Learn more about local food

I have been privileged to be part of a great collaboration between Seedlight Pictures and Maine Farmland Trust over the last two years, producing a series of short films exploring the challenges and successes of a budding local food industry in the state of Maine. Changing Hands is one of three films in the series. A dairy farmer for over 40 years, Richard Beal became one of the state’s first organic dairy farmers 17 years ago. However, producing milk—even organic milk—as a commodity that is sold with a small profit margin to a processor has taken a serious financial toll. Now he struggles with how to pass the farm onto his son, Adam, without putting either of them into crushing debt or forcing them to sell off land to developers. His daughter, Amanda, is a food systems consultant and married to a budding cheese-maker who offers a possible new way forward. Changing Hands highlights the human cost of operating a farm in a culture of cheap food, and ponders the fate of the local food movement and working farmland if small-scale family farms cannot survive in the industrialized food system.

We spent six months tromping through cow poop, muddy fields and slaughterhouses attempting to provide a solutions-based perspective to the issue of an increasingly industrialized food system. Partnering with director Bridget Besaw, I played the roles of cinematographer, producer and editor.

The films have now received individual and collective recognition at the following film festivals:
Audience Choice Award, 2015 The Food Film Festival
Finalist, Eric Moe Sustainability Award, 2015 Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital
Best Documentary Short, 2015 California International Shorts Festival
Best Environmental Short, 2015 Mountain Film Festival
Official selection, 2015 San Luis Obispo International Film Festival
Official selection, 2015 Earth Port Film Festival
Official selection, 2015 Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival
Official selection, 2015 Food & Farm Film Festival
Official selection, 2015 Greentopia Film Festival
Official selection, 2014 Camden International Film Festival

The films will be broadcast on Maine Public Broadcasting in Spring 2016.

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