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I was fortunate enough to see an early viewing of the Oscar-contending documentary The Biggest Little Farm. The Biggest Little Farm tells the story of Molly and John Chester and their dream of creating a sustainable farm with maximum diversity of plants and animals, to regenerate the land as well as their lives.
With very little experience of farming the couple sets out to farm in harmony with nature. The tasks seems overwhelming at first but with help from the quirky expert Alan York and a community of young people who rally to work alongside Molly and John, Apricot Lane Farm is transformed from a dead monoculture into a vibrant, full-of-life oasis.
But even after uprooting trees, regenerating the soil, fixing irrigation systems and introducing more and more animals to the land the challenges Molly, John and their team are facing are endless. Sickness, coyotes and thousands of snails are only some of the obstacles they have to battle to overcome.
The Biggest Little Farm is a tale of not giving up, of believing in one’s dream and that ‘simple’ does not always mean ‘easy’. Each solution seems to present new problems. To restore the soil, the orchard is filled with covering crops. Rather than creating more work and mowing those crops sheep keep the growth under control and fertilise the soil with their urine and droppings. However, the droppings are also a breeding ground for maggots which eat the protective leaves of the fruit trees. John and Molly persevere through all challenges and refuse to compromise on their dream to live in harmony with nature.
The documentary beautifully shows the closeness of life and death and the intricate dance within creation. Monocultures might generate quick profit but are extremely vulnerable to pests and soil erosion, which compromise their longevity. Further, they deplete soils and destroy wildlife habitats.
John and Molly show that a different way is possible. A robust ecosystem with high levels of diversity thrives and can bounce back after droughts or excessive rainfall. It is an oasis for animals and humans alike. The Biggest Little Farm is a wonderful celebration of creation, a hopeful anthem to the possibility of a harmonious and sustainable way of farming and a warning cry that the intricate dance of nature is reliant on the health of all of its parts.
I would highly recommend watching this beautifully shot documentary. You can find showtimes here: https://biggestlittlefarm.co.uk/.
written by Britta Graham-Hyde, Operation Noah communications assistant