"The Biggest Little Farm" reveals the beauty, pain and humor of a novice farmer

Eight years ago, John Chester and his food writer/chef wife Molly left their Los Angeles city life for a country fantasy—rehabilitating an old farm and making it their own. A new documentary, “The Biggest Little Farm,” directed and shot by Chester, follows their wild ride taking Apricot Lane Farms from 200 adandoned acres into a working, regenerative farm with hundreds of crops, pigs, sheep, chickens and more.

Chester joined SalonTV’s Alli Joseph to discuss the obstacles he and his family faced diving head first into running a farm when they knew absolutely nothing about farming.

“I fell in love with nature, and when I fell in love with it, I began to see endless possibilities for it to be resilient,” Chester said on “Salon Talks.”

Apricot Lane Farms is a regenerative farm, which is more clearly defined than the sustainable label of the past few decades, and means, among other things, that they do not use pesticides or modern methods of killing pests and predators, so the farm can run in balance with nature.

"The idealism gets checked when the coyotes are eating 350 of your chickens, and the snail population is destroying your citrus, and the gophers. We had the worst gopher problem in Ventura County that we created by growing cover crop,” Chester said. “Everything leads to something else.”

Above all, Chester is adamant that his film is about celebrating a progressive way to live, farm and eat, rather than fear mongering about the alternatives. "I knew that what I didn't want to make was a film that had been made so many times before, and that was one that shows us all the ways to be afraid and scared about the insurmountable challenges that face us environmentally," he said.

Watch the episode above to find out why Chester says Apricot Lane Farms is helping audiences think about food and how animals work together differently. “The Biggest Little Farm” premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2018, and will be in theaters nationwide, after opening in LA and New York on May 10.

About “Salon Talks”

Hosted by Salon journalists, “Salon Talks” episodes offer a fresh take on the long-form interview format, and a much-needed break from the partisan political talking heads that have come to dominate the genre. “Salon Talks” is a destination for information through conversation. Viewers can expect discussions with A-list actors, artists, authors, thinkers, and newsmakers as we explore the full range of the human condition. The show streams live on Facebook and Twitter and each episode is published in full on Salon.com.

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