Wendell Berry's condemnation of modern farming has brought him back into the public eye in recent years. He despises how big farming has become, and how technology-driven.
Dunn's film goes deeply into the business of farming. She speaks with migrant farm workers and big-time farmers, deeply in debt. "Ten years ago I would have never dreamed it would cost what it does to put a crop out now," says one farmer, with a haunted look in his eyes. "It's just crazy what it costs. And sometimes is gets a little hard to sleep at night. Toward the end of the year, all the crops are in the ground, all the money's spent, and we just need a good crop to pay the banks back."
Dunn replays video of a speech that Wendell Berry gave in 1974. Already at that point, he was arguing that when big farms grow and small ones disappear, communities are destroyed, along with the values that sustain those communities — values like loyalty, neighborliness, kindness.
"I don't think that you can love those old values, and love what has come to be American agriculture at the same time," he told his audience.
Read it (and hear it) all at NPR.