Directed by documentarian cum farmer John Chester, The Biggest Little Farm is a must-see. The film documents two dreamers, John and Molly Chester, who decide to leave L.A. when their barking dog causes their eviction from a cramped apartment to start a traditional farm in Moorpark, CA.
Even though, they have no farming experience, the Chesters somehow find enough investors to sponsor their endeavor. They buy a 241 acre farm that’s been devastated by drought. How on earth will they grow anything, especially when their dream means eschewing current farming practices.
Of course, like all movie heroes, the Chesters soon realize they need a mentor. Enter Alan York, a funky expert in traditional farming who advises them on how to turn this Grapes of Wrath-style Dust Bowl into a lush, productive farm.
Watching the farm get greener and the home to chickens, pigs, sheep, cattle and more is so satisfying. But of course, farming isn’t easy. Coyotes, birds, and pests of all kinds attack their fruit and livestock. When things get really tough, an added crisis is that their mentor Alan dies. How on earth will the farm survive?
The nature cinematography is stunning. The Chesters and Alan are engaging as are the many young volunteers who work the farm. There’s plenty of suspense in this life or death struggle. I got attached to the various animals and was certainly rooting for Apricot Lane Farms success.
I wished the film showed more about who invested and how much was needed. That reality would have added interest and probably drama. Throughout the film I wondered how the farm was getting by. We’re told how many eggs and later fruit they sold but how much they earned was a mystery.
It seems that Apricot Lane Farms has tours. A regular tour costs $30 and a VIP tour is $120. The tours sell out.