Director’s Statement

JM-Glasses

I love good food. And I bet you do as well. Too many of us, however, don’t know where the food we consume comes from, how many miles it’s traveled to get to market, or how it was cared for while being grown or raised. And as world health statistics bear out, far too many of us choose quantity over quality. Americans spend less of their expendable income on food than any other country in the world, yet have a higher incidence of obesity, diabetes, and heart-related problems. It seems difficult to overcome the idea of a good deal in favor of a good meal. Perhaps, that is one of the reasons why big box discount superstores are so attractive to the American populace. To make matters worse, the U.S. government has caved to multi-national corporation lobbyists by slowly, but systematically, creating subsidy-based market conditions where agri-business trumps agri-culture. It’s no wonder why buying food at a farmer’s market or higher-end grocer costs more money and is looked at as a luxury. The fact that they provide high-quality locally-sourced and/or responsibly grown/raised products is apparently not enough.

In the spirit of addressing these issues I have made A Farmer’s Road. I believe there is a power in documentary film unlike other ways of communicating information. As a combination of entertainment and activism, docs can elevate a message to the higher purpose it’s meant to be without being bogged down in reports solely generated from charts and graphs and perplexing text.

At the heart of A Farmer’s Road is a story of how two PhD soil scientists traded the security of academic tenure at a major research university for the relentless challenges and economic uncertainty of operating a Grade A goat dairy and farmstead creamery in central Illinois. I tried to make the film authentically, and in doing so, perhaps, raised more questions than provided answers. I hope you’ll find the characters engaging, the landscape beautiful, and the underlying message as provocative as it is important.

Making this documentary on a shoestring budget, and a considerable amount of my own money, required that I work slowly and smartly. I’m proud of the results and while I hope you enjoy the film on its own merits, my larger goal is to inspire change.