RACHEL'S FARM at Memorial Hall (+ Q&A Panel)
Join Rachel Ward & guests at this special Q&A screening of RACHEL'S FARM on Friday 22 September at Memorial Hall, Bellingen.
Film director and actress Rachel Ward is not the first person you’d expect to join a farming revolution. In 1984, she starred in the iconic TV series The Thorn Birds, which glamorised the rugged Australian Outback. The whole world fell in love with it, and Rachel fell in love with her co-star, Bryan Brown. They married and moved to Australia and several years later they bought a farm where they raised cattle and their children, endured droughts and flooding rains and finally the catastrophic bush fires of 2019-20, which threatened Rachel’s farm and devastated the country.
Witnessing the fury of those fires firsthand, in tandem with the birth of her first grandchild, forced Rachel to confront her own role, however small, in the precariousness of our environment. What impacts were overgrazing, pesticides and chemical fertilisers having on her farm? Worse still, how was her ecological ignorance impacting Australia’s rising temperatures, loss of topsoil and biodiversity? Rachel joins forces with neighbouring farmer and farm manager Mick Green, who shares her view that conventional farming is no longer working, and together they discover that neither of their farms are ecologically or financially viable. Mick’s research leads them both to regenerative farming. Rachel is initially hesitant, thinking it might be too good to be true. But, after she attends a holistic farming management course, scientific lectures and meets with Indigenous leaders who share the little-known history of pre-colonial farming, she starts to see regenerative farming as a viable option. Upon meeting one of the heroes of regenerative farming, farmer and author Dr. Charles Massy, Rachel is now convinced that this method of farming will ensure the future of her property.
Farming is a world of machinery, chemicals and brute strength. Initially, Rachel can’t see a role for herself on the farm but with Mick’s guidance, she becomes a farm hand. When a personal disaster strikes for Mick, Rachel must also take over his job – caring for 300 animals and fighting hard for Mick’s respect.
RACHEL’S FARM is a triumphant film, featuring intimate interviews with Rachel, her family and the people she has been inspired by on her transition from the world of entertainment to the world of farming. It gives a unique insight into her voyage from wilful ignorance about the ecological impacts of conventional agriculture to embracing a movement to restore the health of Australia’s farmland, food and climate.
Hall will open at 6:00pm for a 6:30pm screening. Q&A Panel will follow.