Betting the Farm: Do Something Reel Film Festival

The Do Something Reel™ Film Festival continues this month with Betting The Farm, a documentary that follows a group of Maine dairy farmers who launch their own milk company in a bid to save their farms.

Do Something Reel

Last year we proudly launched the Do Something Reel Film Festival, an online collection of provocative, character-driven films that focus on food, environmental issues and everyday people with a vision of making a world of difference. Simply put, it’s a celebration of people who understand that small steps can create big change. The Do Something Reel Film Festival continues this month with Betting The Farm, a documentary that follows a group of Maine dairy farmers who launch their own milk company in a bid to save their farms.

A cow leaves the Chase's barn. Film still from Betting The Farm.

We’re doing something that’s never been done before because the only way you’re going to do something different is if you do something different.

In February 2009, one of the largest dairy companies in America announced that it wouldn’t renew the contracts of eight organic dairy farmers in rural Maine. With no other dairy companies willing to send a milk truck to northern or eastern Maine, the farmers were left with two choices: quit farming altogether or find a new way to do business.
Farmers Vaughn Chase, Richard Lary, and Aaron Bell — along with the other farmers —unite to launch an entirely local milk company, Maine’s Own Organic Milk (MOO Milk). What makes this model rare is that the farmers themselves own the company and are committed to paying a sustainable price for their milk.

Laura sweeping
Laura Chase sweeps the barn. Film still from Betting The Farm.

If MOO Milk is successful —while paying 90% of its profits back to the farmers who own the company— it will serve as a powerful model for sustainable, small-scale farming and local agriculture. Small farms are not necessarily destined for elimination if they can band together in new ways. MOO Milk could also restore what was once the promise of every farm generation to the next: a stable, healthy living for those willing to do the work.

But the road is rocky. The milk cartons leak. There is no money to advertise. And most importantly, they're simply not selling enough milk. Faced with slow sales and mounting bills, will their gamble save them or ruin them? With intimate access to their triumphs and disappointments, the film gives you a rare glimpse at the real lives of American farmers at a crossroads. Take a look in this preview.

Betting The Farm TRAILER from Pull-Start Pictures on Vimeo.

Whole Foods display
A MOO Milk demo display in Whole Foods. Film still from Betting The Farm.

If you live in the North Atlantic (Maine, Central Connecticut, Massachusetts or Rhode Island), check your local Whole Foods Market store for MOO Milk.Cecily Pingree and Jason Mann run Pull-Start Pictures, a production company based on an island 12 miles off the coast of Maine. Betting The Farm is their first feature documentary.

Visit the festival’s web site to rent Betting The Farm through these digital platforms: iTunes, Hulu, Netflix, Vudu, Amazon Prime and Amazon Instant Video, Youtube VOD and Cinema Now.

A new film will be launched online each month on the platforms listed above. They are available for rental for $3.99 in standard definition and $4.99 in high definition and include exclusive interviews with the filmmakers. There is one viewing per purchase. Visit Do Something Reel’s web site for additional video, behind-the-scenes talks with filmmakers and other materials free of charge. Plus, stay tuned for these upcoming films:

February: The Greenhorns

March: Bonsai People

Are you willing to pay more for the products of small local farms if you know that premium will help to preserve something precious?

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