BEST AMERICAN DOCUMENTARY - Rome International Film Festival
FOCUS AWARD - Montana CINE International Film Festival
BEST OF CATEGORY - Montana CINE International Film Festival
BEST DOCUMENTARY Short - Asheville Cinema Festival
AUDIENCE CHOICE - Atlanta DocuFest
DOCUMENTARY Runner Up - Macon Film Festival
BEST FEATURE - Colorado Environmental Film Festival
EARTH AWARD - Cinema Verde Environmental Film Festival Festival
Slow Motion Food Film Fest Nova Scotia
Savannah Film Festival
Wild & Scenic Film Festival
Reel Earth Environmental Film Festival - New Zealand
Life Sciences Film Festival - PRAGUE
Crossroads Doc Film Festival - Graz AUSTRIA
Ecoramicas Film Festival - Guimaraes PORTUGAL
The farmers featured in GROW! range in age from 23-38.
Twelve are Georgia natives and while most come from the South, a few have migrated from Northern states like VT, PA, CT. One is from Canada. Most of the farmers are college educated and hold degrees in such subjects as Accounting, Chemistry, Physics, English Literature, Photography, Theology, Horticulture, Political Science, Business, History, Education, BioSystems Engineering and Computer Science.
Of the 12 farms, 4 are managed, 2 are on traditional family land, 2 are renting or leasing, 3 are borrowing land, 1 farm is owned in partnership with their parents. All work on their farms full time and are able to make a living by farming.
The Making of GROW!
We chose 12 farms located throughout the state of Georgia. The cast includes 20 farmers and 2 farm apprentices, each one unique as far as education, experience, opportunity and motivation. The majority of the farmers do not own the land they are growing on.
We began filming in April as the first crops of the growing season went into the ground. We filmed throughout the Spring, Summer and Fall, making repeat visits to each farm eventually putting on over over 5,000 miles. We finished up in November as the winter cover crops were being sown and most of the farms would be put to rest for the winter.
What we discovered along the way...
It takes more than good intentions to make a film about young farmers.
It takes time, patience and passion.
It takes waking up early to begin filming when the sun comes up.
It takes putting up with ravenous mosquitoes, unpredictable weather, torrential
rain, thick Georgia mud, extreme heat and humidity.
It takes everything it takes to be a farmer, including taking chances.
We like to joke that GROW! was a sustainably produced film.
We were the crew of two.
Just us chickens.
Since 2005, as photographers and filmmakers, we've been documenting young, organic and sustainable farmers in Georgia. We've traveled all over the state, spending time on the farms, getting to know the farmers. As subjects, we're drawn to them because of their dignity, passion, intelligence and dedication to growing clean fair food. We also believe that they hold the key to a more sustainable future while providing a solution to our broken food system.
It all started because we like to eat...
When we moved to Atlanta from Los Angeles in 2005 we had a hard time finding Farmers Markets where we could buy food fresh from the farms. Back then there wasn't much demand for local food and not a lot of small organic and sustainable growers.
We teamed up with Georgia Organics, a great farmer advocacy non-profit and started photographing the farmers pro bono. Our goal was to help make the farmers into Rock Stars and put a face on farming. After a couple of years we got involved in filmmaking.
GROW! is our first full length feature.
Our main hope for GROW! is to shine a light on this next generation of farmers and, by their example, encourage more young people across the U.S. to consider farming as a viable career option. The average age of a farmer is 57. Who will grow our food in the future?
One of the biggest challenges to young people who want to take up farming is access to land. We hope that after seeing GROW!, people who have land and resources will be inspired to offer opportunities to new growers.
Lastly, we hope that it will inspire others to make changes in their lives; the way they eat, shop and cook and think about where their food comes from and who grows it.
We composed some of the soundtrack ourselves, but for the bulk of it, we were lucky to find Little Country Giants, a great husband/wife songwriting duo from Georgia. They were generous enough to let us tinker with the music from their 3 CD's. In the end, we used 11 of their songs. We decided to include the band for a few cameos in the movie which we filmed on their beautiful farm in the northern part of the state.
When performing live and recording, the band consists of a variety of musicians from a countrywide talent pool with instruments that might include a fiddle, a mandolin, slide guitar, trap kit, buckboard, and back-up vocals.
As one reviewer puts it: "These songs taste like the South, rich with the sounds of Georgia's roots and the musical seeds of America grown."
"I Think of You" is the film's outro credit song. The video was filmed on location at the Chicken Shack Honky Tonk and features Wes Swancy, one of our GROW! farmers, as the 'truck drivin man'.