The Real Dirt on Farmer John

"The soil tastes good today," the passionate 55-year-old farmer John Peterson says as he takes a mouthful of his native ground. When his father dies of diabetes in the late 1960s, managing the farm falls on John's young shoulders. He transforms the traditional farm into a sanctuary for hippies and artists, running up huge debts at the age of thirty. In the depths of the economic crisis in the 1980s, he is forced to sell nearly all the land his father had accumulated over many years of diligent farming. In 1990, John picks up the farm work again, but this time with an organic approach. Only when a number of consumers from Chicago come to him with a shareholder system, in which a fixed group of families buys his products every week, is there a glimmer of hope. The Real Dirt on Farmer John is the epic tale of a maverick Midwestern farmer. By melding the traditions of family farming with the power of art and free expression, this quintessentially American story heralds a resurrection of farming in America. Through highly personal interviews and 50 years of remarkably textured footage, filmmaker Taggart Siegel shares Farmer John's haunting and humourous odyssey, capturing what it means to be wildly different in a rural community.

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