John Chester is an Emmy award-winning filmmaker and television director. His recent short films for OWN’s Super Soul Sunday have won five Emmy Awards for outstanding directing, writing, and cinematography, among others.
Recent episodes featuring John Chester
Soil Is Everything: John & Molly Chester’s Biggest Little Farm
“This all started with a promise that we would leave the big city and build a life in perfect harmony with nature.”John ChesterBiodiversity. Regenerative agriculture. Ecological sustainability. Carbon drawdown. Climate change reversal.These are popular themes that recur regularly on this show. But in practical terms, what do they actually mean?I wanted to better understand these subjects. Not from the perspective of an academic, scientific researcher or political pundit but rather from the direct experience of actual practitioners — people who live and practice it every single day — farmers.Nine years ago, personal chef Molly Chester and her filmmaker husband John Chester traded their life in urban Santa Monica for 200 acres of infertile land nestled in the foothills of Ventura County — an arid and desolate plot called Apricot Lane Farms.Hence began a journey to build a new life from scratch. The vision? An organic, biodiverse farm based upon regenerative principles, thriving in harmony with nature. It began with repairing the draught-laden, nutrient deplete soil, followed by planting 10,000 orchard trees. Rooting over 200 crops. Introducing a myriad of animals. Managing the chaos that ensued. And patiently stewarding the farm from inert to irascible and ultimately into what it is today — an awe-inspiring symphonic ecosystem in vibrant, sustainable co-existence with nature’s rhythms.Along the way, John chronicled every daunting, obstacle-fraught step, plying his storytelling skills and masterful wildlife cinematography to produce The Biggest Little Farm — an extraordinary documentary that evidences the planet's innate power to heal itself in synchronous partnership with humans devoted to restoring its precious biodiversity. Uplifting and wildly entertaining, it dispenses with the dystopia common among ecological fare, instead leaving audiences uplifted — and in love with the hard-earned possibility of positive change.I was quite moved by this film. Compelled to know more, me and my team spent a day touring Apricot Lane — an educational and eye-opening experience that left me with a deep appreciation for the Chester’s achievement — and the nuanced complexity of their mission.In the wake of my visit to Apricot Lane, I posted images from the experience on Instagram, accompanied by an expression of gratitude and respect for manifesting what environmentalists unanimously urge mandatory to repair the rapidly vanishing biodiversity of our precious soil (literally the planet's microbiome). To sequester carbon and create sustainable food security. And to serve as a viable model for the future of farming.John and Molly didn't just protest climate change. They got to work, taking an action-based stand against the glyphosate-laden, chemical-based industrial, conglomerate owned, seed-controlled, GMO-infused, animal intensive CAFO factory farms that monopolize our current food system to the great demise of human, animal and ecological health.More than anything, Apricot Lane proves that regenerative farming isn't just possible, but profitable. And that it doesn't just work, but exceeds conventional methods by yield volume and nutritional density metrics. Meanwhile, it controverts planetary warming by drawing down carbon and building long-term, natural resilience against pestilence, drought and soil erosion without the products and practices ‘BigAg' wants you to believe are mandatory.Basically,
FM4 Interview with John Chester- Filmmaker, Farmer
They say that filmmaking is one of the hardest and most time consuming jobs in the world. But they say the same about farming. Well, spare a thought for John Chester, he bought some depleted land and, as a complete novice, tried to do the most ambitious form of farming there is: biodynamic farming. His film about his efforts The Biggest Little Farm is out in Austrian cinemas. Chris Cummins asked him how his farming adventure began.
Apricot Lane Farms Filmmaker: John Chester
John Chester is an Emmy Award Winning and favorite Oprah Winfrey Filmmaker who left Hollywood to pursue a dream.  He and his wife Molly have found that growing food, caring for animals and tending the soil can teach us much about life and what it takes to move forward. If we are willing to put in the work, the hard work in...the fruits of our labor will eventually produce results. John initially stepped out from behind the lens in 2011 when he and his family left the glitz and glamour of Hollywood to risk starting an organic and biodynamic farm north of LA.  They call their land Apricot Lane Farms, and if you recognize the name, it’s because John never did completely drop that camera of his...he is one of Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday’s chosen filmmakers and you will see why.  John has found and lives the lessons that abound at Apricot Lane and he is here to share some of them with us today...because farmers or not, we’re all growing something in our lives and hopefully all of our crops will come in.  
John Chester - Documentary Filmmaker & Organic Farmer
Talkupy with Annie Lindstrom welcomes John Chester, award-winning documentary filmmaker, director and showrunner to the show on Tuesday, June 19 at 12 p.m. Eastern Time. John broke new ground with his prime-time series, Random 1, on A&E. He directed and starred in the show, which ran from 2005 to 2006. Random 1 gave birth to the film Lost in Woonsocket, which John premiered to sold-out crowds at SXSW in 2007. The film, it's star and John continue to travel the country touching and changing lives everywhere it plays. When he's not showing Hollywood how it's done, John, his wife Molly and their dog Todd run a 130-acre biodynamic orchard and sheep farm in California. For more on John's creative artistry visit
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Aug 3rd, 1971
Moorpark, CA, USA
Episode Count
Podcast Count
Total Airtime
4 hours, 9 minutes