Film ‘How We Grow’ tells of young farmers in Carbondale |

Film ‘How We Grow’ tells of young farmers in Carbondale

Carla Jean Whitley

If you go

Final Hours Kickstarter Fundraiser Party

Wednesday, 6-9 p.m. Support the film “How We Grow,” whose Kickstarter fundraiser ends Sept. 8. If the fundraiser doesn’t meet its $20,000 goal, none of the money promised will be paid out. During the party, guests will enjoy their first beer free and happy hour prices thereafter; a taco plate by Open Fire Catering; the world premiere of Pearl and Wood’s video “Sylvie;” and the opportunity to meet the filmmakers and farmers at the heart of hte movie. Supporters will also receive a digital download of the completed film.

Batch by Roaring Fork Beer Company, 358 Main St., Carbondale | $25 |

Imagine a life without maps. You would have to find a way from point A to point B without assistance, and each journey could become an adventure.

“That would be horribly inefficient and you’d get lost all the time,” said filmmaker Tomas Zuccareno.

Zuccareno and his filmmaking partner, Haley Thompson, hope to offer something of a guide for young farmers in the documentary “How We Grow.” The film examines how the Carbondale community supports such enterprise, and may offer ideas for how other communities could create similar opportunities.

Zuccareno acknowledges the Roaring Fork Valley offers a degree of privilege in that realm: A number of financially comfortable people are able to create something of an incubator to test what works and what doesn’t. Although other communities may not have the same resources, they can draw ideas from the work done here.

“If ‘How We Grow’ is a roadmap (it’s also) an inspirational roadmap,” Zuccareno said. The filmmakers are raising money to complete the full-length documentary.


Both Zuccareno and Thompson have familial ties to the earth. Zuccareno grew up on his family’s farm in New Hampshire. It wasn’t a production farm, but it provided food for the Zuccarenos. Thompson was raised in Basalt, where her father, Michael Thompson, worked alongside Jerome Ostentowski to design climate battery greenhouses. They are vice president and president, respectively, of Eco Systems Design. Because her father mentored a number of younger farmers, Thompson was aware of current opportunities for farmers in the Roaring Fork Valley.


“Their energy and commitment was so inspiring, I knew I needed to be part of it and tell their story through film,” Thompson said. She was working in New York City editing film trailers, but the power of this story drew her home.

Meanwhile, Zuccareno was pulled away from his commercial photography work and toward telling stories in film. He and Thompson learned about the area’s farmers separately, and discovered their shared interest in January 2016, when they met at the Local Food Convergence.


The average age of American farmers is 58. That means our food producers are quickly nearing retirement, and there must be younger farmers to fill the gap.

In “How We Grow,” Zuccareno and Thompson aim to tell the story of Carbondale, Colorado, and millennial farmers within 15 miles of the town. The filmmakers have already completed a 12-minute short film that examines how microfinance supports the young farming movement. It was funded by a Redford Center Grant and debuted at 5Point Film Festival’s Changemaker Program. They’re now raising funds via for a full-length documentary. They’ve already shot all the footage, which explores issues of land access, legislation, education and access to food.


The film’s protagonists are Harper Kaufman and Christian LaBar of Two Roots Farm; Casey Piscura and Kirsten Kennan of Wild Mountain Seeds; and Erin Cuseo and Jimmy Dula of Erin’s Acres. As Zuccareno and Thompson interviewed these farmers, they noticed a common thread: Their farming is motivated in large part by environmental concern.

“People have lost connection to where their food comes from. We believe if they remember it comes from clean water and clean air and healthy soil, they’ll care more about their planet,” Zuccareno said.


Batch at Roaring Fork Beer Company will host a fundraising event Wednesday, to help boost the film toward its final goal. The Kickstarter campaign aims to raise $20,000 to cover post-production costs. The filmmakers will then submit the completed documentary to the Sundance Film Festival. Donations of $25 to the Kickstart campaign include admission to the party, the ticket purchaser’s first beer, a taco plate by Open Fire Catering and an early digital download of the completed film. The party will also include the world premier of Pearl and Wood’s video “Sylvie.”

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