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The Real Dirt on Farmer John (University and College Educational Package)

4.0 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

The Real Dirt on Farmer John Special Educational DVD is the winner of 31 awards and includes a full directors cut and 58 minute classroom version, subtitling in five languages, closed captioning and bonus footage of Farmer John.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Farmer John Peterson
  • Directors: Taggart Siegel
  • Writers: John Peterson
  • Producers: Taggart Siegel, Teri Lang
  • Format: NTSC
  • Region: All Regions
  • Studio: Collective Eye Inc.
  • DVD Release Date: October 8, 2009
  • Run Time: 142 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002S51K72
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #889,714 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By JOHN GODFREY on February 13, 2008
Format: DVD
The BS factor seems to be relatively low. Very little pretense, from about as far as you can get from either coast. I'm not a farmer, but I lived close to this area & I can relate to the characters in this dying segment of the United States. John Peterson is an original, born & breed on a midwest farm. A farmer was all he ever wanted to be . It was his destiny & inheritance. Success, failure, success, failure, success. That is also an American story. But failure for the American farmer today is inevitable. The farm John grew up on was a success. It fact it was easier to be a farmer post World War II than the mid 1960's & even today. John felt the guilt as his family's farm slipped slowly out of his grasp. He attended Beloit College in Wisconsin, basically because it was the school closest to the farm. People were drawn to him because of his natural goodness, forthrightness & nonconfrmist attitudes. He drew the counter-culture crowd, they used to be called hippies, to his farm in sort of a loose commune-type atmosphere. The economy of the whole country was entering a recession & farmers started losing their land, including John. Because he was a controversial character, he was a easy target to blame for the bad econmomic times. This is one man's life but it also an important documentary on the disappearence in America of the family farm from degradation of the land through chemical pesticides, fertilizers, overuse & urbanization. John, in another trait that is so very American was able to reinvent himself & yet able to stay on the land. It is that oppotunity for second & even third chances that has drawn people fron all over the world for over two hundred years. I did not know about this movie until I saw a blurb on the cover of the dvd in a rental store that indicated the Al Gore has viewed it. Some excellent extras, including two music videos fron John's girlfriend, Lesley Littlefield, that I watched twice. Really, a worthwhile effort.
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Format: DVD
I can't imagine anyone watching this documentary, and then NOT wanting to either grow vegetables organically, or buy them only organically...

This film is life-affirming in so many different ways, and such a visual and emotional treat. It speaks to many cultural and ethical issues, including of course to the issue of corporate vesrsus local, organic farming, our flagrant use of pesticides and herbicides, and oil-based nitrogen, etc.

It also speaks to the value of human artistic endeavors, to the unfortunate conservatism and closed-mindedness of many traditional farming communities, to the value of human diversity, and much more.

Let's just say that, if you decide to see this documentary, your own life will be reaffirmed and made more meaningful.
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Format: DVD
I didn't know what to expect from `The Real Dirt on Farmer John'. Knowing that America was once known as "the bread basket of the world," I knew this documentary would have some import, but I never realized that it would be this engaging.

You get the idea you've stumbled into a different story when John Peterson, the focal point and protagonist of this little movie, is performing his work on farm machinery looking like Elton John if he had become a farmer. Flamboyantly dressed, we see a man with a colorful personality and an even more colorful past.

Since The Depression John's Scandinavian family obtained a farm in North Central Illinois where corn and hogs kept their existence simple, yet plentiful. After his father died when he was fairly young, John had to take over the farm with his mother's support and his uncle's inspiration. Determined, John like many other of his neighbors, fell upon hard times. Remembering Willie Nelson's initiatives with "Farm Aid" during the eighties, the film reminded me so much of those news reports that showed the farmer's existence being put to the way side. Like many effective documentaries, this film has home movies showing actual auctions as many American farmers lost their livelihood to real estate developers. The shift in America's agriculture is entirely accessible in this fun and informative little DVD.

Education was John's ace in the hole. He went to Beloit Community College during the hippie era and was able to recruit several friends who wanted the communal lifestyle. Artsy met earthy, and John offered a virtual paradise. Yet, differences often create suspicion, and John's neighbors started rumors that devastated him personally and financially.
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Format: DVD
How often do we come across entertaining movies from a Midwestern America point-of-view, and more specifically a farmer's point-of-view? I can't say that I ever have before. This movie engages people on so many levels! Adults can relate to the wonderful family histories of people and property, the way one's occupation can break your heart, the need to pick yourself up and dust yourself off afterwards, and the powerful pain that made-up gossip can inflict. I especially appreciated the film maker's gifts for making the audience see and respect people who can seem invisible in our society. For example, an aging mom or the Mexican-American worker with a gazillion handy skills. My church paired this movie with Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" for a thought-provoking focus on the food we eat and how we obtain it.
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