Docs & Dialogue | “Farmsteaders” | Shaena Mallett

Guggenheim Performance Hall | Thursday, January 23 | 7pm

“Farmsteaders” is a love story, a farm story and a story of contemporary rural America. Nick Nolan, his wife Celeste and their young family are on a journey to resurrect his grandfather’s dairy farm – fighting to keep this homeland from “drying up and blowing away,” something that has happened to about 4.7 million farms in the U.S. as the pressures of corporate-driven food have left deep scars in the region.

“People don’t really understand the beauty of life if they don’t understand the tragic side of it,” Nick says. “Everything beautiful is created out of pain.” Nick and Celeste’s meditations on life, legacy, and resistance offer an unexpected voice at a time when the country is so deeply divided. With much of the current rift falling along demographic lines, there is a deepening discussion about the rural white American. And yet here they stand in contrast to all of our expectations – heroic, benign, accessible.

“Farmsteaders” points an honest and tender lens at the beauty and hardship of everyday life, as the Nolans work to balance their fears and hopes with so much at stake. For the Nolans only three things remain certain: family is everything, nothing ever stays the same, and the land holds it all together. 

This event is a collaboration with the award-winning documentary series POV (

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A boy on a farm holding a chicken with his father behind him.
Click to watch the trailer