war with the coyotes when their fowl flocks are annihilated; meanwhile, their pro-diversity approach duly stimulates the bird and mammal population but that also means damaged fruit crops. Then thereís the growing threat from wildfires. All these challenges they meet with remarkable stoicism and watching the Chesterís fight past disillusionment to learn the real lessons of harvesting in communion with nature is what gives the movie its rousing illuminating power; a truly remarkable film, gloriously uplifting.