The Barber Farm has stood in the town of Jericho longer than the United States has been a country — its soil was first turned in 1774 — but were it not for a chance meeting about six years ago at a film festival, the farm might have vanished into memory.
The connection happened in Burlington at the Vermont International Film Festival, a rights-and-causes event that had booked a low-budget documentary called “The Barber Farm” (locals often use “the” when describing the place). The movie had been made by Gretchen Siegchrist, 33, then a film student whose family had deep ties to the land going back to the 1940s. Part homage, part cry for help, Siegchrist’s film outlined the rich history of the farm as well as its current dilemma: It was an exceptional piece of Vermont farmland, but for almost two decades it had lain fallow. With no one willing to farm it commercially, time was running out.