Watching a chicken hatch makes combat veteran Alex Sutton smile, so he decides to become a farmer. The sense of purpose he once felt as a soldier returns, but his crippling PTSD remains. Along with his wife, Jessica, he toils through four seasons on a different kind of battlefield and wonders if, for him, the war will ever end.
This intense and intimate feature length documentary opens a window into the complex lives of veterans: wanting and not wanting to be civilians, aching for the intensity of war and yet wishing to cast off the memories that haunt them. It also explores the strengths and limitations of farming as occupational therapy for a population in search of purpose after war and a country in need of young farmers.
Prefers dirt roads to traffic lights and ten honest seconds with a stranger to most anything else. Recent work includes COOK SCHOOL, a look at culinary education behind bars. Anderson is Co-Director of Vittles; a film company producing and promoting documentaries about people told through the lens of food. Farmer Veteran is the first feature doc from Vittles.
Alternates between the worlds of documentary making, farming, yoga-teaching and graduate school. Blair has captured the sounds of snails in freezing northern Maine and a country’s transition to democracy in Bhutan. Past work includes The Five Farms Project and Nuestras Histories, Nuestros Sueños.
Father, photographer and steadfast skateboarder, Lange has been focusing his lens on the effects war on veterans and U.S. culture for the past decade. He also freelances for publications including Le Figaro, The New York Times, Texas Monthly, TIME and Outside Magazine.
Blog / Porfolio
Drove to Durham, N.C. for the kudzu vines, the crazy heat and for the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. Shuman is Co-Director of Vittles Films and past work includes Wok Next Door and Café Sense.
Co-Producer, Asst. Editor
Since producing his first film for a chicken breeder in rural India, Mikel has devoted himself to cultivating organizational and leadership skill sets for commercial, educational and documentary films. Recent work includes All of Us, about the struggle against anti-LGBT legislation in North Carolina.
Brings her ebullient spirit and 8 years experience of playing matchmaker to groundbreaking and leading organizations to create social action film campaigns. Kristin is also the Senior Social Media Strategist at Working Films where she is leading ScreeningHQ and Reel Power.
Currently on world-wide tour as Creative Director for Wieden + Kennedy Shanghai, Mr. Sundholm has also designed interactive art for organizations including Friends of the Children and Repeal Amendment One. Follow him @f_letter / Instagram
Chris Heavener is the General Manager of Videri Chocolate Factory, a bean-to-bar chocolate factory in Downtown Raleigh, NC. He’s been interested in sustainable agriculture for over 5 years and has started to get involved in the sustainable ag movement in the Triangle. Coming from a family with connections to the military he’s interested in the well being and proper support of veterans.
As a Supply Chain Fellow with North Carolina State’s Poole School of Management and The Center for Environmental Farming Systems, Sebastian is working to help strengthen the ability of small and medium scale sustainable farmers to have greater market access and secure a healthy livelihood.
Veterans Day 2013
Today we honor all veterans who have served and sacrificed for their country. Unlike Memorial Day, this holiday is reserved for honoring and showing gratitude to living veterans of the armed services. As such, we should reflect on their lives now, after war, and consider what can be done to better their quality of life for the other 364 days of the year.
Photo: Alex Sutton’s kitchen table. – Jeremy M. Lange
SPEAK UP | The Senate and House are trying to negotiate differences with the 2013 Farm Bill. Sign up to the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition listserv to help them advocate for the needs of beginning farmers and veterans.
ENLIST | Whether you’re just starting out or already an expert on farming, veterans will find invaluable resources and support through the Farmer Veteran Coalition. Apply for small grants, access all of FVC’s resources, and attend their workshops.
EQUIP | Support a farmer veteran by donating your farm gear; equipment, seeds, feed or stock are all welcome and needed.
PARTNER UP | We’re pairing up with non-profits, businesses and other groups that support farmers and veterans to seek strategic feedback on how the film can be used to support their important work. Interested? Reach out.
After 15 months of filming with the Suttons, we’re now fully immersed in the post-production process. This means, among other things, shaping our extensive footage into a feature-length story, collaborating with a composer on an original score, and continuing to develop our outreach and audience engagement strategy. At this point we’re a third of the way toward bringing this film into the world and influencing conversation, understanding and policy about veterans, farmers and the way we heal from trauma.
Making it this far would not have been possible without the generous support of the folks mentioned below. Consider joining this grassroots documentary effort by making a tax-deductible donation at a specific level or any amount you wish.
Read more about our incentives for giving, including fine art prints of Alex’s heritage birds, and what your gift of support makes possible. All donations are processed by our fiscal sponsor, The Southern Documentary Fund, a registered 501(c)(3).
Silver Appleyard $5,000
Eliza Kraft Olander & Brian McHenry
Philip Shuman & Family
Pearl Guinea $1,000
Farmer Veteran Coalition
Blue Americana $500
John & Kathleen Byron
Barbara Ann Caudill
Bruce R. Kuniholm
Caroline Ann Stewart
Christina & Steve Celestini
Cristian & Mary Susan Alva
Joes & Chrissy Serrano
John & Julie W. Fox
John & Kathy Piva
Kelly McCall Branson
Laura & Grant Williard
Laura Scott Dillman
Leon Grodski de Barrera
Lois Deloatch & Edward Gomes
Mital & Rimple Patel
Phil & Susan Jakes
Robert & Amy Lark
Vandana Dake & John Warasila
Baby Muscovy $50
Anna Ruth Pickett
Jennie Laurel Terman & Melissa Westbrook
Megan & Aaron Jones
Pat and Bob Garcia
Richard K. Eckstein
Sara Jane Whyte