There’s a charm to watching crazy, ambitious people put it all out there for some crazy dream. For me, it’s the idea of someone attempting to reach some lofty goal and either crashing hard or succeeding beyond your wildest imagination. Succeed or fail, someone in this world is chasing some higher calling, and in the end, you wish that person was you.
In John Chester’s The Biggest Little Farm, he is joined by his wife Molly as the film’s ambitious crazies. After getting evicted from their apartment because of their dog, the Chesters made the ultimate big decision in life and bought a farm—about 200 acres in Moorpark, just at the foothills of Ventura County, California.
Almost instantly, the dream turned into stark reality with dirt as hard as rock, land stripped of its nutrients, and very little experience in farming. Wisely, they decide to get help in the form of Alan York, who quite frankly seemed more like a New-Age hippie, than an expert in farming. He dispenses a great deal of Circle-of-Life wisdom and the Chesters blindly follow his advice.
“…the Chesters made the ultimate big decision in life and bought a farm…”
Surrounded by other experienced farmers, York convinces the Chesters to plant everything and raise every kind of farm animal. He tells them not to focus on one crop like the farmers around them. Their philosophy is to be as biodiverse and organic as possible. With patience, nature will lead a path to success.
At the start, the farm experiences a modicum of success. Their produce and fresh eggs sell quickly at farmers markets, but with success comes seemingly overwhelming challenges. As the egg business grows, the chicken coops are regularly raided by coyotes. As their crops grew, they’d be faced with infestations of snails, aphids, birds, and gophers as if the farm existed only to feed the indigenous wildlife. As the attacks on their farm increased, the Chesters stood firm on not fixing the problems with pesticides and animal traps. But how?