"Coming To Ground" Comes Out This Weekend

Ann Bell Stone of Elmwood Stock Farm

Ann Bell Stone of Elmwood Stock Farm

We'll see a lot of our favorite growers when the feature-length documentary Coming To Grounddebuts this weekend, nicely timed to coincide with the most extensive local Earth Day celebrations I've seen. Acclaimed filmmakers Jean Donohue and Fred Johnson of Media Working Group have worked on this project long enough to cure several seasons of country hams the old fashioned way. What we will see results from years and years of planning, raising money, connecting, raising money, interviewing, raising money, filming, writing grant proposals, editing, raising money, promoting, and more promoting.

I have seen much of the video, and I am excited about it. Watch (or tape to watch during a weekend shower): Kentucky Educational Television, Sunday, April 22, 2012, at 2 PM, or many additional showings.

The "Ground" in this project is Kentucky earth. The story follows growers and policy-makers as they consider and describe their responses to economic and environmental crises that threaten farms, water, and forests in Kentucky and around the world.

Growers describe their experiences with developing sustainable agriculture after the end of cash subsidies for growing tobacco. Growers and commenters point out the importance of Kentucky policy decisions in helping Kentucky agriculture move toward a new set of possibilities after tobacco subsidies ended.

At the end of the 1990s, using half the money that came from tobacco companies' settlements with states, Kentucky formed the Governor's Office of Agricultural Policy and the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board, charging the board to "invest these funds in innovative proposals that increase net farm income and affect tobacco farmers, tobacco-impacted communities and agriculture across the state by stimulating markets for Kentucky agricultural products, finding new ways to add value to Kentucky agricultural products, and exploring new opportunities for Kentucky farms." The video points out the benefits for both growers and consumers of the more than $300 million the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund has since invested in farms, markets, and promoting the Kentucky Proud brand of agricultural products.

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