My Father’s Garden — Documentary

“We are rapidly losing the natural resources and human wisdom that are necessary to grow food.

My Father’s Garden is an engrossing, emotionally charged documentary about the use and misuse of technology on the American farm. In less than fifty years the face of agriculture has been utterly transformed by synthetic chemicals, whose power to control the forces of nature is rivaled only by that of the atom bomb. These chemicals have also changed the farmers who have used them. This film tells the story of two such lives, different in all details, yet united by their common goal of producing good food.

One of the farmers is the father of the filmmaker. His story is told through her memories of growing up in the orange groves of Florida, and seen in the haunted and fading images of old home movies from the family. Herbert Smith was a hero of his age: dedicated, innovative, a champion of the new miracle sprays of the 1950’s. He used these chemicals to fashion a man-made paradise, and his fate is the heart of this film.

The other farmer, Fred Kirschenmann of North Dakota, is a hero for our age. Faced with a shattered farm economy and the devastating environmental effects of chemical farming, Fred steered his land through the transition to organic farming. Thirty years later, the Kirschenmann farm is a thriving testament to ingenuity, hard work, and a reverent understanding of nature.”

Trailer on YouTube
The documentary is available through Miranda
Thanks to Carroll for this tip. He also recommends Homeplace Earth – education and design for a sustainable world

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