The Sustainable Community Film Series continues Tuesday in Avon |

The Sustainable Community Film Series continues Tuesday in Avon

"The Real Dirt on Farmer John," is a character study of an iconoclastic artist-farmer in rural Illinois and his visionary farming community.
Special to the Daily |

If you go ...

What: “The Real Dirt on Farmer John,” a film that’s part of the Sustainable Community Film Series.

When/Where: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Loaded Joe’s in Avon and again at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 16 at Dusty Boot, Eagle.

Cost: $5 suggested donation.

More Information: Email

AVON — Imagine a farmer sitting atop a John Deere tractor wearing a glamorous costume with a bright orange boa wrapped around his neck, feathers blowing in the wind. This is how one farmer named John Peterson likes to plow his fields. The Sustainable Community Film Series, a project of Walking Mountains Science Center, continues this month with two screenings. The first takes place at Loaded Joe’s in Avon on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. and the second at Dusty Boot in Eagle on Dec. 16 at 6:30 p.m.

“The Real Dirt on Farmer John” tells the story of a family farm in northern Illinois, the transformations it goes through during three generations and one man’s struggle to save a small farm in a culture focused on development. Home videos and old photos are used in this artistic portrayal of Peterson’s struggle to keep the family farm while pursuing his own dreams of acting and writing. As the film moves through the trials and tribulations of Peterson’s life, you feel connected to his family and the farm they built their lives around. The land morphs from a family farm driven by neighborhood harvests to a sanctuary for eclectic college students to an organic, diverse hub of community engagement.

The farm was purchased by Peterson’s grandfather after the Great Depression and for several decades functioned with the hard work of the family and their surrounding community. The unfortunate death of Peterson’s father leaves the farm in the care of a young boy who isn’t quite sure if he wants to continue the family business. Peterson’s liberal ideas and offbeat friends are criticized by other local farmers as he tries to open his land to people who want to be closer to the earth, but don’t quite fit in the conservative farm community.

Getting Reconnected

On the verge of losing everything, Peterson takes a hiatus that puts his life into perspective. Upon his return, he finds his fellow midwest farmers in deep crisis, with a fleeting culture of people who are no longer connected to the land. He learns to express suffering through art and is surprised to find that when he shares his portrayal of the common farm crisis, he receives abounding support from his fellow farmers. When he decides to do whatever it takes to get the family farm productive again, he ditches the chemicals, diversifies his crops and pursues an organic system. When he realizes that farming is too much work for one man and he can’t compete with other big business farms in the grocery stores, he dives into the concept of Community Supported Agriculture. Today, the Peterson farm operates under the new identity Angelic Organics and offers opportunities for people to reunite with the source of their food.

This film is an inspiring story that will make you want to get your hands in the dirt and connect with your food. A renewed sense of appreciation is found for local food and the farmers who dedicate their lives to providing our basic needs. To view the entire series line-up, visit http://www.walking -film-series and for more information about this film, visit http://www.angelic

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