Grassroots Small Farm (Film)

Grassroots Small Farm

  •  Anne Lewis
  •  1988
  • Color IconColor
  •  28:34
  •  3/4" U-matic video
Film Description
Grassroots Small Farm tells the story of 260 families in Eastern Kentucky who banded together in a cooperative designed to make small, subsistence farms viable. Ervan Hontz, a VISTA worker, started the program in 1980 when interviews with hundreds of community residents showed their most pressing need to be “help with their gardens and livestock.” Hontz explains how the project works: “Charity is so many times degrading. So we offer a loan. For a milk cow, I want a heifer back; for a sow, I want three young pigs. They're not only getting something for themselves; they're helping their neighbor by passing along the gift.” Cooperative farm families are seen conducting project board meetings, building and operating their own greenhouse, and talking about their plans for expansion.

Screenings & Festivals
  • Kentucky Educational Television
  • Blue Ridge Public Television
  • WSWP/Beckley, WV
  • WSJK/Knoxville

Not yet preserved. To support the work of preserving and safeguarding the collections, please consider designating a donation to Appalshop Archive.


“Best piece of work on rural community development that I have ever used. It gives a taste of rural America, and a real look at the way grassroots organizations work. It's a real picture of dignity.” — Roanoke College
“One cannot help but admire Hontz and his activities on behalf of the small farmer. He truly has offered one man's solution to the economic depression of some Appalachian residents.” — Southern Quarterly