In the words of Youth Farmer Alex Rios, “The difference between school and the Youth Farm is that I’m actually interested. I don’t want to go to school, but I have to go. Here I choose to go because it’s just an amazing place to come.” In a new documentary about the Marion-Polk Food Share Youth Farm called Real Dirt, filmmaker and Early College instructor Eric Rose-Phillips captures the young farmers perspective in their own words.
The documentary, created as part of a NW Documentary workshop, explains how the farm began as a partnership between the Food Share and the OSU Extension 4H Youth Development program. Twelve Youth Farmers participated in the 2014 season, which cultivated a two-acre farm at the Oregon School for the Deaf. The mission of the farm is to donate 60% of its produce to the Food Share, but also serve as a vocational training program for young people.
The documentary features interviews with the young farmers themselves and shares, in their own words, what working on the farm means to them. Youth farmer Tony Currier Reagor explains the personal benefits of working on the farm, “It does a lot psychologically, it does a lot for understanding how the plants work, how the world works, and how I work and how other people work. The farm, at least for me, is kind of like a family, a community if you will. And that’s what makes this such a productive place.”