Meet a Just Food Farmer (OR 10!)

Filmmaker Anna Mumford and Just Food's Farm Network Coordinator, Jess Cortes, filming at La Baraja Farm in Goshen.

At Just Food, part of our mission is to bridge the distance between local farmers and New York City eaters. We’d love it if everyone could get a chance to see their farmers in action on the farm, but we know that busy New Yorkers don’t always have the time to get out of town. In 2012, thanks to a grant from the USDA Risk Management Agency and the talents of Brooklyn-based videographer Anna Mumford, we got the opportunity to bring the stories of 10 local farmers to you.

Just Food works with farmers from different backgrounds, from families who have owned their land since the 1600s to new and recent immigrant farmers. These videos reflect their shared passion for farming and celebrate their unique stories.

Small farms often lack marketing expertise, and few have the time to make telling their story a priority. The goal of this project was to provide farmers with the tools and resources to connect with New York City consumers. "The idea is to promote the farmers, and to teach farmers to promote themselves," says Jess Cortes, Just Food’s Farm Network Coordinator.

Over the past year, Jess and Anna spent hours on the road, traveling throughout the region to film our farmers and their families. For farmer Chris Kaplan-Walbrecht, participating in the project was an important opportunity to show people what is really happening on the farm.

With wife Eve, Chris co-owns Garden of Eve Organic Farm, which is located on Long Island’s North Fork. "There is a lot of confusion about what local, fresh and organic really means, and I think these videos help explain it. We want to help our customers to see we are actually a working farm, what we are about, where we are and what we stand for." After going through the filming process and seeing the results of the video, Chris says they’re inspired to create more media to help tell their story. 

The videos were part of a larger grant to provide training and resources to local farmers to build stronger connections with New York City consumers. In December 2011, Just Food hosted a Farmer Summit, which included a workshop on storytelling. Farmers learned the basics of a good story and had the opportunity to test out their skills on their peers. From there, Just Food identified 10 farms to work with on the video project. In addition to the videos, Just Food provided support to farmers to build new and improve existing websites. 

We were thrilled to be able to provide this support to our farmers and we look forward to finding new ways to share their stories with you in the future. Watch our farmer videos here!