About the Film

about The Film
Forgotten Farms examines class divides in our farm and food communities. Most people buy their food in supermarkets and don’t have a chance to meet their farmer, as the bumper sticker recommends. But in more affluent communities, farm-to-table restaurants, farmer's markets and CSAs are booming and the new farmers are celebrated.
There is another farmer who is left out of the local food celebration.
New England has lost over 10,000 dairy farms in the past 50 years; fewer than 2,000 farms remain. Collectively, they tend 1.2 million acres of farmland and produce almost all of the milk consumed in New England. In our enthusiasm for the new food movement, we often overlook the farmers at the foundation of the regional agricultural economy. Only 100 years ago, New England produced most of its own food on 16 million acres of farmland. Climate change will demand that more of our food is grown closer to where we live. As we strive to revive local production, we have much to learn from dairy farmers who have been managing most of the farmland and sustaining the farm economy all along. Through conversations with farmers and policy experts, the film reconsiders the role of these vital but forgotten farmers.
Forgotten Farms gives us a glimpse into the past and a vision for a future regional food system. The documentary shows the cultural divide between the new food movement and traditional farming, highlighting the need to examine differences, develop mutual understanding, and find common ground. A truly sustainable local food system that benefits everyone will rely on all of our farmers.

You build your farm over generations and you lose your farm in an hour.”

– Vic Ziemba, Dairy Farmer

The Farmers
The Filmmakers
Dave Simonds

Dave Simonds (director) is an actor, writer and filmmaker. He directed “Cherry Cottage: the Story of an American House,” which premiered at the Berkshire International Film Festival, and screened at festivals around the country. He directs Simonds Films, which is a full service boutique production house. He continues work on his ongoing series of short episodic films and the web series “Free Advice from an Old Guy” with Jay Tarses. As an actor, Simonds worked extensively in New York, and regionally at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, The Long Wharf Theatre, and The Portland Stage Company. He was a familiar face in the indie-film renaissance of the late 80s and early 90s and his screen credits include Amateur, The Book of Life, Signs and Wonders, The Fish in a Bathtub, Henry Fool, B Movie, among many others. He appeared in music videos for Everything But the Girl, Beth Orton and others. He was the co-founder of the award winning Cucaracha Theatre, which was housed in a warehouse in Tribeca before anyone knew where Tribeca was. The New York Times proclaimed, “Cucaracha Theatre has become a center for some of the most interesting experimental theatre in New York.” He is currently working on a documentary called “The Hoy Boys.”

Sarah Gardner

Sarah Gardner (producer) teaches planning and policy at Williams College and is the Associate Director of the Center for Environmental Studies. Her areas of research and teaching include land use, agriculture and food systems. She has led many research projects about agriculture and has interviewed dozens of farmers, both in New England and Eleuthera, Bahamas. Sarah’s experience in local government and local issues is extensive: she has served on the Williamstown Planning Board, The Williamstown Conservation Commission, and the Agricultural Commission. Sarah was instrumental in proposing and passing the Williamstown Right to Farm bylaw and is a member of the Williamstown Farm Market Committee. Since 2011 she has been the leader of the North Berkshire Keep Farming project, a three-year research initiative. She serves on the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission’s Food and Agriculture Subcommittee. Sarah served as the Williamstown delegate to the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, the Williamstown Conservation Commission, the Williamstown Master Plan Committee, and the Community Preservation Committee. Sarah is a graduate of Smith College, she holds a Masters in Public Policy from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the City University of New York. She has made two short films about tourism and farming in Eleuthera.

Producer's Statement
  • Forgotten Farms
  • Forgotten Farms


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