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The Farmer and the Horse


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The Farmer and the Horse

by Jared Flesher

"Director Jared Flesher captures our sweet little Central Jersey local farming scene wonderfully, profiling smart, funny, and beautiful young new farmers over a year's worth of farm internships and new land acquisitions, passions, struggles, and juxtaposes this with a history of agriculture in the United States, why New Jersey was called the Garden State and how that's changed."

Josh Halpern, New Jersey filmmaker

A story about a landless farmer, a non-conformist, and an escaped office worker…

From award-winning journalist Jared Flesher comes The Farmer and the Horse, a new film that digs into difficult questions about sustainability, self-sufficiency, and why we do the work we do. This documentary about sustainable agriculture goes beyond the usual platitudes of smiling organic farmers talking about the good life. Farming is hard work—especially if you don’t use a tractor.

In The Farmer and the Horse, viewers will meet Tom Paduano, an idealistic 28-year-old from the suburbs of New Jersey. “The centralization of power over everything — over seeds, over oil, over markets—it’s frustrating,” Tom says. “What we’re doing, I think it’s a small step toward breaking away from that. We are fighting against the big business in agriculture.”

They’ll meet Aubrey Yarbrough, an intellectual 27-year-old from Southern California getting her hands dirty for the first time. “I think more people need to take this risk for the health of our environment—and our communities,” she says.

And they’ll meet Matt Schofield, a 23-year-old from Upstate New York who isn’t going to let anything—including the fact he’s broke—keep him from his agrarian dreams. “I have the ability to live pretty cheap,” he says. “I can live in a tent. I don’t care what people think.”

The Farmer and the Horse made its broadcast premiere on PBS in New Jersey in November 2010. Film festival and public screenings have been scheduled in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, New Hampshire, Iowa, Michigan, and Ontario, Canada, and DVDs have been ordered from all around the world.

“When I started making this film, it certainly felt like a niche topic—farmers in Jersey who like draft horses,” Flesher says. “But then DVD orders started coming in from California, Canada, France, England, Austria, and Australia, and I realized I had stumbled onto something a little more universal. I think people are hungry for stories that show ways of living that are less industrial, less destructive to the environment, and promote the idea that we can depend on ourselves rather than some huge company.”
Flesher, the filmmaker, is an award-winning freelance journalist, writing often about energy, agriculture and the environment. His work has been published by The New York Times Online, The Wall Street Journal Online, Grist, The Christian Science Monitor, Edible Jersey, and New Jersey Monthly. The Farmer and the Horse is his first film.

Watch the film trailer:

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