Heart & Soil Film: A family documentary

/Heart & Soil Film: A family documentary
Heart & Soil Film: A family documentary 2019-04-29T21:04:07+00:00
A School Garden even happier about gardening and growing fresh food after watching Heart & Soil.

Over the river and through the fields of the South West Mara LeGrand found delightful stories among the hard working farmers and ranchers.  She wove together vinjettes told by authentic characters whose life style and way of life is intricately woven into the land. It’s  beguiling characters and story wove a  film that charmed it’s family audience into wanting to dig in and grow their own or to support the local farmers who do.   The multi-award winning,  family documentary features: farmer’s markets, school gardens, farm to school programs, community gardens, multi-generation farmers and young families digging into their dreams.  It features the first farmers of the area: The Pueblos who speak of the three essentials for sustaining life  clean water, clean air and clean water.

The film stays mostly on the sunny side of the fence as it touches lightly on industrial agriculture.  Mara’s eye for portraiture, highlighting colorful characters , along with her selection of music,  takes it’s viewers on a journey filled with soul  and heart as it clips along with the pace of barefoot children and frolicking livestock.

To view this film is to experience the bustling energy of farmer’s markets and farm to school programs. Heart & Soil won over 15 Environmental Film Awards  at prestigious film festivals across the country.   Besides  having screenings across the world, the film had broadcast and wide distribution, including PBS.  It has been a favorite for schools who teach related subjects.  It was used by many non-profits to raise funds  and garnered a significant presence for earth day celebrations.  Al Gore presented it at the Earth Day opening of Nashville’s film festival.  It is available to stream on Amazon or to order  the DVD – contact us.

 Here’s what people had to say about Heart & Soil a film by Mara LeGrand of  Skydancer Productions.

This work is so GREAT! I have been struggling with sustainable ag. for years here in Springville CA. Thought I was so alone in my thinking. This film picked me up! I graduated from Cal Poly and hated the way sheep farming was taught.I had high hopes until I went to school. Thank You for giving me a lift!!

Nancy S.

Hello Mara, 

I am the garden teacher at Edge High School in Tucson.  I saw “Heart and Soil” on the Documentary channel with my husband over the holiday break while in Colorado.  I absolutely loved it.  Those people and places are my alter ego.  For many years, while my children were young, we lived out of town and almost entirely off our land.  We had a choice location at 3400 feet with rich soil and the perfect climate.  Those were happy days.  And though I’ve changed my lifestyle to be a bit more conformist these days, believe me, I’m still blazing my own path in whatever way I can.  Which is why I’m presenting the gardening class.  I’m very excited about giving my students, most of which are at risk in one way or another, the chance to feel warm soil between their fingers and eat a salad that is entirely fruit of their labor.

Thanks for your work.  It was a pleasure to watch, and it will be a pleasure to share.– Amy Bright

Dear Mara,
We’ve really taken “Heart and Soil” to heart.  (No pun intended.)  We try to eat local and organic as much as possible.  We joined Los Poblanos, a local CSA, and we pick up our box of produce every week.  Plus we started a garden in our side yard — tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, and carrots — all organic.  We really loved that little movie.  Hope it does well at Moondance (and wherever). – Scott & Paula Merrow Filmmakers & Writers, ABQ, NM

I saw your film “Heart & Soil” at the Santa Fe Film Festival and was completely charmed by it..All of us have a renewed sense of gratitude for the demanding labor of those small farmers’ who provide us with real food, in contrast with corporate farming products.

Your film portrayed this in such a joyful style. I told various friends and my son that I had never seen such beautiful and healthy children as those farmers’ children. Several of us in our group are interested in the whole idea of CSAs and bio-dynamic farms. I still feel that no matter our circumstance, we can each make informed food choices.

My intention is to keep one DVD to lend to friends and to share with my women’s group and to give the other to my son who tries to buy local, organic food. –Freda Elliott

Thanks you for sharing your absolutely lovely and beguiling film with me which I had the pleasure to watch late last night. It was so sweet, shot in such a loving manner, background music hitting just the right tone and mood, not pedantic and not too long! It’s one of the most “honest” films I’ve seen in years..in other words, I really liked it alot! -Kim Larson, NYC

What a fabulous, down to earth film – and now all the publicity!!! I am so happy for you, and the statement you are making! I couldn’t believe all the “stars” from Durango in the film. Margi was quite a hit – with Arleen and Bill right up there! Thank goodness there are people out there like you who give a damn! – Jayne Chromy, Santa Fe, New Mexico

“Thank you for your vision and hard work in producing your new film “Heart and Soil”. I had no idea how many people in the Four Corners area were passionately pursuing ecologically sensitive and self-sustaining food production alternatives. While watching the documentary, I realized that I currently own an ideal site (including a wildlife protection fence) for an organic garden. I plan to investigate the possibilities this winter and hopefully plant this spring. Thanks again for the inspiration. Respectfully, Sam Hoffmann

“Hi Mara I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your film. I found it to be very moving and poetic. You featured some great characters and I loved the way you got them to be open with you. The turkey woman sticks in my mind. The film made me realize that it is very worthwhile to pay more money to the little guys to show support for what they are doing. Also of course you get so much more. From watching their hard work and love I can taste the difference better now. I think you did a great job with the flow of the film and I am glad the we had a chance to talk too.
Peter Goodman, Film Maker, NYC – “Seeing Sally, a Psychic’s Tale”

“Rather than just being bombarded with the negative,it was a breath of fresh air to be presented with optomistic solutions to one of the most important issues facing us today, the protection and sustainability of our local food sources. The filmaker’s love of community and of the people she was filming shines through in every frame and infuses this film with life. Kudos to Ms. Legrand for being able to educate us in a kind and gentle way butwithout turning away from the harsher realities of how some of our food gets to our tables. After viewing “Heart and Soil”, I have made a greater commitment to my family and to my community to buy locallyand to perhaps even start a little garden of my own.”Juli King Royea local shopper & Restaurant Manager: LaCasa Sena, Santa Fe New Mexico

“The way you figured out how to put the film together was genius. I was so drawn into the music and the film it was hard to decide what to let take me away. Each time I watch it I discover new parts I love about it. “ – Joni MacCateer, Pagosa Springs, Colorado

“It’s like a love song to farmers.” Karla Sleus, Durango Herald

After watching your film with my married children, I bought everything for our next meal at the farmer’s market. Everyone commented on how fresh and delicious the food was and discussion and debate around issues presented in “Heart & Soil” dominated the evening. Sharon Walker, artist/energy healing Durango, Colorado

“I liked your film, it was very political, which is a good thing.” Danielle Freeman, Taos, New Mexico

“I loved your film, it was so well done and made our family feel proud.” Arlene Swentzel, Santa Clara Pueblo

“I loved “Heart & Soil” and have watched it 6 times. Every time my friends come over we watch it again.” — un-identified adolescent at the Farmer’s Market

“I really liked it. I like that the farmers telling the story are the real thing, and I could trust them. I think that hearing the stories and facts from the real farmers adds a lot of validity to the point of the movie.” Max Norman, Age 12, Novato, Ca

“It’s a good story with good characters about an important cause.” Ray Parker, author. Santa Monica, Ca.

“You have achieved an amazing amount of success with your very first film and should pat yourself on the back (preferably when no one is looking). You tapped into a hot topic, and more importantly, one that matters. But it is more than that – you have obviously engaged audiences with the authenticity of the folks you filmed, and whose stories you fashioned into what, just as obviously, turned out to be a wonderful film. And you did this on a steep learning curve full of roadblocks that you had the perseverance, determination and energy (despite some very dark & discouraging moments) to successfully navigate.” Larry Sarezky, Writer/Producer/Director “Ed Meets His Maker”

©2007-2008 Skydancer Productions, LLC

Colorado Environmental Film Festival article: Kate Gardner, Festival Coordinator
‘Heart & Soil’ vignettes the lives of farming families who inspire us through their efforts to provide for a more sustainable planet. The film clips along to the pace of barefoot children and frolicking livestock, taking us on a journey into the rich landscape of the southwest. Pueblo Indians speak about their meaningful connection to the most important resources needed by all living things: clean air, clean water and clean soil. Water specialists offer a concise understanding of the inter-relationship of the environment and agriculture. The film highlights the importance of small scale farming as a means to cut down on fossil fuel usage, corporate take over of our food supply, and as a means to strengthen communities.

MOONDANCE FILM FESTIVAL, BOULDER, CO 2008 “CALYPSO AWARD”– This award is to encourage a spirit of enterprise in saving the environment, habitat, wildlife by creative individuals from around the world.  The award is presented to the person who expands knowledge of our world, seeks to improve our quality of all life on the planet, and contributes to the betterment of human kind. 

Jacob Burns Film Center – Local Harvest  May 19,  2008
Heart & Soil takes us into the rich landscape and challenging lives of Southwestern farmers who raise healthful food and make it available through local farmers’ markets. A poetic portrait of people whose whole lives are integrated with the natural world, this compelling documentary reveals the growing energy that fuels, says LeGrand, “a resurgence in the collective conscious to not only protect our environment, but to realize our health is best nourished from healthy food, grown with thriving soil, and clean water and air.” Mara LeGrand. 2008. 52 min. NR. US.

Sponsors:

Clementine Theatre, Harrisonburg VA.  hosted by Friendly City Food Coop

Adams State College, sponsored by BE WELL Colorado and HEALTHY LIFESTYLES.

Kent State, Kent Ohio, Kent Free Library, Earth Week series

Missoula Montana, Community Food * Agriculture Coalition

Farm to School. Org

Food Security Partners

Animal Cruelty.org

Green People.org

Sustainable Agriculture South West 
Colorado/ New Mexico

San Luis Valley Local Food Coalition

Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA

Real to Real Films

Indie Films

Sustainable Living Fair, PA.

Earth Day Celebrations too numerous to keep track of.

Whole Foods sponsorship for public screenings

Farm Bureau sponsorship for public screenings.

Unitarian Church, Durango Co, fundraiser for Food Bank.  Study on Ethical Eating.

The Documentary Channel/ PBS Broadcast affiliates – airs regularly.

Indy Flicks

Official Selection for National Interfaith Conference on Sustainability, Berkeley, CA. ( tba) Aldo Leopold Centennial Celebration 2009
October 9, 2009 4pm

Sanchez Farm
1108 Arenal Rd. SW, Albuquerque

4:00pm: Family Farm Activities
7:00pm: Outdoor Film Showing, Opening with Local Shorts, including “Stories of Wolves-The Lobo Returns” by Elke Duerr
7:30pm: Outdoor Film Screening: Heart & Soil
Guests are encouraged to bring picnic blankets and dinner.

Does what you eat affect global warming?  Are small scaled farmers the new super-heroes?  Can growing local organic food save the Earth?  “Heart & Soil,” a 45 minute family documentary, offers hope for our planet.  This uplifting movie clips along with the pace of barefoot children and frolicking livestock, taking us on a journey into the rich landscape and lives of small scale farming, the bustling energy of farmers’ markets and farm to school programs.  Filmed in the rugged Four Corners Area of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico, “Heart & Soil” has been called “a love song for farmers,” those stalwart keepers of the earth who speak with passion on diverse topics including animal husbandry, soil science and climate change.  “Heart & Soil” also touches on the darker side of agriculture: the corporate extractive system that produces—not only most of the food we eat—but global warming.  FREE

For more information: 505-314-0398, calangan@bernco.gov

Documentary Film Blog Review by Lou Mindar on June 2, 2009:  In a sense, Heart and Soil is a propaganda film.  The director, Mara LeGrand, set out to make a film to promote sustainable agriculture.  I’m all for sustainable agriculture, but I’m opposed to propaganda.  Even so, LeGrand crafted her film in such a way that I found myself enjoying it.  I knew from the start that LeGrand had an agenda, but she didn’t force her agenda upon the audience.  Instead, she told the story of farmers in the southwest who are using sustainable agricultural practices to produce food, earn a living, and heal the land.  What’s not to like about that? I was afraid that Heart and Soil might veer off course and start to bash corporate farming.  However, she never did.  She just stuck to her story – the story of the farmers – and let her viewers decide for themselves how they feel about sustainable agriculture.

Mara’s Response: 

I’ve always said I wouldn’t make a propaganda film, unless someone paid me to do so.  Of course, HEART & SOIL, was an unpaid work of love.  I wanted to mention that HEART & SOIL seems to cross barriers of political  and religious view points, as it’s popular down south with Baptist groups.  It’s been shown at Unitarian – ethical eating study groups, Buddhist groups focused on compassion for all of life and now it’s being selected for an international conference of Inter-faith groups, studying sustainability.  In addition, of course the film is popular with those involved with the local food movement and people promoting healthier communities and farm to school programs.  I even heard back from the owner of a packaged food corporation, who commented that  they found it “tasty”.

I’m glad Lou thinks I stuck to my story rather than propagandizing, because the film actually started out as a 10 min.  TV piece about my local farmer’s market. .  As I kept going deeper into the roots of the farmer’s lives,  it grew as it took on a life of it’s own,.   I worked hard to serve the story and not  even add narration – so as not to be offensive or ram ideology down anyone’s throat. Even the  film’s name developed because of what the characters voluntarily offered, without prompting from me.  The characters in the film were so pure and non egocentric in their offering, I can’t imagine propaganda is a word any of them know.


Additionally,  I’ve been a vegetarian most of my life, yet the film has a strong emphasis on animal husbandry.  Because raising animals for meat  is a way of life for most of the world,  I felt the most important contribution local farmers make, is giving their animals a good life, and a fearless, quick death, so I braved that subject, even though it wasn’t my preference.   At a screening in Boulder a man in the audience commented that we didn’t need meat to get all the protein we need, so why kill animals when we could get  it from vegetables and grains.  I told him that was a different film subject, that he and I  could consider making, but it wasn’t what this film became. In New York, a  professor from Columbia was undone to see deer ( actually Elk )  in a film about agriculture.  “We can legally shoot those varmits, if they get in our garden,” she said.  I reminded her that the Voice Over footage of  Elk jumping the fence,  was about the direct correlation of bio-diversity  on the health and sustainability of the eco-system.

As a story teller, and documentarian the first thing I need is a subject, then a theme and a particular twist develops.   I begin with objectivity and innocence, consequently I’m seeing like an unbiased audience might.  Then  as I develop insight I begin to weave threads of the  story together.  I don’t see film making as unbiased news reporting ( if that even exists anymore)   I see it as an opportunity to appeal to a broad audience and to educate, entertain and inspire in an honest, non dogmatic way.

I’m glad Lou enjoyed HEART & SOIL — after all.  It’s been on a roll from coast to coast that has exceeded what I imagined for my first do it all yourself film.  Now, how about a Hershey bar or some Lays potato chips dipped in a garden fresh herb chevre? Hello Mara,
I am the garden teacher at Edge High School in Tucson.  I saw “Heart and Soil” on the Documentary channel with my husband over the holiday break while in Colorado.  I absolutely loved it.  Those people and places are my alter ego.  For many years, while my children were young, we lived out of town and almost entirely off our land.  We had a choice location at 3400 feet with rich soil and the perfect climate.  Those were happy days.  And though I’ve changed my lifestyle to be a bit more conformist these days, believe me, I’m still blazing my own path in whatever way I can.  Which is why I’m presenting the gardening class.  I’m very excited about giving my students, most of which are at risk in one way or another, the chance to feel warm soil between their fingers and eat a salad that is entirely fruit of their labor.Thanks for your work.  It was a pleasure to watch, and it will be a pleasure to share.Amy Bright 


©2007-2008 Skydancer Productions, LLC
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