Director’s Notes

  • “I really got into the veteran story because of the agriculture story.  I’ve been making short docs about sustainable agriculture for the last 12 years.  I took my films up to the Ecological Farming conference (Eco-Farm) to sell them and stumbled upon the Farmer-Veteran Coalition (FVC).  The Coalition was just getting started as a resource to connect returning combat veterans with careers in farming and ranching.  I went to their “Meet & Greet” one evening at Eco-Farm and was instantly smitten with what a fantastic solution this was both for the vets and for the Ag community, which I knew is in desperate need for a new generation to take over the reins.
  • I think what surprised me the most about this film and this story are the veterans themselves.  Because I was against the war and didn’t know anyone in the military, I just had stereotypes in mind.  I thought they fell into the “patriotic group-think” mentality.  Once I met the veterans, my whole worldview of them changed. With each vet the FVC introduced me to, I met compelling individuals with independent, entrepreneurial spirit, focus and vision.  They were articulate, funny and driven to succeed.  That’s when I realized that the very qualities it took to be a good soldier were the same characteristics that defined a successful farmer or rancher — the ability to work long hours in difficult physical situations, risk management, strategic planning and a desire to work for a cause greater than oneself.   Their patriotism isn’t just about a flag, it’s about service to their country.   I realized how lucky we are that a growing number are choosing our food security as their next mission!  I just had to tell that story.
  • One of the great things about producing a film about farming is that you eat really, really well and the excitement about freshly picked, flavor-packed food is contagious. You just won’t settle for grocery store stuff anymore.   As a confirmed carnivore, I was thrilled to find out that most of the stuff that causes disease from grocery store meat (remember when you thought “grain fed” was a good thing?), doesn’t occur in grassfed meat.   The numbers all turn around in your favor.  And the flavor, OMG!  Yes, it’s more expensive, but you are satisfied eating smaller portions and who would you rather pay, your rancher for good food or your doctor for bad health?  No contest.
  • After years of filmmaking I realized that there’s always a point where you wonder if it’s art imitating life or life imitating art and you find that at some level you are living your movie.  One of the things that kept coming up as a cliche was “it must be so healing” for vets.  But then I realized that when I’m at my most crazed with my computer and want to throw it out the window, or my schedule is looking like it needs five people to complete it …. I instinctively walk outside to my garden and start pulling weeds or water a patch or croon sweet nothings to my budding fruit trees.  And then I think, there’s a reason for cliches, it’s because they are so often true. Gardening, farming, co-creating with the natural world IS healing.  We’re not saving Mother Earth, She’s saving us!