Barbara H. Peterson

Farm Wars

For years we at Farm Wars have dug in and fought to take our message of family farming independence and survival to as many people as would listen. I am happy to announce that an opportunity to extend this message to a wider audience came when Darcy Dennett contacted me about filming an episode of Our America with Lisa Ling. This was to be a short documentary about surviving the middle class crash. Well, that’s right up our alley here at the ranch! So, hello mainstream media – ready or not, here we come!

Initial Contact

There I was, minding my own business, tending to the critters – both on the ranch and on Farm Wars the website, when it came. Quite frankly, I was taken by surprise. I was totally unprepared for what was about to transpire. But I digress…

It came in the form of an email. Yes, a simple email. This email looked no different than the rest, with nothing to distinguish itself other than an outrageous claim that it was from one of the producers of Our America with Lisa Ling, airing on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). Yeah, right. But I got curious and checked it out the next day. When I say checked it out, I mean CHECKED IT OUT. Let’s just say I don’t like scams, and have a tendency to route them out. Well, it turns out this wasn’t a scam. This was the real deal, so I responded. The producer, Darcy, and I started talking back and forth, and before long, arranged a time for the crew to come by the ranch and shoot an episode titled Lost American Dream.

Yes folks, the Our America crew was coming to Farm Wars to film us in our natural habitat. Then the fun began…


What do you do when you know that a film crew is coming to your home for two days? Clean, baby, clean. All of a sudden, every speck of dirt and every bad habit becomes glaringly apparent. So, with a month to go, the madness began. Cobwebs – check; windows – check; kitchen – check; bathroom – check; cat litter box – check; oven – check; and on it went. At a time like this, it is best to leave me alone as I morph into the steamroller that I become when it comes to getting a job done. Simply put, those around me know to just get out of my way or run the risk of getting run over.

After the proverbial dust settled and everyone decided it was safe to emerge from their hidey holes, Tink and I talked about the show and how we would handle the situation. We figured that if they couldn’t handle us raw, uncensored and natural, then so be it. We were ready.

The Shoot

The big day was here, and I think that I got at least two hours of sleep the night before. Tink was snoring, so I assume that he was asleep, but that’s another story. The pressing questions of the day as we peered down the driveway watching the two vehicles approach the house were – what would these people look like and most importantly, what would they be like? As it turns out, they were regular people! Imagine that! Seriously, I’ve got to say that the crew was nothing like I expected. What did I expect? Maybe a little snootiness, or insincerity, or both. What I got was neither. Whew! Nice people with a wealth of knowledge and extremely professional. This was going to be fun.

Darcy, Erin, Lisa, Marcus, Spence and Lynn are their names, and film is their game. We talked, we laughed, and then we got to work and talked and laughed some more. A day in the life at Farm Wars. Chores don’t stop just because you have company.

Lisa Ling

The crew met Henry Lowrider, Reba the Angora goat, the horses, and all of the chickens and geese. We drove to town and shopped at Sherm’s, the locally-owned family market, and I got our monthly groceries. Let me tell you, you’ve never shopped until you’ve had Marcus the camera guy hopping down the aisle next to you filming your every move, with Spence the sound guy’s microphone clipped to your collar, Darcy asking you questions, and Erin running interference with store personnel. I don’t think Sherm’s or I will ever be the same.

Whew, It’s Over! Now What?

By the time we were done with chores and shopping, the crew had a glimpse of just how we survive here at the ranch and remain healthy on a limited budget, so we said our farewells. I won’t say goodbye because as long as someone remains in your heart and mind, it is never goodbye, simply farewell until we meet again. Life goes on, and somewhere, someone will gain something from our experience, bringing us together once again in that person’s heart and mind.

The Crew

Tink and I agreed to do this program in order to instill a message of hope. You can and will survive when things take a turn for the worse, and it is up to you to make the decision to do so. Learn how to cut debt, get rid of things you do not need and stock up on essentials. Dig in and learn to grow your own food and care for your own animals. The time may come, sooner or later, when these skills just might be the key to whether or not you and your children will be healthy and strong, or weak and defenseless against the elements and economic forces that are ravaging this once comfortable nation. Start preparing now – don’t wait until the last minute.

Watch the Lost American Dream segment of Our America with Lisa Ling, July 24 at 9 Central Time on the OWN network and make the most important decision of your life – to dig in and survive.

The Lost American Dream

In the wake of the Great Recession, America’s middle class emerges as the face of the new poverty. Lisa Ling travels the country to meet those forced by the aftershocks of the economic crisis to downsize their lives and reassess the American Dream.

Tune in Tuesday, July 24th at 10/9c for this all new episode of Our America on “The Lost American Dream.”

Update: Here is a short clip that was filmed at the ranch for the episode:

Lost American Dream – Farm Wars

About the Crew

Lisa Ling 

As the field correspondent for The Oprah Winfrey Show and contributor to ABC News’ Nightline and National Geographic’s Explorer, Lisa Ling has reported from dozens of countries, covering stories about gang rape in the Congo, bride burning in India and the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, among other issues that are too often ignored.

Darcy Dennett

Fireflyfilmworks was founded by Director/Producer/Writer Darcy Dennett in 2004. Dennett has worked in film and television since 1992, on a wide variety of projects ranging from commercial and corporate work, to documentary and reality television for networks including National Geographic, Discovery, OWN, A&E , Oxygen, and HBO.

Erin Crumpacker

Erin first met the part2 crew at the Sundance Film Film Festival and soon after began working with the team as an associate producer on Hard Time and Our America with Lisa Ling. With a background in journalism and photography, she has worked on various documentary television series for National Geographic and the Discovery Channel, but most recently produced the Sundance-selected HBO feature documentary Hot Coffee, a film revealing how corporate America has restricted access to the civil justice system.  She is an advocate of the power of film to educate and encourage awareness, and is currently working on another hour of Our America with Lisa Ling.    

Marcus Burnett

Cameraman extraordinaire!

Spence Palermo

Spence Palermo of Location Sound Oregon has been providing pristine production sound throughout the world since 1987. With production experience on five continents on projects ranging from feature films to our specialty, wilderness documentaries, Spence brings a great attitude, honed ear and all the gear to your production. Clients have included National Geographic, PBS, Discovery Channel and a host of other satisfied producers, directors and clients.

©2012 Barbara H. Peterson

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6 Responses to “The Day ‘Our America with Lisa Ling’ Came to Farm Wars…”

  1. Lisa says:

    It was a great show! I havent even met you, but now it feels like I have via the TV! Great job talking about self suffiencieny!

  2. warbaby says:

    I am so happy for ya.

  3. amicus curiae says:

    Good onya barb!
    20 years this year No TV..
    and I am in the wrong country for watching anyway..
    can we have a link to watch this when they make it available online, please.

  4. I don’t have TV either! Hopefully someone will record it for me ;)

  5. Sally_Oh says:

    Cool. Can’t wait. Well, I’ll have to wait until it’s available online since I don’t have TV!

  6. Lisa says:

    HOORAY!! Way to go Barbara! Im so excited, I am deinately going to watch this!