once nearly everyone in Connecticut lived on or next to a farm, today
hardly anyone does. In 1944, there were 22,000 farms in the state.
Today, there are 4,200 farms.
Farmers who have managed to survive, and sometimes thrive, have done so
by successfully adapting to changes in the marketplace and in
The diversity and adaptability of the state's farms is a
bright sign for the future viability of Connecticut agriculture.
Nevertheless, each year more farmers go out of business
and more farmland
One factor threatening
Connecticut farms is sprawl and its
need for developable land.
The relentless and poorly coordinated development of Connecticut's rural and suburban areas has led to a startling loss of state farmland.
In recent years, Connecticut lost the highest percentage of its farmland
to development than any other state, a trend that is accelerating.
in Moodus, 1950s
Yet, despite these discouraging circumstances, agriculture is
still a significant part of the state economy, generating about $2 billion
annually, with about
50,000 people working in
There are still successful egg, dairy, vegetable, fruit and tobacco
farms in Connecticut, some farmed by the same family going back
generations. They are joined by a new breed of farmer
-- from small-scale
part-timer to multi-million-dollar operator
-- who pursues innovative ways
to grow, harvest, make and sell an increasingly diverse array of farm
products. In addition to more traditional farm products, today’s
Connecticut farmer might provide consumers with
organic produce, gourmet vegetables, wine, cheese, grass-fed lamb or
With an affluent
population eager for local product and easy access to New York and
Boston, state farmers have the opportunity to develop and serve a huge
consumer base. Another bright spot is the growth of agri-tourism to
wineries, pick-your-own farms and farmers' markets.
nature of farming and the beautiful landscapes will infuse WORKING THE
LAND with visual material that ranges from charming to spectacular.
Archival photographs and film footage will be combined with newly shot
material to help bring the story to life.
The program will be produced, written and directed by
executive producer and principal at SimonPure Productions in East Haddam. Simon’s
previous historical documentaries have won three Emmy Awards and 17
WORKING THE LAND will premiere this
It is the latest program in The Connecticut Experience documentary
series, a collaboration of Connecticut Public Television and Connecticut
Humanities Council that explores themes, events and personalities from
Click here for a
sneak preview at www.workingtheland.com