xXx: Return of Xander Cage
The last forty minutes of the movie do come together in a pretty diverting way.
The filming of "The Real Dirt on Farmer John" essentially began on that day in the 1950s when John Peterson's mother, Anna, brought home a Super-8 movie camera. A farmer's wife and school teacher from Caledonia, Ill., she filmed her family working in the fields, her children playing in the yard, the raising of a barn, the changing of the seasons and the harvest dinners supplied to neighbors who came to help with the threshing.
Her husband died at about the time her son John started to attend nearby Beloit College. By then it was the 1960s, and John and his friends took over the filmmaking; he was a farmer who was also a hippie, and his friends descended on the farm to create their art and, as was said in those days, do their thing. John had his hands full running the farm, a dairy and hog operation, and eventually too many bank loans came due and he had to sell most of it.
That led to a long depression, to trips to Mexico to find himself, and finally, by a meandering route that the movie traces with great love for the meanders, to the present day, when Peterson's farm has been reborn as Angelic Organics, is co-owned with several hundred Chicago and Northern Illinois investors, and raises so many organic vegetables, he says, "that I don't know the names of some of them."
The film has been directed and photographed by Taggart Siegel, who has been filming Peterson and his farm for more than 20 years. This is a loving, moving, inspiring, quirky documentary that was made while the lives it records were being lived. We get a sure sense for the gradual death of the American family farm, the auctions of land and farm equipment, the encroachment of suburban housing, and then an almost miraculous rebirth through the introduction of organic gardening. Fruits and vegetables in America have lost half their nutritive value in the last century, and those pretty hothouse tomatoes contain a fraction of the nutrients and phytochemicals in an organic tomato, but visionaries like Peterson are finding a way back to the land.