Producer: John Chester, Sandra Keats, Laurie Lennard
Writer: John Chester, Mark Monroe
Release Date: May 10, 2019
Runtime: 1hr 31m
A testament to the immense complexity of nature, The Biggest Little Farm follows two dreamers and a dog on an odyssey to bring harmony to both their lives and the land. When the barking of their beloved dog Todd leads to an eviction notice from their tiny LA apartment, John and Molly Chester make a choice that takes them out of the city and onto 200 acres in the foothills of Ventura County, naively endeavoring to build one of the most diverse farms of its kind in complete coexistence with nature. The land they’ve chosen, however, is utterly depleted of nutrients and suffering from a brutal drought. The film chronicles eight years of daunting work and outsize idealism as they attempt to create the utopia they seek, planting 10,000 orchard trees and over 200 different crops, and bringing in animals of every kind– including an unforgettable pig named Emma and her best friend, Greasy the rooster. When the farm’s ecosystem finally begins to reawaken, so does the Chesters’ hope – but as their plan to create perfect harmony takes a series of wild turns, they realize that to survive they will have to reach a far greater understanding of the intricacies and wisdom of nature, and of life itself.
Did You Know?
The film premiered at TIFF in Toronto in September 2018.
The Biggest Little Farm is a decent personal narrative film — even inspiring at times — but it could have provided a much-needed educational view and a deeper look at the importance of California’s essential agricultural life.
Running a farm is a tough life of never-ending work, and once the film drops its initial idealization of back-to-the-land fantasies in favor of a more realistic assessment of the challenges involved, it becomes genuinely involving and heartening.