Monday, April 09, 2007

"Working the Land: The Story of Connecticut Agriculture"

"Working the Land: The Story of Connecticut Agriculture"
Premieres Friday, April 13th at 9 p.m. on CPTV

Past, present and future of state farming are subject of new documentary Moodus, Conn. (April 4, 2007) - Since its earliest days, Connecticut farmers and the farming way of life helped to build the state, givesustenance to millions and provide residents with a special sense ofplace. Today, farming in Connecticut is at a crossroads as lifestyle changes and development pressures threaten its future. The past, present and future of state farming are explored in Working the Land: The Story of Connecticut Agriculture, a 90-minute documentary that premieres Friday, April 13, at 9 p.m. on Connecticut Public Television (CPTV). State resident Ken Simon produced, wrote and directed the documentary, his 21st program on Connecticut history, culture or public policy. Connecticut resident Sam Waterston narrates the program.

In the last half of the 20th century, Connecticut, like other states, had experienced a steady decline in farming. In 1944, there were 22,000 farms in the state. Today, there are 4,200. To the dismay of many concerned with state agriculture, farmland loss has intensified inrecent years. From 1997 to 2002, Connecticut led all other states in the rate of loss -- 12 percent of existing farmland, with no signs of slowing down since then. Yet, agriculture continues to be an important part of Connecticut's economy, food system and culture. Some trends are downright encouraging, such as increasing demand for locally grown food, more direct marketing from farm to consumer, and the growing business of agricultural-based tourism. Working the Land features 26 farmers who help to tell the story of state agriculture. Farmers in the program range from multi-generation farm families to first-generation farmers, from part-timers to multi-million-dollar operators. They grow, harvest, make and sell a diverse array of farm products -- from decorative plants to organic produce, gourmet vegetables, wine, cheese, grass-fed lamb and beef, and a wide range of added-value products.

An extended-edition DVD of the program is available at retail outletsstatewide and at the project website The website contains interview transcripts, exclusive articles and video footage, links to state farmsand farm products, an archival photographic database, and interactive features. Working the Land is a co-production of Simon Pure Productions and Connecticut Humanities Council. It is the latest program in The Connecticut Experience, a collaborative series of the Humanities Council and Connecticut Public Television. Lead underwriting for the project was provided by Connecticut Farmland Trust, with major underwriting from Connecticut Farm Bureau, Connecticut Department of Agriculture and the 1772 Foundation. PRODUCTION CREDITS Producer, Writer, Director: Kenneth A. Simon Executive Producers: Kenneth A. Simon (SimonPure Productions), Bruce Fraser (Connecticut Humanities Council) Narrator: Sam Waterston, Original Score: Steve Evans, Contact: Ken Simon, ,

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