Forgotten Farms, a documentary film, to premier at Berkshire International Film Festival.
Screening on Saturday, June 4, at 1:45pm at the Triplex in Great Barrington, MA and Sunday June 5, at 11:30 a.m. at The Beacon Cinema in Pittsfield, MA
New England’s dairy farmers remain the backbone of the region’s agriculture but fight for survival in an age of artisan cheese and kale. This film profiles the New England dairy farmer and examines the class divides in New England’s farm and food communities. The production team is from the Berkshires—Sarah Gardner, Producer; Dave Simonds, Director.
Sarah Gardner: “There’s been a lot of focus on the new local food farmers, so we spent the last three years filming conventional dairy farmers. Many of their farms have been in operation for over a century and we wanted to find a way to tell their story. Forgotten Farms is their story.” New England has lost over 10,000 conventional dairy farms in the past 50 years; about 2,000 farms remain. Collectively, they tend 1.2 million acres of farmland and produce almost all of the milk consumed in New England. Dave Simonds: “In our enthusiasm for the local food movement, many of us have forgotten that 75 years ago these farmers were at the center of a thriving local food economy.” Forgotten Farms reconsiders the role of these tenacious farm families, and gives us a glimpse into the past and a vision of an expanded local agriculture that could serve all of New England’s population.
Dave Simonds directed Cherry Cottage: the Story of an American House, which premiered at the Berkshire International Film Festival in 2013, and screened at festivals around the country. He was a familiar face in the indie-film renaissance of the late 80s and early 90s and his screen credits include Amateur, The Book of Life, Signs and Wonders, The Fish in a Bathtub, Henry Fool, among many others. He appeared in music videos for Everything But the Girl, Beth Orton and others. He is currently working on a documentary called “The Hoy Boys.”
Sarah Gardner teaches environmental planning and is the Associate Director of the Center for Environmental Studies at Williams College. Her areas of research include land use, climate change, agriculture, and food systems. She was a leader of the North Berkshire Keep Farming project, a three-year research initiative. She is the co-chair of the Williamstown Agricultural Commission and a Berkshire Grown board member. Sarah is a graduate of Smith College, and she holds a Masters in Public Policy from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the City University of New York. She has made two short films about tourism and farming in Eleuthera, Bahamas.