"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."
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 how often do these values translate into actions? And how many people understand the challenges of maintaining a truly sustainable, equitable, and secure food system?
Most of all, how many of us ever acknowledge the people behind the system, our farmers?
With an average age of 55, Canadian farmers are getting older. At the same time, more importance has been placed on local food systems. 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 Canadian 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.
Our film project aims to shed light on these important issues. 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.
Some initial themes that we've uncovered include:
- Challenges that young farmers want to remedy through their approach to farming
- Diversity in farming and food accessibility
- Importance of local food, seasonality, and knowing your farmer
We hope that by sharing the aspirations, the struggles, and the visions of these young farmers, that we will amplify the many pressing issues of our food system, and that viewers will be inspired to do their part to support the future of healthy, sustainable food in Canada.
What's the budget and timeline?
Through Wayblaze, we are looking to raise $250,000. This money will go directly towards crucial elements of the film's production: cinematography, videography, writing, producing, directing, and travel, to name a few. Additional funding, through grants and investors, will also be sought.
Pre-production is anticipated to start Summer 2021 (i.e. research, preliminary interviews, assembling the team, initial scripting) with filming beginning in the fall 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
- Best Feature Film award (Better Cities Film Festival)
- Film distribution through Scorpion TV
- Film distribution through McIntyre Media
- "The Great Reconnect" - news article featuring the film
- IMBD page with reviews
- Additional film reviews
- Film link
- "Precious Oil Resource" news article featuring the film
- "Annual Coco-Fest" article on the movement inspired by the film
- Thomson Reuters Foundation article featuring the film