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Farming Documentary The Real Dirt on Farmer John Airing on PBS

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Before Al Gore had his own documentary, he was a judge at a film festival in Nashville. He liked the winning film, The Real Dirt on Farmer John, so much he gave Farmer John a tour of his own farm and introduced the film in San Francisco.

Al Gore at the CastroYou can see it starting Tuesday, June 13th, on many PBS stations (check local listings on this site which also has more on the show) as part of Independent Lens.

All the screenings of the documentary were sold out last year at the San Francisco International Film Festival (where it won for best Bay Area doc), so I didn't see it until the Green Film Festival, which was held as part of World Enviromental Day just over a year ago.

Al Gore sat just a few seats from me as he was introduced by Carl Pope of the Sierra Club. Then Gore gave an intro to the film in the kind of style you see in his own film, with passion and humor.

I met Farmer John briefly at a reception for the festival a few days earlier (and was able to talk to him more at a party later last year).

Taggert Siegel, Farmer John, Terri LangThis is a funny, entertaining documentary that raises some major issues through a very personal story. Farmer John grew up on a family farm in Illinois, discovered art and books at college, and then came back to work on his farm. What happened next is compelling drama. And there is even a bumble bee music video (which you have just have to see – it can't be explained).

If you aren't able to see it on PBS or want to show the full version to people you know (the TV version is shorter), you can sign up to be notified when it is released on Farmer John's site (he also has written some books).

He was interviewed on Fresh Air on NPR (though it is best to see the documentary before listening).
 
[ADBLOCKHERE]Educate yourself on farm issues. The farm bill will be up for reauthorization next year. Christopher Cook's Diet for a Dead Planet, which just came out in paperback, is a good place to start (his site has lots of good resources).  Find a Community Supported Agriculture farm near you and subscribe to support local farmers.

And remember to check your local PBS listings. KQED here in San Francisco isn't showing it until next Tuesday, June 22nd (they are showing a financial show with Jonathan Pond instead). And some stations may repeat it.

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