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Published on Dec 29, 2015
An excerpt from the documentary film Forgotten Farms. directed by Dave Simonds - produced by Sarah Gardner.
New England’s dairy farmers remain the backbone of the region's agriculture but fight for survival in an age of baby greens and artisan cheese.
Forgotten Farms examines class divisions and cultural divides in New England's farm and food communities. In some circles, farm-to-table restaurants, farmer's markets and CSAs are booming and the new farmers are celebrated. But there is another farmer who is left out of the local food celebration.
New England has lost over 10,000 conventional dairy farms in the past 50 years; 2000 farms remain. Collectively, they tend 1.2 million acres of farmland and produce almost all of the milk consumed in New England. In our enthusiasm for the new food movement, many of us have forgotten that 75 years ago these farmers were at the center of a thriving local food economy. Through conversations with dairy farmers and policy experts, we reconsider the role of these fascinating but forgotten farmers.
Climate change will demand that more of our food is grown closer to where we live. Forgotten Farms gives us a glimpse into the past and a vision of an expanded local agriculture for all of New England’s population. A truly sustainable local food system for everyone will rely on all of our farmers.