The accidental filmmaker

Prior to stepping onto Ottmers Family Farm in Stonewall, Texas on April 02, 2012 to begin working on Within 100 Miles (of Austin) – I had never been on a working family farm. I was born and raised in “The North End” a tight-knit Italian neighborhood in the middle of Boston, Massachusetts. The extent of my growing anything was keeping the spider plants on my my two window sills alive in my childhood bedroom. A bedroom that sat in the back of our apartment and was enclosed by three other brick 5 story brick apartment buildings.

Growing up in the city—the narrow alleys, bustling streets and (now long-gone) specialized grocers—my experience didn’t train me to consider where food came from. I had never witnessed nor planted food personally. I knew farming was probably a hard job, but never knew how much work was involved in raising food and animals, especially sustainably and organically here in Texas.

Many of us have an idea of what a farm/farmer looks like. This community encompasses a range of third generation farm families to the accidentally passionate farmer. Some of the farms sprawl over the Central Texas countryside, others are nestled in the heart of the city, and the rest lie everywhere in between.

This project taught me that good food requires good dirt, seeds, water and a lot of care, that farming is a 24-hour job. Most importantly, I learned to not take food for granted.

I invite you to watch my first documentary short film Within 100 Miles (of Austin, Texas)

This project is a collaboration with The Sustainable Food Center

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About Jo Ann Santangelo

Austin based freelance multimedia documentary photographer and storyteller.
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