Growing Local short film series premieres at Camden International Film Festival

The locavore movement is old news. Growing Local takes the conversation to the next level. These three poignant vignettes make clear that small farms and access to locally produced food is not a sure thing. In Growing Local, we meet Ben and Taryn, a young couple revitalizing a fertile piece of farmland on risky sweat equity while creating a thriving community food hub, artisanal butcher Ben who helps us better understand how healthier, thoughtful meat production can be supported and sustained, and Richard and Adam, father and son, organic dairy farmers struggling to keep their family farm going and in the family. These stories help us understand the interconnected fates of Maine farming and farmland, consumers and the local food movement.

CHANGING HANDS: Rocky Ridge Organic Dairy
A dairy farmer for over 30 years, Richard Beal became one of the state’s first organic dairy farmers 15 years ago. However, producing milk—even organic milk—as a commodity that is sold to a processor has taken a serious financial toll, and now he struggles with how to pass the farm onto his son, Adam, without putting either of them into crushing debt. His daughter, Amanda, is a food systems consultant and a budding cheese-maker who offers a possible new way forward. CHANGING HANDS highlights the human cost of operating a struggling farm and ponders the fate of the local food and farmland if small-scale family farms cannot survive in the industrialized food system.

PIG NOT PORK: Farmers Gate Market
Ben Slayton is an entirely new breed of middleman. First a farmer, now an artisanal butcher, Ben is helping Maine farmers and consumers to circumvent the industrialized food system by creating a new distribution model to improve access to healthy, sustainably-raised meat. His new approach is based on a gamble that consumers are increasingly aware and concerned about the physical, environmental and economic impact of their food choices. PIG NOT PORK is a portrait of a local food movement in transition and an entrepreneur willing to take risks to create the kind a world we will want to live (and eat) in.

SEEDING A DREAM: Sheepscot General Store & Uncas Farm
A famously fertile piece of land that had produced food for centuries—and once boasted its own store—had been protected with an agricultural easement, ensuring that it could never be developed into house lots; but there was no guarantee that it would ever be actively farmed again. With the financial help of the landowner, young farmers Ben and Taryn Marcus revitalize the farm and transform the store into a thriving community food hub; yet they live with little security to show for all their toil. SEEDLING A DREAM helps us realize the value that young farmers bring to our communities and better understand the challenges these farmers face.

Taking Local Food to the Next Level: A Panel Discussion moderated by John Piotti, President and CEO of Maine Farmland Trust
The Growing Local trilogy presents an insightful glimpse into the realities of Maine farming and the local food movement. This panel discussion will use the film as a springboard to explore both the challenges at hand and the successes with the potential for replication. Through the expertise of our panelists and audience input we’ll discuss innovative ideas to ensure the local food movement and the Maine farming tradition thrive and flourish.
Moderator: John Piotti, President & CEO, Maine Farmland Trust
Amanda Beal, Sustainable Food Systems Research & Policy Consultant
Bonnie Rukin, Slow Money Maine
Ted Quaday, Executive Director, MOFGA (Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association)

Posted on September 8, 2014 in Blog, Maine, Motion, Seedlight Pictures

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