Last week, members of the Table were able to go see the movie “The Biggest Little Farm” at Chez Artiste Theatre. The film was beautifully shot– and we were able to see parallels with our own “big little farm” with the farm depicted in the documentary.
My mom and I left the theater together, and as we were leaving she asked if there was any sort of Christian message in the film. I blinked; to me, the whole film was about faith. Even if there was no explicit mention of God or religion in the film (that I can remember), the movie invited its viewers to contemplate great connections between people and the rest of creation.
The film followed the story of a young couple with a dream: to create a “traditional” farm, biodiverse and free from pesticides. They were going to grow everything that they could ever want to cook, and they were going to give their dog space to run and bark.
Throughout the eight years that the film followed the farm, disaster seemed to always be around the corner. Just when things started to look like they were going well, a new pest would arrive, or a new disaster. But, in nearly every situation, the farmers found a way to reintroduce balance. When snails began to decimate the orchards, ducks were able to enjoy a new, delicious meal. When coyotes preyed on the chickens, they were redirected to prey upon bothersome gophers.
It was amazing to watch this small farm flourish, despite what seemed like continual distress. This small farm sought diversity and community, rather than high production. When a flash flood hit the California desert, Apricot Lane Farm was able to sequester all the water into its groundwater storage, while the surrounding farms all suffered an intense loss of valuable topsoil.
The film celebrated community that stretched beyond the family, beyond the human even. As my mom said, the film offered a portrait of “Eden,” a garden that is beautiful and constantly moving towards greater flourishing.
How is our farm building community? How are we creating a vision of hope in the face of hardship? How are we tending the garden?
Our big little farm is resilient– a community of people, plants, and pollinators all working together to flourish. Just as the “Biggest Little Farm” was able to bounce back from California wildfire, so our big little farm can bounce back from hail storms in May.