“The Soil gives us bread, the Sun feeds it. Dear Sun, dear Soil, we are grateful for this blessed food”. This is approximately the formula that precedes every meal at Thorshøjgaand, the only farm in Denmark that brings together the precepts of biodynamic agriculture and the goal of preserving a particular local cattle breed in danger of extinction: the original Danish Red.
A world outside the world, that must be preserved and guarded at all costs. “Good things await”, a world-rewarded documentary by the Danish director Phie Ambo, shows the story of this place and people who live here. The film, which received the Grand Prix at FIFE 2015, member of the Green Film Network, tells about Niels Stocholm and his wife, who fight against an intransigent bureaucracy to defend the way of farming, breeding and living they believe in.
The wellness of the animals comes first, and it is more important than regulations in charge of giving certifications and financial subsidies. “Niels is probably the most uncompromising biodynamic farmer in all of Scandinavia and still he can’t´call his vegetables organic or biodynamic” the director says, kindly accepting to satisfy our curiosity. “This does not make sense and after the film he was given an apology from the authorities but it´s just so important to support local farmers that you know because even though they don´t have the official labels from EU they might be even more animal friendly and clean than those who are certified”.
There is no space for aggressive production systems in Thorshøjgaand, nor for an exasperated technology. Nevertheless, the protagonists don’t think they are backward or anachronistically attached to the past: on the contrary they strongly believe that biodynamic agriculture is a futuristic practice which they are pioneers of. The development of the story shows that they may be right, since some well-known restaurants and rising gastronomic projects in Copenhagen really appreciate Niels’ products.
The sequence of events interchange with screenings where natural processes made of colours, buzzes, movements and swarming are absolute leading actors of the scene. A specific choice that Phie firmly claims: “I wanted to make a film that speaks to the senses and maybe brings back childhood memories of being in nature and feeling connected with everything. That´s why it was very important for me to make a film that took the time to look closely at the wonderful transformations that happen all the time in nature. I believe that the beauty of nature can be key to a positive change”.
This is the point: we can learn a lot from nature, maybe everything. In this perspective, the farm opens its doors for lessons and workshops which show to young or adult people that the creation and defense of life are fundamental precepts for biodynamic agriculture. By touching with our own hands the soil and its products, we can become more responsible consumers.
“I hope that my film can inspire people to make their own choices from an informed perspective” the director concludes. “I think that we are right now in a time in history where we can transform a dark industrial age into a lighter and sustainable future. But we have to create a deep and loving relation to nature in order to do that and I think that just looking at how all the butterflies, bugs and plants play a beautiful symphony together can give us a deeper understanding of why we have to take better care of nature. The changes need to happen now but they have to be made from a personal perspective that’s motivated by love of the whole system that we as humans are an integrated part of”.