(director/writer: John Chester; cinematographer: John Chester; editor: Amy Wilson; music: Jrff Beal; cast: John Chester, Molly Chester; Runtime: 91; MPAA Rating: PG; producers: John Chester/Sandra Keats; Farmlore Films/Neon; 2018)

A pleasant rural farm tale.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A pleasant rural farm tale, directed by John Chester (“Jockeys”), a thirty-something filmmaker- turning -farmer with his pastry chef wife Molly, who are determined to live off the land and move from their Los Angeles apartment to their 200 acre farm in the foothills of Ventura County (about an hour north of Los Angeles).

The film covers the seven-year period it took for the idealistic but inexperienced farmers, the Chesters, to fully realize their dream of running an environmental friendly farm (no pesticides) and the hard work and know-how it entails to make it work. It also tells of the spate of problems they faced, that includes constant predators (coyotes and gophers), arid land (due to a drought), and potentially disastrous nature problems caused by high winds and wildfires. The nature documentary offers testimony that a sustainable diverse farm can be run in a traditional way and can survive the threats from nature. The couple planted 10,000 orchard trees and over 200 different crops, and raised a wide-variety of animals- including an adorable pig named Emma and her best friend, Greasy the rooster. A back-to-nature life was never my thing, even in my hippie days in the ’60s, but kudos to the Chesters for doing their thing and giving us this satisfying documentary as further proof such a lifestyle can be achieved by city folks and that their concerns about the value of the food we eat and of a clean environment puts them on the right track.

The inspirational documentary rubbed me the right way, as it realistically shows the ups and downs of the small farmer trying to do things right and still survive.