The Greenhorns in Appalachia

posted December 15, 2008

Here’s the first installment of some notes on the Greenhorns’ recent trip to Appalachia! From Severine…

“The Greenhorns have just returned from a whirlwind, and quite blizzardy tour of Appalachia and Georgia. Over the course of 9 days we visited: Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Georgia and we got rained out of Tennessee where we’d hope to film on a tiny island off of Chattannooga. We’ll go back and catch that in the early spring, along with Warren Wilson College -a veritable young farmer factory.

Where to start. We started in New York City. I came down the Hudson on the train and was met by Savanna Lyons, indominable regional producer, who had driven all the way from Maine. Together we huffed and puffed our way down to Charlottesville, VA for the night. There was a lot of driving this trip, more than I was quite prepared for. But Savanna’s little red jetta got great mileage and we only had to get fuel five times over the course of the 3,600 miles–and did you notice how cheap it was! A stroke of luck to be making a farming film during an economic meltdown, and the drama was amplified for our interviews as well. I’m happy to report that there was absolutely no smugness on the part of the young farmers, only a profound thankfulness that they had followed their hearts into agriculture.

The first film shoot found us in the forest, right after a light snow– light filtering down. We were there to meet Ian, a biological forester. He and his team looked very good against the snow in western North Carolina- and I got the chance to hop out of the car and onto the wagon behind the horses, and into the woods we went!

It was glorious, the boys were felling trees and hauling them out with the horses –hot breathes and harumphs of the horses, and the sound of metal on cold ground, metal pounding into the wood, chainsaws, twinkles on the northsides of all the trees, lichen. It would have made good radio even, but better movie-making.”