Going Organic: Bourne Farmers Take A Documentary Road Trip
By: Michael Rausch, April 9, 2012
SUSAN FERNALD/ENTERPRISE - Derrick Sprague of Inner Focus Productions joins Nicole Cormier and Jim Lough, producers of Organic Farms are Everywhere, at February's Cape Cod Green Drinks event at the Island Merchant in Hyannis. The couple spoke about their road trip and documentary about organic farms.
Organic produce is available in more and more places, but are the farms that grow it everywhere, too?
This winter, Bournedale residents Nicole Cormier and James Lough took this question on the road to film a documentary called Organic Farms Are Everywhere!
They set out on a cross-country road trip, stopping at organic farms from Tennessee to California to interviewing farmers on the benefits and challenges of growing organic.
Cormier, a registered dietician, says she was motivated to make the film in order to “teach people one way to build a better relationship with their food.”
For Lough, a former hospital lab tech turned organic farmer at Bay End Farm in Buzzards Bay, the project was all about raising awareness about organic farming and to “encourage people to start more farms.”
Noting the high price of organic food, Lough suggests that increasing awareness could lead to increased supply and lower prices. He said he hopes their film will make organic products “more popular among working class families.”
On the road, with mizuna
Using MapQuest, the couple plotted a route from Massachusetts to California that did not include any highways, then randomly picked a town on their route and Googled organic farms in that town. Cormier says they went to two farms a day and spent three hours at each farm talking to the owners.
One of their most memorable stops was a Montessori school in New Mexico, where 8th and 9th graders worked the school’s farm. Cormier said the students took care of the animals, harvested all the produce and made soap and cheese from goat’s milk that they sold at a weekly farmers market.
When they asked a student what his favorite vegetable was, he said mizuna, a dark, leafy green often used in Japanese stir fries and soups.
“That’s the exciting thing...when you go to farms, you’re always going to be able to try something new,” Cormier says.
Lough notes a common thread to his discussions with the farmers they met: they were all in favor of less government red tape and expense when it comes to getting organic certification.
The farmers he interviewed are not in favor of the government subsidies paid to large farms—and did not want to be subsidized, either.
Kickstarting a grassroots campaign
The couple plans to edit more than 50 hours of videotaped interviews down to a 90-minute documentary with the help of Cormier’s younger brother, a videographer who owns Inner Focus Productions in Middleborough.
They have launched a Kickstarter campaign to help them with the post-production and distribution of the documentary, with the goal of raising $1,000 by May 8.
Once the documentary is complete, they plan to send copies to all the farms they visited in the hopes they will a screening on the same night the film is shown at Bay End Farm.
“So, we’re having sort of a grassroots, nationwide premiere,” Lough explains.
Apart from the shared screening, the couple said they want to license their film to schools, communities and libraries in an effort to reach people who are not already aware of the benefits of organic farming and produce.
“The only way things are going to change is to educate,” Cormier says.