Film Festival Celebrates the Roots of Farming in America

March 8, 2014

Now celebrating its sixth year, it is time again for the annual Farm Film Fest, sponsored by the Chatham Film Club, Chatham Agricultural Partnership, and Columbia Land Conservancy. This year the program is organized with an hour long film at the beginning and end of the festival, surrounding six varied and well executed farming related shorts. The festivities take place on Sunday, March 16th, beginning at 1:00 pm at the historic Crandell Theatre, Main Street, Chatham.

Admission is free with a requested donation of a non-perishable food item to the Chatham Silent Food Pantry that will be collected in the lobby of the Crandell. At the conclusion of the screenings, the public is invited to the Meet Your Maker reception upstairs at the Peint O’Gwrw, where you can congratulate the participating filmmakers. Cash bar with free snacks – made, of course, from local produce.

“I look forward to the Farm Film Fest every year,” said Donna Staron, owner with her husband Stanley of Staron Farm in Valatie and founding member of the Chatham Agricultural Partnership. “It’s a great way to educate people about the challenges farmers face every day, and we enjoy the dialogue with filmmakers and movie lovers.”

“Farmers have helped defined the very character of Columbia County. Conserving working farm land and helping farmers find access to good land is a key part of the Columbia Land Conservancy’s work,” according to Tom Crowell, Director of Development. “The Farm Film Festival is great way to learn about some of the new approaches to farming happening her in the county and around the country.”

The afternoon film festival begins with Growing Cities, a one hour feature that tells the inspiring stories of intrepid urban farmers, innovators, and everyday city dwellers who are challenging the way this country grows and distributes its food. From those growing food in backyards to make ends meet to educators teaching kids to eat healthier, viewers discover urban farmers are harvesting a whole lot more than just good food. The filmmakers traveled 12,000 miles across the United States and visited over 80 different urban farms to make this film.

A series of five short films follows, including:

Crafting the Cider Comeback from the Glynwood Center describes the reemergence of hard cider and other apple spirits specialty product manufacturing in the Hudson Valley.

Community Garden, created by three girls in Girl Scout Troop 1616, documents the troop’s work in cultivating a community garden. The filmmakers attend Emma Willard School and Greenville Middle and High Schools.

Hopped Upstate: The Rise of Hop Farming in New York is a short documentary project that follows a hop farmer seeking to revive his century old family farm in upstate New York and become part of a budding economic movement in his rural hometown.

Locust Hill Farm studies a local family’s effort to raise heirloom American Milking Devon cows – an animal on the American Livestock Breed Conservancy’s endangered list. Fourteen year old filmmaker Jessica Adee is in the ninth grade at Chatham High School and screened her first film, Hopeful Dawn, at the 2012 Farm Film Fest.

Trowbridge Farms – Angus Cattle celebrates the 50+ year agricultural history of the Trowbridge family who raise registered Angus cattle in Columbia County.

The festival will conclude with a final feature length film by Vermont native and Emerson College graduate Allison Gillette. Cow Power presents the history and science behind the world’s only utility offering electricity created from cow manure. The film explores the advantages and complications of this modern renewable resource program.

The Chatham Film Club and Columbia Land Conservancy are pleased to partner with the Chatham Agricultural Partnership as advocates for Keep Farming in our local community and presenting programming that speaks to the priority of protecting farming as a way of life for the benefit of us all.