The Biggest Little Farm — Stronger Than Fiction documentary film festival — Dendy Cinemas

When a promise to their rescue dog, Todd, that he was with his forever family leads filmmaking husband John Chester and foodie wife Molly to seek an outdoorsy new home, Molly’s lifelong love of making good food and the couple’s appreciation that good food begins with good farming leads them to a vision of farming in perfect harmony with nature. Their enthusiasm inspires their friends and acquaintances to invest in the purchase and remodelling of Apricot Lane Farms, a disused orchard an hour north of Los Angeles.

Rapidly realising their need for guidance on farming in harmony with nature, they find a living treasure and lifelong friend in Alan York, whose expertise in biodynamic farming enables them to jointly envisage and slowly realise a remarkable transformation. In sharp contrast to the monoculture cropping practised all around them and formerly on Apricot Lane Farms, Alan’s recommendations, aiming for maximal biodiversity, lead to an enormous range of crops and a lovely range of farm animals.

Although the Chesters’ raising animals to be eaten isn’t everybody’s idea of paradise, they give them a good life in the meantime. Practising farming more-or-less biodynamically, they learn to work with rather than against nature — and John’s expertise as a wildlife cinematographer provides us with amazing views of the evolving farm ecosystem and its occupants, inside and outside, by day and by night, on scales from very small to very large.

Despite the setbacks, losses, and hard decisions inevitable in raising livestock, The Biggest Little Farm is above all a work of immense joy and exquisite appreciation, and offers a window on how we might learn not merely to get along with Mother Nature but to become best friends with her.

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