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Pardes Yehuda: "The Real Dirt on Farmer John"

Sunday, July 20, 2008

"The Real Dirt on Farmer John"

If this website was a source for things not positive, I would include a lengthy write-up on how the American government and the American consumer destroyed the American farm. Research it yourselves, it's a sad story. Until last night, I knew of very few positive things to come out of the challenge and struggle of the American farmer in post-war America, an era notably marked by a growing disconnect with our land and the source of our food, replaced by packaged and processed foods provided by government subsidized corporations with more attention and resources given to advertising and profit than nutrition or sustainability.

John Peterson, however, has a different story. He sprouted on a farm near Beloit, Wisconsin out of the very essence of the "American farm." The son of a farmer, who seems to have been the son of a farmer (and so on and so forth, he's done many things, but one constant in his life from birth to now has been farming. I encountered "Farmer John" in his movie (2006), last night, "The Real Dirt on Farmer John," which is a biographical documentary on
"a maverick Midwestern farmer. Castigated as a pariah in his community, Farmer John bravely transforms his farm amidst a failing economy, vicious rumors, and arson. He succeeds in creating a bastion of free expression and a revolutionary form of agriculture in rural America."
John's story is ultimately a great success. He is so much more than a farmer (which is no small thing!!!); he is a visionary, a revolutionary, an artist, a teacher and a creator. He is the true positive image of an American, in all honesty. Out of his lifelong pursuit and struggle as a farmer, grew a vibrant, organic, bio-dynamic farm that supplies fresh, delicious, nutritious food to local consumers.

If you live in the Chicago area (click here for a map!) you can buy a share in his Community Supported Agriculture program (CSA). Also make sure to check out the CSA Learning Center, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary.

There is an easy solution to the growing food crisis--your local farmer. Check out John's movie, it's available on netflix; join me in writing John to say, Thank you, Mr. Peterson, for sticking it out and being a positive model and a positive source for local produce, and so much more. Or if you're in the Midwest stop by (another map!) and say 'thank you,' in person.

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