admin by Tamer Soliman | 23 Jun 2021
Topics:
Culture & Creativity,Local Food

Farming: The Next Generation – Documentary

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A film featuring young, progressive farmers: Their challenges, their aspirations, and the motivations that keep them going.

A film featuring young, progressive farmers: Their challenges, their aspirations, and the motivations that keep them going.

"There are some really big questions and problems that we're facing today - land acquisition and access to capital are huge barriers to farming - but maybe the most important one is that we don't have enough young farmers."

- Stuart Oke, Youth President of the National Farmers Union, Canada

Ask anyone these days and chances are they'll say they support local food - they're aware of the importance of shopping at the farmers market, enjoy farm-to-table dining, and appreciate the seasonality of what they eat.

But despite this enthusiasm for local, seasonal food, many people are unaware that the agriculture industry is in the midst of a transformation - a transformation that is challenging yet promising, and offers an opportunity to revolutionize our food system.

With an average age of 55, Canadian farmers are getting older. The next generation of farmers will shoulder the burden of Canada's future food security - and are inheriting a system that has much room for improvement. In fact, with the imminent retirement of the old guard, many without a succession plan, we are at a pivotal crossroads in agriculture. What and how this new generation choose to farm now and in the coming years will have huge implications on the future of food, climate, and community in Canada.

Why this film and why now?

The devastating impacts of extreme weather on farms across the country has dominated news headlines this year. As a result of fires, droughts and flooding, crops have been damaged, communities have been displaced, and supply chains have been disrupted. As climate change continues, farming will become an even riskier endeavour and will impact the ability for young farmers to enter and succeed in agriculture - the industry that is responsible for feeding us and future generations.

It can’t be denied that conventional farming practices have played a major role in the climate crisis and have perpetuated systemic inequalities in food systems. Young farmer Ayla Fenton explains, “More industrialized agriculture that farmers have been encouraged to adopt over the past several decades has been based on a colonial mindset of dominating the land and controlling nature.” Digging into the history of farming practices brings up uncomfortable truths that make it hard to deny that more work needs to be done to ensure our food system is sustainable, inclusive, equitable and secure.

Despite the problems of the past, we see a future of farming that’s much brighter. And we believe that it begins with the next generation of farmers that support a truly regenerative model, one that considers social and environmental responsibility.

Initial interviews show this younger generation of farmers to be knowledgeable, energetic, and passionate. Many of them see their work as a form of activism, and have a strong desire to transform our system into one that can not only grow healthy food but also mitigate the effects of climate change and tackle many of the social and economic crises that we are facing today. To do this, these young farmers are turning towards regenerative models.

Regenerative prioritizes soil health while simultaneously encompassing high standards for animal welfare and worker fairness. The idea is to create farm systems that work in harmony with nature to improve quality of life for every creature involved.
- Rodale Institute

To transform this system into one that is truly regenerative - for the land, the people and the animals - this next generation of farmers need our support and deserve our attention. By sharing the aspirations, the struggles, and the visions of these young farmers, our film will shed light on the many pressing issues of our food system and viewers will be inspired to do their part to support the future of healthy, sustainable food in Canada.

Why a documentary film?

Films have the power to build awareness and inspire action. Roger Ebert refers to films as the “most powerful empathy machine in all the arts.” There’s a term for supporting documentaries that mobilize movements - “filmanthropy.” By blending film and philanthropy, we hope that our project, Farming: The Next Generation will have a lasting, positive impact.

We are deeply in need of powerful, trustworthy, extensively researched, nuanced documentaries aiming to set the record straight, shine a light on misdeeds, offer counter-narratives to official stories, and change conversations, spark action and mobilize movements.
- Lisa Leeman, Writer/Director/Producer

Pledge your support now by selecting one of the many reward categories. From film posters to t-shirts to having your name appear in the film credits, there are several rewards up for grabs. But perhaps the biggest reward of all is being a part of a movement to support young farmers on their mission to transform our food system into one that benefits us all.

What's the budget and timeline?

Through Wayblaze, sponsors and grants we are raising funds to support crucial elements of the film's production: cinematography, videography, writing, producing, directing, and travel, to name a few. Pre-production is anticipated to start Summer/Fall 2021 (i.e. research, preliminary interviews, assembling the team, initial scripting) with filming beginning in the fall/winter and carrying over into the spring and summer of 2022. Editing/post-production work will begin in Fall/Winter 2022.

Who's behind the project?

Tamer Soliman (director, producer, writer) and Sarah Douglas (writer, story editor) have collaborated on award-winning documentaries. Their films invariably deal with meaningful and timely health topics, and all have reached and inspired local as well as international audiences. Their production company, March Forth Creative, aims to create thought-provoking media and educational resources that inspire positive community change.

With a background in holistic wellness and a keen interest in longevity, Tamer shows people that a truly healthy life includes eating local and sustainable food, having strong social connections, and cultivating a deep relationship to our natural environment. Drawing on her own background in education, public policy, and the arts, Sarah Douglas strives to teach, inspire, motivate, and present possibilities, using the transformative power of storytelling to effect change.

Among their proudest achievements is writing and producing Bright Spot, a film that has contributed to the revival of the local food movement in the Cayman Islands. Their latest award-winning film, The Great Disconnect, invites people to explore the relationship between their sense of community and overall sense of wellbeing, and has been screened across Canada and in more than 10 countries across Europe. Two reputable distribution companies - Scorpion TV and McIntyre Media - have acquired the rights to the film, and are actively distributing it in multiple markets.

As a testament to their continued passion, Tamer and Sarah regularly participate in private screening and panel discussions.

Click on the links below to learn more about their film projects and the positive impacts they've made:

The Great Disconnect

Bright Spot

Final hours!

2 months ago

And that’s (almost) a wrap! Not on the film, but on this campaign. :)

Thanks so much for all of your support! We’re very excited to move onto the next phase of our project which includes sponsorship outreach and grant applications. 

We’ll also begin to populate our website with farmer profiles and other film-related content as it is captured. As a backer, you’ll receive regular email updates from us so you can follow along as we go. More details will be shared as our project progresses. 

In the meantime, bookmark our landing page: www.nextgenfarmer.film .The page will be published in the next few days - we'll send you the link when it's live! :) 

And keep your eye on your email for a personal message from us. Be sure to add hello@nextgenfarmer.film to your contacts so you don’t miss out on any communications. 

Once again, we sincerely THANK YOU for making this project possible. 

Keep in touch,

Tamer & Sarah

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Just a few days left! :)

2 months ago

Hi everyone,

We are really excited to say that we have OVER 50 backers! Woo-hoo! Because of your generous support, we’ll be able to continue our film project focusing on the aspirations, the struggles, and the visions of young farmers. 

Notable food writers Alice Waters, Michael Pollan and Wendell Berry often comment on the importance of knowing where our food comes from. According to these writers, eating is not just something we do to appease our appetites. Whether we are aware of it or not, how we choose our food is an environmental act, a political act, and represents how we value our own health and the health of the earth.

As Katy Fisher says in our video, “The great thing about food is that it is so much more than three meals a day. It’s when you get to know your food and where it comes from its really empowering.”

And John Bonaparte adds, “People need to become more connected to the things that are going on around them: knowing where your food comes from, how it’s grown, what kind of practices are used when growing that food…”

We also believe that the broader population needs to understand the challenges surrounding young farmers today, including access to affordable land. In fact, due to rising costs, land ownership is becoming increasingly inaccessible for young farmers and many have to turn to non-ownership options and creative business models in order to farm - and feed us, the eaters.

Exposing viewers to the realities of farming today and what it takes for a young farmer to succeed in 2021 will hopefully inspire consumers, organizations and various sectors to come together to support the future of healthy, sustainable food in Canada and understand the role that we all play in solving these complex problems.

With just a few days left in our campaign, please forward this on to friends, family members, colleagues and local food/farming enthusiasts! We appreciate the support and every contribution, big or small, will bring us closer to our goal.  

We’ll be back later this week with our final update!

Thanks so much, 

- Tamer & Sarah

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Off to a great start! THANK YOU!

3 months ago

Hi everyone,

We're thrilled by the progress we've made so far. Because of your support and generous contributions, we have 40 backers and over $10k raised! :) WOW! THANK YOU! 

If you've been following current events, you know the weather has been wild - from fires and heat waves out west, drought in the prairies, and remnants of Hurricane Elsa on the East coast - and this can have devastating effects on farms and farmers across the country. This can be a barrier for young people entering farming, knowing that with climate change we will likely continue to have unpredictable growing seasons.  

But did you know that farming, when done regeneratively, has been referred to as a "nature based climate solution"? And the good news is that - despite the challenges - many young farmers are getting into farming because they want to mitigate the effects of climate change. One such farmer is our friend, Trevor (pictured below with Tamer at a farmers market in Ottawa). Trevor uses regenerative farming methods to raise sheep and pigs, and since taking over his farm around 5-6 years ago, has noticed a drastic improvement in the quality of the soil. You can read about Trevor's farm by clicking here

Your funding will help bring our film to life to share stories of these young, driven farmers and tackle big topics like farming in a time of climate change. 

Thanks again for all of you support - remember to hug a farmer (from a safe distance of course!)

-  Tamer & Sarah

P.S Please share our campaign with friends, family, neighbours and colleagues! We appreciate the support and every contribution, big or small, will bring us closer to our goal.  THANK YOU! 

P.P.S We'll be back with another update soon and discuss another pressing topic that few of you have raised: Access to land. 

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Discuss this project...

Alexi Teubner

2 months ago

Contributed $1000 CAD
The future of farming is EVERYONES future! Knowing your farmers and where your food comes from is one of the most impactful ways to change your health
Dean Nixon

2 months ago

Contributed $275 CAD
Proud of the way you both represent our family.
Marc/Katharine V...

2 months ago

Contributed $500 CAD
Best of luck to you both on this project. Marc and Kat!
Christine Halvorson

2 months ago

Contributed $500 CAD
Good Luck with the new venture. XXX
Anonymous

2 months ago


Contributed $100 CAD
Megan McFatridge

2 months ago

Contributed $20 CAD
Kristy Brooks

2 months ago

Contributed $50 CAD
Alessandro Sax

3 months ago

Contributed $150 CAD
Keep making great films buddy!
Alexander Taskey

3 months ago

Contributed $500 CAD
T Hammer. Happy to support a good cause and good people!
MaryPat MacKinnon

3 months ago

Contributed $50 CAD
Good luck with the project - I
Peter Mitchell

3 months ago

Contributed $50 CAD
David Chernushenko

3 months ago

Contributed $150 CAD
Best wishes from a (former/future) doc maker to another.
Christine Thewissen

3 months ago

Contributed $50 CAD
Thank you for your incredible work and for giving hope to the next generation.
Anonymous

3 months ago


Contributed $10 CAD
Patrick Keeley

3 months ago

Contributed $50 CAD
Larry Dobson

3 months ago

Contributed $30 CAD
Evan Spencer

3 months ago

Contributed $15 CAD
Go Tamer!
Alison Laidlaw

3 months ago

Contributed $150 CAD
Donald Cole

3 months ago

Contributed $275 CAD
great idea, look forward to field shooting where challenges, particularly access to land, and responses are addressed
Greg Ross

3 months ago

Contributed $361 CAD
On behalf of the Clean Air Ballers Basketball Camp for Kids and Greg Ross...we believe in you guys! You are now over $10K
Anonymous

3 months ago


Contributed $10 CAD
Great project! Best of luck...
Jason Theriault

4 months ago

Contributed $50 CAD
Let’s go Tamer! #1 athlete
Sarah Fawzy

4 months ago

Contributed $150 CAD
Can
Elias Parker

4 months ago

Contributed $30 CAD
“30 bucks for a rap show is still 30 bucks” - KRS One
Linda & Kurt Hahn

4 months ago

Contributed $500 CAD
Congratulations Tamer and Sarah on this great initiative!
Michael Bellissimo

4 months ago

Contributed $50 CAD
Good Luck Tamer and Sarah! Great idea!
Frank Gairdner

4 months ago

Contributed $50 CAD
Best of luck!
Deborah Abbott

4 months ago

Contributed $150 CAD
Noella Thompson

4 months ago

Contributed $500 CAD
What an amazing initiative. So excited to see the finished product!
Matthew Asselin

4 months ago

Contributed $150 CAD
Ana Stojcev

4 months ago

Contributed $50 CAD
So proud of you guys, and can
Justin Woolsey

4 months ago

Contributed $1000 CAD
Etienne Lepage

4 months ago

Contributed $500 CAD
Beat the sun up! I believe in you guys....
Kamal Shah

4 months ago

Contributed $275 CAD
Hey T, do your thing! Happy to help! also any chance you can add Katherine Xilinas in there as a donor? Much appreciated
Simon and candy ...

4 months ago

Contributed $2500 CAD
Looks like a great project. Looking forward to seeing this build on the successes of the coconut oil and great disconnect films
Martha Nabatian

4 months ago

Contributed $100 CAD
You are doing incredible work. I look forward to seeing the film!
Audrey Morrison

4 months ago

Contributed $50 CAD
Anonymous

4 months ago


Contributed $25 CAD
I truly hope this project reaches thousands of young people around the world as I believe it\\
Sheila MacKenzie

4 months ago

Contributed $125 CAD
I hope this little donation along with thousands more will inspire young farmers.
Charlene MacKinnon

4 months ago

Contributed $50 CAD
Allison Douglas

4 months ago

Contributed $50 CAD
wishing you all the success with project
Mark, Elise, Mil...

4 months ago

Contributed $200 CAD
Can’t wait to see another great film by two great people!
Steven Love

4 months ago

Contributed $275 CAD
This promises to be an amazing, inspiring and influential film! Best wishes on seeing it through to completion!
Lindsay Robles

4 months ago

Contributed $50 CAD
You guys are awesome. Good luck with the project.
Andrew Trenholm

4 months ago

Contributed $150 CAD
Dale Douglas

4 months ago

Contributed $275 CAD
Another master piece on the way?
Raquel Atawo

4 months ago

Contributed $100 CAD
Good luck with the project guys! Raquel and Toby
Stephanie Douglas

4 months ago

Contributed $150 CAD
Love you. Keep spreading the good word!
GeesBees Geesbees

4 months ago

Contributed $500 CAD
Francis Aubry

4 months ago

Contributed $275 CAD
I can’t wait to see this film with my kids. Good luck and let us know if you need anything else
Mounira Giacco

4 months ago

Contributed $100 CAD
Good luck with this project Tamer & Sarah xo
Alison Laidlaw

4 months ago

Contributed $50 CAD
Happy to help this important project Tamer and Sarah!
Anonymous

4 months ago


Contributed $150 CAD
Yo T, You’re unreal baby.
Warren Lindsay

4 months ago

Contributed $150 CAD
Pete Bombaci

4 months ago

Contributed $50 CAD
Good luck you guys! Keep spreading great messages around the world!
Karen Morrison

4 months ago

Contributed $200 CAD
Good luck Tamer and Sarah
Gwenn Hughes

4 months ago

Contributed $100 CAD
Best Wishes
Michael Bourassa

4 months ago

Contributed $500 CAD
This is a great project Tamer and Sarah. I wish you success to make another fantastic documentary.

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