[Note: This review of "A Farm for the Future" initially appeared with reviews of "Homegrown" and "Food, Inc." -- the first of four sets of reviews for The Union newspaper.]
The pastoral way the film “A Farm for the Future” ponders the daunting problems of our times is refreshing.Rebecca Hosking had left the family farm. When she returned, she was concerned. How could she make farming work?
Hosking strolls her home ground.She visits farmers and other local experts.She chats about solutions that embody the simplicity, charm, serenity, and other characteristics generally attributed to rural areas.Those words define pastoral.
Hosking doesn’t harp on the unsustainable exploitations and ill effects in our modern world, but she reflects a post-modern quandry.Food is drenched in oil dependence.Oil runs the farm equipment. Crops run on herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers – all manufactured with oil and from oil.Oil transports foodstocks to factories and to distant market shelves.
There’s no doubt. The costs of oil will rise.There’s no doubt. Oil will become increasingly scarce.
Hosking chats with farmers who are intimately engaged with low-tech, old-style (pastoral) implementations.Like pastures with multiple species of grass that make grazing land thicker and more hardy.Like soil that isn’t plowed and monocultured literally to death.Like diverse and layered woodlands and gardens teeming with cycles of naturally regenerative, food-bearing life.
Curiously, the biggest problem with the farms for the future will not be the scarcity of oil.That will simply be a fact.The biggest problem may be a scarcity of farmers.In Hoskings film, we are at least introduced to some thinking, practicing, future-minded role models.