Jen and Pete Salinetti, college-educated parents, now run a small vegetable farm. Shirley Edgerton, a community activist in Pittsfield (the largest city in the Berkshires) join the three veterans in sharing their stories, some of which braid together.
The movie, directed by Pamela Tanner Boll, examines how to find happiness in today’s world, and how to be a connected individual in a disconnected, rampantly materialistic society.
Experts including nationally known figures like environmental activist Bill McKibben (founder of 350.org), communitarian Susan Witt (director of the E.F. Schumacher Institute), and futurist Jeremy Rifkin lend commentary, as do several lesser-known professionals such as Stephen Cope, director of the Institute for Extraordinary Living at Kripalu (a yoga center in the Berkshires; positive psychology researcher Dacher Keltner, quoted extensively; and Kristin Neff, an expert on self-compassion.
The movie is upbeat about people’s ability to change their own lives and improve the communities where they live, but without being saccharine or Polyanna-ish. It includes some difficult moments, like vegetarian Jen Salinetti grappling with her feelings as she watches Stanton slaughter chickens.
For me, the most powerful sequences follow the Salinettis to Rwanda, where they help local farmers learn better composting techniques and are clearly deepened by the experience of living and working in that very different community. I also really enjoyed the arts-based transformative experience of the inner-city kids Edgerton and her grown daughter work with, and the chance conversation she has with Stanton when she visits his stall at a local farmers market.
This article was originally published on Business for a Better World: