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A Growing Season. An Opportunity For Change.

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By James Geneau

The tough nature of farming is often glamorized to those living within the urban jungle.  Wide spaces, fresh air, and home cooking are often thought of as the idyllic perks associated with making your living off the land.  This could not be further from the truth.  While we all realize that the struggles of the farmer have been increasing, very few truly understand the hardships they endure.  A new documentary hopes to forever change the impression we have on farming and to put their hardships back into the front line of discussion.

A Growing Season follows vegetable farmer John Gorzo Jr. and his family over eight months in the Holland Marsh, north of Toronto, as he struggles with the day-to-day stresses of supplying the world with food.  Co-directors Robert Waldeck and Paul Eichhorn tagged along as John prepared to seed the new season's crop and they were there late fall as the farmer sees another growing season come to a close. The documentary captures a very intimate portrait of a farmer's life thanks to Gorzo's candid nature and reveals many of the hard realities farmers face each and every day.

"It's getting tough out there for farmers to make a decent living." notes Gorzo in the documentary as the film takes a hard look at the financial problems his family is faced with.   At one point, the farmer laments that the current marketplace doesn't provide today's farmers with adequate compensation.   Instead, they are forced to keep pushing in the hopes that one day they will be able to grow enough to break even.  Robert Waldeck adds that it was hard to believe anyone would persevere considering the forces farmers currently face. "From tractors breaking down to a hot, dry summer to extreme fatigue, John just kept on going through it all," recalls Waldeck, who was behind the camera for the shoot. "It was remarkable to watch him keep it all together even though the final outcome of this growing season was totally uncertain."

The documentary, approximately 50-minutes in length, offers a stark view of farming quite unlike the quaint one most people have in their heads. The process of producing the food we eat every day is a challenge that few of us could ever imagine. John Gorzo Jr.'s farm story demonstrates that it takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears to produce what we eat each and every day.

This is a common story of farmers across Ontario, Canada, and the World.  One people think they understand, but in reality have a very limited view of in terms of overall scope.  As foodies, we pride ourselves in where our food comes from, how far it travelled, and the seasonality of the ingredients.  However, we often overlook the true heroes responsible for delivering us our bounty.

And so, Gremolata.com is pleased to be presenting this documentary on our Web site as part of our GremolataTV programming.  Starting on January 7th, 2009, we will begin airing a new chapter of this documentary every few weeks.  Our passion at Gremolata is good food and drink, and its ability to connect people.  We believe that learning, discussing, and sharing is vital for the ongoing development of our society, how we eat and drink, what we eat and drink, and where we choose to do it.  And there is no better way to learn and grow than by viewing and discussing this documentary.

Over the coming weeks we encourage you to watch each chapter and share it with friends on Facebook, mySpace, and other mediums.  Let them know the struggles of the farmer so we can make life easier for them and ensure our food supply remains intact.  Gremolata can provide you with the knowledge, thanks to great people like Paul Eichorn, Robert Waldeck, and John Gorzo Jr. Only you can help the cause.


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