On Earth Day, National Geographic is taking us back to “The Biggest Little Farm”, aka Apricot Lane Farm, which was created over ten years ago. This documentary is a follow on from the 2018 award-winning feature documentary film that told the story of John and Molly Chester, who abandon their urban life in Los Angeles to live on a barren farm to grow delicious food in harmony with nature in Ventura County.
The new special follows the farmers’ 10-year tireless journey as they transform the land into a magical working farm and document the whole process in this heartwarming special that is very laid back, softly spoken and just gives you that warm feeling of almost being at home.
This documentary is only about 25 minutes long and is almost an introduction to the farm, which, will soon be getting its own Disney+ series. If you haven’t seen the original film, the introduction section of this documentary will get you caught up on everything within a few minutes.
The photography is stunning, as John Chester loves to film the amazing things that are on his farm. We get to see cute piglets, lambs, ducks, owls, rabbits and his pet dog. We also get to see him raising chickens, looking after bees and everything else you could think of for the perfect farm.
While the documentary does give you a lovely sweet version of what being on a farm is like, it doesn’t pull any punches with the life and death aspect of farm life. Especially when it comes to his famous pig, who has another little of piglets and, well little ones might find these scenes hard to take. But on the other hand, we do get to see him wean back a baby lamb from almost death.
One of the key aspects of the farm’s success, is down to how much focus the Chester’s made of returning the soil quality back. They explain all the reasons why and showcase how a healthy ecosystem will allow a rundown bit of land to recover, even if it doesn’t do it exactly how you’d want it.
“The Biggest Little Farm” is a lovely addition to the Disney+ lineup. It’s very laid back and makes farming look idealistic. If you enjoy shows like the BBC’s “Countryfile” or other farm-related content, I’m sure you’ll going to enjoy this documentary as well, as it has that easy going Sunday evening vibe to it. Especially if you have love of farm life and wildlife in general, which I do, since I’m regularly walking my dogs to a nearby country park that overlooks farmland or visiting the local farm cafe for a cuppa tea and a slice of cake, while looking at the alpacas and cows!
I found this documentary to be a pleasant and enjoyable slice of farm life. It certainly feels more like the side of a farm you get to see when you visit a farm shop or cafe, rather than the gritty harsh side of looking after herds of animals and the backbreaking nature of farm life. But when you can look at beautiful footage of cute animals and a stunning farm, it’s hard to not feel relaxed.
Rating 4 out of 5
“The Biggest Little Farm: The Return” is coming to Disney+ on Friday 22nd April 2022.