So many of us dream about escaping the daily grind and living off the land, but John and Molly Chester actually did it when they fled their cramped LA apartment to start their very own working farm. They chronicle their journey in the inspiring new documentary, Biggest Little Farm, which can sometimes feel like a modern take on Charlotte’s Web (complete with a breakout performance by a pig named Emma!) Watch the trailer and then read my conversation below with my friend Laurie David who executive produced the film…
Katie Couric: This film has been a breakout success…why do you think it’s touched so many people?
Laurie David: I think The Biggest Little Farm has two important things going for it…spectacular cinematography combined with skillful storytelling. You don’t know in advance what you are going to experience when you watch this film and you leave surprised, moved, in awe. Several reviewers have nailed this with comments like “truly food for the soul” or “this movie is 91 minutes of the best kind of church.” I can’t tell you how happy those quotes made us.
There’s also a really important message about biodiversity and the environment, but it’s delivered in a subtle and entertaining way…do you think this approach might actually be more effective?
I think there is room for all kinds of messages delivered all kinds of ways. The issues facing our environment are so vast, I think we need the entire tool belt to reach people. The Biggest Little Farm actually feels more like a narrative film than it does a documentary and with breakout stars like Emma the Pig and Greasy the Rooster, I think the film is resonating with viewers of all ages.
President Trump has called for major cuts in EPA funding and a number of deregulatory policies…what are your concerns about the long-term impact of this administration on the environment?
I am filled with rage ever single day usually starting around 7 am on twitter (ok, really 6:30)! but at the same time I am feeling more hope than I have in years. It wasn’t that long ago that there was zero discussion of global warming during election cycles, I mean not even one lousy question during a debate! Right now climate ranks in the top 3 most important issues to voters. That gives me hope. Also, the climate organizing that kids are doing, the Sunrise Movement, the leadership of the extraordinary 14-year-old Greta Thunberg and the push for The Green New Deal are all positive signs that we are getting to the ‘enough is enough’ stage.
What’s one thing that we can all be doing that would significantly help our planet and the environment?
VOTE VOTE VOTE…for candidates that are committed to climate action. En masse the Republican party has a horrible record on environmental issues and climate in particular. That isn’t a partisan comment, it’s the truth. Vote them out. And while you’re at it, eat less meat! That is an action you can take every day.
You’re supporting Pete Buttigieg in his presidential bid…why has he earned your support?
This may surprise you, but I have known Mayor Pete for almost 3 years! He is absolutely the real deal, a once in a generation leader and I couldn’t be more excited about him. It’s so refreshing to watch a politician answer a question directly, from the heart with such a depth of knowledge and intelligence. He is the anti-Trump in every single way! I don’t see ambition driving him, I see purpose and service and it’s a beautiful thing to watch as he introduces himself to the country.
What makes you hopeful when you think about our collective future?
That makes me think of Emily Dickinson! And she has a perfect answer to your question that reflects how I feel…
“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all.