Peanut Butter Film In The Works
By Dallas Duncan
When Joseph Barnhart decided to become a filmmaker, he was told to work with what he had.
What he had was agriculture.
“In 2010, when peanuts were upwards of $1,000 per ton, I rather randomly started filming the planting of peanuts that year. After that, I realized there was no full-length feature film on peanuts,” Augusta-area native Barnhart said. “There are segments that briefly cover the whole thing, but no original full-length film … so I figured why not me go ahead and do the first one.”
His documentary, “Growing Peanut Butter,” is almost completely filmed and even has a musical score. Barnhart is trying to fundraise to finish the project online via Kickstarter, a website where individuals pledge to support projects, and if they get fully funded, they donate.
Filming took him all over the state, and much of the footage has been gathered. He spent time at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture in Tifton, on farms and at his own family farm, where his father sometimes grows peanuts.
“I want it to be about educating people about all the little things that go about bringing food to your table. It will cover ancient history, modern history, planting, all the little things that I can squeeze in,” Barnhart said. “It’s all about growing your food and growing peanut butter.”
Kevin Calhoun, peanut procurement manager for Birdsong Peanuts in Colquitt, Ga., said Georgia’s the center of the peanut industry, and it’s one of the largest industries in the state.
“It provides a lot of revenue to the state of Georgia. Also, it’s just a good, wholesome product that is helpful for everybody,” he said.
Those are some facts Gerald Long, owner of Long’s Produce in Bainbridge, Ga., hopes are covered in the documentary. Long has grown multiple acres of peanuts since 1973.
“Being a farmer, we have to have a lot of faith and trust in God, but to go out and put one little old seed in the ground and expect it to create a bountiful crop, that’s a miracle in itself,” Long said. “There’s so many Georgians now that are so far removed from the farm that we tend to … lose sight of where it came from and what it took to get it on the grocery shelf. … All the way from the actual planting of that peanut seed in the spring all the way until it gets on the shelf for the consumer, there’s a lot of hands that handle it, but also a lot of thought going into it as far as food safety and the quality of product we’re providing.”
“My end goal would be to try to get it on some networks like Amazon, Netflix, PBS, Discovery, the ones that have that sort of content on a regular basis,” he said. “It is an interesting topic and people like knowing about such things and it does affect them.”
Augusta-area filmmaker Joseph Barnhart shoots footage for his documentary, “Growing Peanut Butter,” on a Georgia peanut farm. Photo courtesy Joseph Barnhart