A new feature film, The Ivy League Farmer, tells the story of a father and son in conflict over the future of the family dairy farm. It’s also a love story that explores a small town’s concern about local kids not getting enough to eat.
The movie’s U.S. premiere, June 5-7 in Cedar Rapids, raises funds for an all-volunteer project called Operation BackPack that helps feed kids in need. Operation BackPack provides school children, identified by their teachers and school nurses as “food insecure,” a backpack containing quality food items for the weekend. Kids returning to school on Monday are better able to concentrate on learning.
“Food safety, sustainability, and affordability are critical issues,” says Jeff Cannon, president and CEO of Diamond V, a Cedar Rapids based company focused on cost-effective food production and optimal food safety. Diamond V is organizing The Ivy League Farmer premiere.
“Food security is a growing concern, too,” Cannon says. “Even though the U.S. has one of the safest and most affordable food supplies in the world, 15% of Americans suffer from food insecurity. Even in Iowa, one of the top agricultural states, there are communities where one in four school-age children get their only meal of the day at school.”
Cannon said it’s a challenge to help the public better understand the real choices ahead as farmers work to produce enough safe, sustainable, affordable food. Diamond V became a founding member of Farming to Fight Hunger™, a non-profit organization in order to increase public awareness of food security issues and improve knowledge of modern agriculture. The Ivy League Farmer is the group’s first project.
Most of the world’s land suitable for farming is already in production, Cannon points out. Looking ahead, he says an estimated 70% of future increases in food production capacity must come from new and improved agricultural technologies. He believes that family entertainment like The Ivy League Farmer can raise public awareness about hunger, modern technology, and the farmers who devote their lives to meeting the growing need for food.
Cannon, who grew up on an Iowa farm, says, “If we show it… they will see!”
The Ivy League Farmer, directed by Tom Weber and produced by Mark Miller and Frank Miller, stars Randy Wayne, Janine Turner, Terry Serpico, Ashley Nicole Anderson, Christopher Knight, and Christopher Douglas Reed as “Lester.”