Nick Nolan is an Appalachian prodigal son working against the odds to resurrect the family farm. Nick, his wife Celeste, and their young family are fighting to keep this homeland from “drying up and blowing away,” something that has happened to about 4.7 million farms in the U.S. over the past 50 years. The pressures of corporate-driven food have left deep scars in the region.

Over the span of five years, we see life unfold as the Nolans cultivate the grit and humor they need to survive as a sustainable dairy farm in a rural food desert. Farmsteaders points an honest and tender lens at the beauty and hardship of everyday life, while Nick’s poetic reflections weave the golden thread of his inner world throughout the scenes.

Farmsteaders intimately explores what it’s like to be one of those left standing. The workload takes a heavy toll: “When you’re a farmer, there’s no such thing as a sick day.” And Nick’s estranged oldest son, Hunter, wants to return home. Hunter’s help would be a godsend, but only if he can curb his appetite for alcohol and regain the trust he lost when he put the entire dairy herd – thus Nick and Celeste’s livelihood – in jeopardy. Now Hunter has a baby on the way, and he promises he’s ready to change. How will Nick balance his fears and his hopes when so much is at stake?

We know for certain: family is everything, nothing ever stays the same, and the land holds it all together.

Director | Shaena Mallett