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The Real Dirt on Farmer John Movie Poster
Plot, Details & Awards

The Real Dirt on Farmer John

Not Rated In Theaters 06/22/2007 , 82min.
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Plot & Details

The arduous, lifelong journey of a farmer who has dedicated his entire existence to the land is profiled in documentary filmmaker Taggart Siegel's inspiring tale of healing, growth, and the virtue of conviction. As a child raised on the American farm in the 1950s, John Peterson longed to follow in the tradition set forth by his grandfather nearly 100 years prior and subsequently shouldered by his devoted father and loving uncle. Steeped firmly in tradition even as modern technology makes things easier than ever on farmers, Peterson experiences a crucial turning point when, at the tender age of ten, his uncle and role model suddenly and inexplicably commits suicide. As tradition slowly begins to give way to the innovations of modern technology on the farm, Peterson attempts to keep the family farm alive while later struggling with the death of his father, caring for his mother, and receiving a college education. After embracing the rapidly expanding cultural changes of the 1970s and becoming demonized by his community for his radical new appearance and approach to farm life, Peterson suffers a crippling setback when he is forced to sell off his farming equipment, much of his family's acreage, and dairy cattle in the debt-ridden 1980s. Upon traveling to Mexico in an introspective attempt to nurse his still-tender wounds, Peterson finds that his talent for writing offers a means of coming to terms with his turbulent past, and it gives him the inspiration to return to the farm to heal both himself and his land. In the years that follow, Peterson eschews modern farming techniques to give birth to Angelic Organics, a financially straining dream that is nearly sunk by the harsh realities of distribution. Subsequently approached by a collection of urban consumers from Chicago in search of healthy, chemical-free foods, Peterson agrees to create a Community Supported Agriculture farm that helps him to realize his lifelong dream of becoming a successful farmer, also restoring the tradition set forth by his grandfather and passed down through the generations.

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