Distributor:  Bullfrog Films
Length:  56 minutes
Date:  1995
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English
Grade level: 7-12, College, Adult
Color/BW:  Color
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My Father's Garden

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Explores sustainable agriculture and the contrast between chemical and organic farming.

My Father's Garden

An emotionally charged documentary about the use and misuse of technology on the American farm. In less than fifty years the face of agriculture has been utterly transformed by synthetic chemicals which have had a serious impact on the environment and on the health of farm families. This film tells the story of two farmers, different in all details, yet united by their common goal of producing healthy food.

One of the farmers is the father of the filmmaker. Herbert Smith was a hero of his age: dedicated, innovative, a champion of the new miracle sprays of the 50s. His fate is the heart of this film. The other, Fred Kirschenmann of North Dakota, is a hero for our age. Faced with a shattered economy and the devastating environmental effects of conventional chemical farming, Fred steered his land through the transition to organic farming. Twenty years later, the Kirschenmann farm is a thriving testament to ingenuity, hard work, and a reverent understanding of nature.

Fred proves that sustainable agriculture is a viable alternative on any sized farm and that we can bring health and beauty back to the Garden.

'For the past 25 years I have searched high and low for a film that captures all of the elements of the crisis and promise of agriculture and now I have found it...it is one of the most respectful and honest looks at the current situation that many farmers find themselves in, and the positive ways that some...are recreating the future.' Mark Ritchie, Executive Director, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

'Deeply sympathetic to all farmers and to rural culture. It encompasses the issues of farm history, industry and ecology and can be viewed as both a cautionary tale and a powerful story of hope.' Making a Difference

'Kirschenmann is unequivocal in his view of the agricultural world: either you approach a farm as a machine, assuming nature is flawed and in need of a bio-agricultural shot in the arm (a losing battle in the long run), or you approach a farm as a garden and nature as a partner.' Gary Handman, Video Librarian


Sundance Film Festival
Earthwatch Film Award
CINE Golden Eagle
The Chris Award, Columbus International Film and VIdeo Festival
Silver Spire, San Francisco International Film Festival
Silver Plaque, Chicago International Film Festival
Best Environmental Program, MountainFilm in Telluride
First Place, Documentary, BACA/Brooklyn Arts Council
Best Documentary, Canyonlands Film and Video Festival
Best Doumentary, Crested Butte Reel Fest
Best Documentary, Hope and Dreams Film Festival
Best Director: Minnesota Film and Video Expo
Bronze TELLY Award
Bronze Apple, National Educational Media Network Competition
Bronze Award, CINDY Competition
Bronze Award, WorldFest Houston
Third Place Documentary, Central Florida Film and Video Festival
Finalist, USA Film Festival
Finalist, Harry Chapin Media Awards&


Main credits

Smith, Miranda (Director)
Wright, Abigail (Producer)
Kahn, Nathaniel (Screenwriter)
Hartley, David (Narrator)

Other credits

Music, John Kusiak, Caleb Sampson; editor, David Zieff; directors of photography, Alex Zakrzewski, Ken Bailey; camera, Geoffrey O'Connor, John Duvall, Ed Fabry.

Distributor credits

Miranda Productions

Miranda Productions
Miranda Smith

Docuseek2 subjects

Organic and Sustainable Agriculture
American Studies
Family Issues
Social Psychology

Distributor subjects

American Studies
Environmental Ethics
Family History
Food And Nutrition
Social Psychology
Social Studies
Sustainable Agriculture


sustainable agriculture, ; agrichemicals,environment, conventional farming, Fred Kirschenmann; "My Father's Garden"; Bullfrog Films

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