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The Woods Hole Public Library will be screening another documentary from POV, the award-winning independent nonfiction film series on PBS (www.pbs.org/pov) on Wednesday evening, November 13 at 7:30 PM and on Thursday, November 14, at 4 PM. The film is Farmsteaders, created by Director and Cinematographer Shaena Mallett and Producer Chad A. Stevens.

The film has been described as a love story, a farm story, and a story of contemporary rural America. Clear-eyed and intimate, Farmsteaders follows Nick Nolan, his wife Celeste, and their young family are on a journey to resurrect his grandfather’s dairy farm – fighting to keep this homeland from “drying up and blowing away,” something that has happened to about 4.7 million farms in the U.S. as the pressures of corporate-driven food have left deep scars in the region.

Director Shaena Mallett points an honest and tender lens at the beauty and hardship of everyday life, as the Nolans work to balance their fears and hopes with so much at stake. For the Nolans only three things remain certain: family is everything, nothing ever stays the same, and the land holds it all together. 

“People don’t really understand the beauty of life if they don’t understand the tragic side of it,” Nick says. “Everything beautiful is created out of pain.” Nick and Celeste’s meditations on life, legacy, and resistance offer an unexpected voice. With much of the current political rift falling along demographic lines, there is a deepening discussion about the rural white American. And yet here they stand in contrast to all of our expectations – heroic, benign, accessible.

A study of place and persistence, Farmsteaders points an honest and tender lens at everyday life in rural America, offering an unexpected voice for a forsaken people: those who grow the food that sustains us. It’s not just a story about farming, but of standing up to live one’s life in accordance with one’s beliefs, no matter the sacrifice.

Farmsteaders isn’t a film focused on the evils of factory farming or the greed of big corporations; instead, it’s an intimate and exalting look at the small family farm, the everyday and unsung hero of our food system.