The Real Dirt on Farmer John

The Real Dirt on Farmer John

Director: Taggart Siegel Cast: John Peterson, Clay Boggs, Bob Bower
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The Real Dirt on Farmer John

The arduous, lifelong journey of a farmer who has dedicated his entire existence to the land is profiled in documentary filmmaker Taggart Siegel's inspiring tale of healing, growth, and the virtue of conviction. As a child raised on the American farm in the 1950s, John Peterson longed to follow in the tradition set forth by his grandfather nearly 100 years prior and subsequently shouldered by his devoted father and loving uncle. Steeped firmly in tradition even as modern technology makes things easier than ever on farmers, Peterson experiences a crucial turning point when, at the tender age of ten, his uncle and role model suddenly and inexplicably commits suicide. As tradition slowly begins to give way to the innovations of modern technology on the farm, Peterson attempts to keep the family farm alive while later struggling with the death of his father, caring for his mother, and receiving a college education. After embracing the rapidly expanding cultural changes of the 1970s and becoming demonized by his community for his radical new appearance and approach to farm life, Peterson suffers a crippling setback when he is forced to sell off his farming equipment, much of his family's acreage, and dairy cattle in the debt-ridden 1980s. Upon traveling to Mexico in an introspective attempt to nurse his still-tender wounds, Peterson finds that his talent for writing offers a means of coming to terms with his turbulent past, and it gives him the inspiration to return to the farm to heal both himself and his land. In the years that follow, Peterson eschews modern farming techniques to give birth to Angelic Organics, a financially straining dream that is nearly sunk by the harsh realities of distribution. Subsequently approached by a collection of urban consumers from Chicago in search of healthy, chemical-free foods, Peterson agrees to create a Community Supported Agriculture farm that helps him to realize his lifelong dream of becoming a successful farmer, also restoring the tradition set forth by his grandfather and passed down through the generations.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/08/2008
UPC: 0018713523181
Original Release: 2005
Rating: NR
Source: Good Times Video
Region Code: 1
Sound: [Dolby Digital Stereo]
Time: 1:22:00

Special Features

"Bitter Harvest" documentary; "Farmer John" and "Bug Song" music videos; Deleted scenes; Photo gallery; Excerpt and recipes from Farmer John's cookbook; About the film

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
John Peterson Narrator
Clay Boggs Participant
Bob Bower Participant
Jesus Briano Participant
Everett Bussy Participant
Robert Clothier Participant
Peggy Cox Participant
Dennis Dwyer Participant
John Edwards Participant
Lesley Freeman Participant
Isa Jacoby Participant
Arlene Larson Participant
Kate McAfee Participant
Brad Morelock Participant
Rosemary Palmer Participant
Robin Parr Participant
Anna Peterson Participant
Bob Scheffler Participant
Cynthia Scheffler Participant
Tom Spaulding Participant
Dave Tenenbaum Participant

Technical Credits
Taggart Siegel Director,Cinematographer,Producer
Dirty Three Score Composer
Teri Lang Producer,Sound/Sound Designer
Lesley Freeman Littlefield Sound/Sound Designer
Mark Orton Score Composer
Robin Parr Sound/Sound Designer
Jon Peterson Screenwriter
Rob Seidenberg Musical Direction/Supervision
Greg Snider Editor
Sophia Strehlw Sound/Sound Designer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Real Dirt on Farmer John
2. Family Farm [6:03]
3. Influence [6:43]
4. Debt [7:15]
5. Never Farm Again [4:17]
6. Deep in Crisis [4:56]
7. Distrust & Suspicion [5:14]
8. Haunted By Memories [7:11]
9. A Way of Life [5:40]
10. Shareholders [5:27]
11. Something Worthwhile [6:21]
12. Learning [7:57]
13. Clear My Name [7:34]

Customer Reviews

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5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Bo-Wilson More than 1 year ago
The Real Dirt on Farmer John is beatnik bohemian, extraordinarily eccentric, ostensibly organic. alright the rhymes are annoying but I can't stop. This is the story of an everyman, an artist, and an agricultural economist. It is the best movie that I've seen all year. Country and creativity at its optimum saturation. this is the story of the American farmer, American diversity, perseverance, and triumph.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Farmer John sounds like a pretty simple nick name for a pretty simple guy. Not so. John Peterson is about as complex and wonderful as they come. From his childhood on a midwestern farm when it was still a viable way of life, through those terrible times in the 80's that some of us remember with a shudder, he weathered all of the trials to keep true to himself. He resurrected his farm, nearly lost like so many of our nation's small farms, and has created a thing of great beauty, touching many lives. The CSA he has created could never have happened if he had not had the open mind, creative spirit, resilience, farming knowledge, and love of the land that he does have. Seeing all the young people involved in the farm in the film, and knowing the wonderful young people involved in our own CSA in Flagstaff, Arizona, gives me hope for the future.