The Biggest Little Farm

John and Molly Chester, a husband and wife team, left their job titles of ‘documentary filmmaker’ and ‘private chef’ to become farmers and pursue their dream vision of starting Apricot Lane Farms in 2011. Prior to Apricot Lane Farms, Molly spent her days in the kitchens of various celebrity clients throughout Los Angeles as a traditional foods private chef. And, if you saw John Chester elbow deep in a cow assisting a difficult birth, you’d never guess that he spent the first 20 years of his career making documentary films. As the director of such critically-acclaimed films as Lost in Woonsocket(OWN) and Rock Prophecies(PBS), as well as the star and show runner of Random 1(A&E), John has built many teams in his career, which certainly helps to develop the amazing group of people at Apricot Lane Farms.

The Biggest Little Farmfollows two dreamers and a dog on an odyssey to bring harmony to both their lives and the land. When the barking of their beloved dog, Todd, leads to an eviction notice from their tiny Los Angeles apartment, John and Molly Chester make a choice that takes them out of the city and onto two hundred acres in the foothills of Ventura County, naively endeavoring to build one of the most diverse farms of its kind in complete coexistence with nature.

The land they’ve chosen, however, is utterly depleted of nutrients and suffering from a brutal drought. The film chronicles eight years of daunting work and outsize idealism as they attempt to create the utopia they seek, planting 10,000 orchard trees and over 200 different crops, and brining in animals of every kind-including an unforgettable pig named Emma and her best friend, Greasy the rooster. When the farm’s ecosystem finally begins to reawaken, so does the Chesters’ hope. But as their plan to create perfect harmony takes a series of wild turns, they realize that to survive they will have to reach a far greater understanding of the intricacies and wisdom of nature, and of life itself.

“He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20-21

Risen Reflections

Host a screening. Grab your friends, small group or family and screen the movie. You can plan on watching the movie together and grab a meal or coffee afterwards and talk about how it impacted you. Pray about who you can invite. It might be someone at work or school that you need to reach out to. It could be a co-worker or friend that you haven’t connected with in a while or it could be your child’s classmates or neighborhood friends. It can even be fun to bless someone with the gift of a ticket. There might be a family at church that would like to attend but isn’t able to financially.

Get dirty. Whether it is visiting the local farm or heading out to the woods, it is great to experience nature and God’s creation. Take your family, small group or friends for some time to experience God’s creation. Reflect on how the God of the universe created the animals and flowers around you and how He loves you and created you. It might be fun to go for a hike to a new place, collect seashells at the beach or listen to worship music under the stars. Bring your Bible and journal and read and write down a prayer to God. Thank Him for what He has done in your life and pray for the things that you need His help to trust Him with.

Have faith. Whether God is calling you to leave the comforts of your job for something new or he is challenging you to share your faith with someone, ask Him to give you the faith that you need. Trust that He will provide the resources for what He has called you to do. When you experience a trial or difficult season, turn to Him and ask Him to give you His perspective. If you are having trouble taking that step of faith, it can be helpful to talk to a small group leader, pastor or someone else who has gone through something similar. Ask them if there were verses that encouraged them. They might even have suggestions on books to read to give you perspective. Ask them if they would pray for you.

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