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  • Colin Fraser


THREE STARS Molly and John Chester decide to build a farm. Problem is, neither of them know anything about farming.

Molly Chester, John Chester, Todd the Dog


Australian viewers watching this in early 2020 be warned: the documentary opens with footage of an out-of-control fire bearing down on a rural farm. This is California during a horrific fire season, several years after a city couple went country. It’s the story of so many people, but fortunately this one has a happy ending.

Around 2010, Molly Chester and her husband John took the ridiculous step of buying two hundred acres of dead earth with the hope of turning it into a farm. She was a keen ‘natural’ cook, he was a cameraman. They had no experience, no cash and nothing to fall back on. Armed with enthusiasm and spurred along by their young dog Todd (he was a pup in need of land), they consulted an organic farming guru and started digging.

Their plan was simple enough. They would resuscitate their soil using ground cover crops in their orchards, livestock to till and fertilise the earth, plant an enormous variety of primary crops to ensure incredible biodiversity but above all, no chemicals would be used. It’s here that their story intersects with Damon Gameau’s acclaimed documentary 2040 that promoted the same climate friendly farming practices used by the Chesters. Diversity was the glue they used to bind all aspects of the farm and create a sustainable, eco-friendly outcome. The results were profound. In fact, they were so effective that a whole new set of challenges were created as every kind of friend and foe came to call their farm home.

THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM is not only a way-finder to the future we need to have, it’s a perfect pick-me-up for anyone suffering climate-blues. It has everything: peaches, pigs, coyotes, life, death, inspiration, determination, hope and a dog called Todd.


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