Film ID: NEFA 8850 ABOUT BRITAIN: AGAINST THE ODDS THE LAND CAN PROVIDE 1986 Visitor TabsDescription A Tyne Tees Television production as part of the About Britain series looking at the farming community at Botton Village, near Whitby in the North York Moors, run by the Camphill Village Trust. The film follows a number of workers and farms who featuring its residents and co-workers, community inhabitants and working practices. The film begins with a man churning fertilizer in a barrel. The film cuts to a man walking across a field spraying the fertilizer. The film changes again to show three Botton residents walking a cow into a farmyard. In a field a man is interviewed and says that a farm has more to offer than scenic beauty and food produce. General view across a field shows cows looking down towards the Botton community. The film cuts to a view of Botton Hall followed by a modern house. In a farmyard Ian Cummins speaks with a group of co-workers about the following days task. Inside a cow shed co-worker Philip Barker cleans the udders of a cow before milking. The film cuts to him removing the milking machine from the udders and then weighing a churn on a set of scales hanging down from the ceiling. He marks the results on a chalk board. Outside the shed another co-worker Martin Holmes moves a churn onto the back of a tractor watched over by house-parent Paul Martin. Martin stands back as Paul ties the churn down with rope. Martin gets onto the tractor and drives through the farmyard. The film cuts to him arriving at the Cheesery where a woman speaks with Martin about his delivery. Inside the cheesery a man moves a fork up and down to cut the curd. Inside a storeroom a woman cleans a number of round cheeses with a cloth. On the shelves around her other cheeses are maturing. In another room two co-workers also clean and place linen around a number of cheeses. The film cuts to show views of another farm recently purchased by the Camphill Village Trust. There are views of a new creamery under construction with steel beams in place and various building materials laid out around. Interview with a woman about the problems of the new government quotas and the affect they are having for the village. In a field a number of co-workers dig over a large vegetable garden in readiness for planting. They use forks to dig up large thistles. Interview with a man who says they are about a month behind with their planting. From a wheelbarrow a man forks over manure which will help fertilise the ground. Beside the farm a man herds a flock of sheep over a hill and through a field gate. General view of a farmyard with a man walking through a paddock where there is a cow and her calf. On a hillside a man feeds a number of chickens beside a coop. The film cuts to three interviews, two men and one woman, all who live in the community. They talk about the work they do on the farm, what they get out of it and a little about how they came to Botton. A man herd cows through a field and then along a lane. In field are a number of goats. One goat eats nettles and two are seen banging their heads together. General views follow looking down into the valley showing the various fields and farms in the distance. In an orchard the farmers hold their weekly ‘Farmers Lunch’. They talk about the work they are doing now and in the coming week. In a field a backhoe loader digs a trench to help drain the field of heavy clay. In the trench a man feeds a cable into the earth helped by two men above. Stones are seen being unloaded from the back of a tractor before it is driven away. The tractor drives through another field where a number of workers use hoes to till the ground. The film cuts to show views of other workers picking peas. The film cuts to a man pushing a wheelbarrow full of animal manure. He dumps the waste onto a larger pile and other workers use forks to distribute and turn it. Inside a shed a man uses a long wooden stick attached to the roof to stir a ‘special preparation’ of matured cow manure and water in a large wooden barrel. Interview with farmer about being a ‘bio dynamic’ farmer. The liquid is poured into a backpack sprayer. Out in the field four workers walk across a field spraying the ground with the liquid. The film cuts to a large room in which stand a number of workers in two lines. Each of them is holding a stick. One group of five walks forward and hands their colleague his stick before stepping back accompanied by man on a piano. Interview with a woman about this form of exercise called Eurhythmy which helps many of the workers with their co-ordination and rhythm. In a circle one worker approaches another with a stick and passes it to them. They then pass it onto another. Outside three men lead cows along a lane into a farmyard. Inside the milking shed a Philip Barker prepares the cow for milking. Interview with one of the farmers about the importance of the manure produced by these cows. Out in a field there are views of a tractor cutting the grass in a meadow. A second tractor with a large wagon collects the silage which is transported into the farm yard. It is unloaded in the yard and the workers use forks to aerate the grass. A smaller tractor with a fork on the back is also used to help the process. From a metal watering can an oil is poured over the silage. In another field a tractor travels through a potato field. On the back is a device that flips the potatoes from the earth onto the surface. Workers follow behind filling buckets with potatoes. Interview with a farmer about bio dynamic farming and how success it has been for the community. The film ends on a montage of images beginning with workers digging over the vegetable garden. This is followed by the workers turning and preparing the silage in the farmyard. In the hall workers take part in Eurhythmy exercises followed by workers herding cattle along a lane. In the potato field potatoes are collected. The film ends on the tractor delivering milk to the farm. Context Cosmic forces and hard work on an organic farm By a mixture of bio-dynamics and patience, co-workers and disabled residents of Botton Village gain satisfaction in eking out a living. Focusing on the work of the Botton Camphill Village, this Tyne Tees documentary gives a fascinating insight into the ethos of the community, as it was in 1986, taking us into the heart of a deeply significant ongoing debate on the basic principles of care for those with special needs. In the manner in which it films and interviews the residents with special needs, it also highlights issues around the principles that documentaries of this type should adhere to. This documentary on the Botton Village community comes 13 years after a similar documentary they made in 1973, ‘Against the Odds the Land Can Provide’, and a year after Yorkshire TV’s 1985 film, ‘No Winners, No Losers’. It also makes for an interesting comparison with Phil Turner’s 2005 film of Botton, ‘The Strangest Village in Britain’ for Channel Four, which related quite differently to the residents with special needs. Botton Village continues to be at the centre of a dispute over the relationship of the co-workers to the learning disabled residents: a conflict between the principles of having giant extended families and integrated work versus supported living and personalisation.