The Biggest Little Farm

Like fresh air for the soul, The Biggest Little Farm offers a firsthand account of how a Los Angeles couple quit the big city to start a biodiverse agricultural operation on land which had long since been stripped of nutrients.

Poster for the back-to-the-land doc The Biggest Little FarmAs a couple, John and Molly Chester don’t know much about farming, but their ignorance proves an asset to the film, which delivers a humble back-to-nature fantasy for city-living adults, while doubling as a rich learning tool for younger audiences. By enticing kids with all kinds of adorable animal footage, the movie finds an intuitive way to make them care about the fate of the farm, teaching lessons the Chesters themselves observed about how the complex ecosystem could be made to regulate itself.

Benefiting from John Chester’s cinematography background, the film boasts stunning, unexpectedly gorgeous footage: drone-mounted cameras convey the farm’s incredible design, night vision exposes the sneaky critters who disrupt things after dark, macrophotography captures each flap of a hummingbird’s wings while turning raindrops into a kind of air raid for shell-shocked bugs, and so on.

The movie covers roughly eight years of obstacles overcome and introduces a handful of lovable animal characters in the process, including Todd, the rescue dog, and Emma, the somewhat ornery sow who blesses them with more piglets than they know how to handle.

The Biggest Little Farm never mentions global warming or pollution. Instead, it’s unflappably solutions-oriented – like the Chesters themselves – focusing on what a small group of dedicated people can do to improve their immediate environment. The answer: more than anyone could have thought.

– Peter Debruge, Variety

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