More than 200 community members joined us at the Farm to Film Fest on Saturday, October 21, to learn about and celebrate regenerative agriculture and local climate farmers.
Our day kicked off with some family fun that included setting up DIY time-lapses of growing seeds, exploring the difference between dirt and soil using flour and bread, and of course…coloring. Family fun transitioned into yummy arepas and empanadas from Nando Jaramillo at Moon and Stars. Moon and Stars uses heirloom corn and traditional arepas to weave together community building, ancestral knowledge, and regenerative farming.
This food and fun were followed up by a presentation on decolonial gardening from Kim and Art Hanchett. They covered colonial and decolonial gardening practices, traditional and sustainable practices to grow and store food, and ways for the audience to promote regeneration. They welcomed questions, encouraged discussion, and gave a very thoughtful and engaging workshop.
In the afternoon we kicked off the film portion of the event. We showed seven different short films: A Seed for the Future, Possibilities of Regeneration, The Rabbit Hunt, Upper Valley Agroforestry: Clifford Park Food Forest and Abenaki Garden, The Landless, and excerpts from Farming While Black and Farm Free or Die. This collection of moving and evocative short films was followed up by a panel discussion featuring: Theresa Ong (Dartmouth College and Ong Lab), Andal Sundaramurthy (Nalla Farm), Fran Miller (White River Land Collaborative), and Johanna Evans (American Resilience Project).
Click below to watch the panel discussion.
After sitting to watch and listen, everyone got to move around, chat, and munch at the Climate Farmer Stories’ Meet, Greet, and Eat! This was a great opportunity for community members to connect with farmers and each other while admiring the beautiful portraits and interesting write-ups of some of the region’s climate farmers. A delicious dinner was provided by Fulla Flava, an Upper Valley-based Jamaican food catering company. Some folks then found their way to our community square dance called by Nils Fredland with accompaniment from Jes Raymand and Jakob Breitbach of Beecharmer.
Our final portion of the celebratory day was introduced by two special guests, Lieutenant Governor David Zuckerman and Abenaki linguist and musician Jesse Bowman Bruchac. Lt. Gov. Zuckerman, who is also an organic vegetable farmer, offered his insights into the state of climate change, regenerative farming, and our future. Jesse, who is a citizen of the Nulhegan Coosuk Band of the Abenaki Nation and director of Middlebury College’s Language School of Abenaki, then shared several beautiful songs and traditional Abenaki teachings.
And finally, after a long and fulfilling day of learning and connection, over 70 community members sat together to watch Common Ground. This documentary is the sequel to the highly acclaimed Kiss the Ground. The film profiles a hopeful and uplifting movement of farmers who are using regenerative models of agriculture – which are based in traditional Indigenous farming practices – that could balance the climate, save our health, and stabilize America’s economy.
We are grateful to everyone who helped to make this such a special day.
Photos by Kate Barber/Junction Arts & Media. Videography by Junction Arts & Media.