Two years after the initial idea for collaborating on a film about local farms and the local food movement, Maine Farmland Trust and Seedlight Pictures, both based in Maine, will premiere three Growing Local films Sunday, Sept. 28, at 5 p.m. at the Strand Theatre, 345 Main St., as part of the Camden International Film Festival.

The stories of Growing Local make clear that while the “buy local” movement is on the rise, small farms and access to locally produced food is not a sure thing.

“While many are aware of the challenges faced by small farmers today, these three short films weave together the interconnectedness of farms, community and health in a unique and innovative way. They make us think about our values, about things we may take for granted, and, most importantly, what we can do to effect positive change,” said John Piotti, President and CEO of Maine Farmland Trust.

Projects like this one, combining the realities of farming with the storytelling capabilities of art, increase understanding about the challenges Maine farmers face today, said Ted Quaday, executive director of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association.

“Helping people understand those realities will go a long way toward ensuring continued growth in the local, organic food movement," said Quaday.

Seedlight Pictures has worked with Maine Farmland Trust on several projects prior to this one, said Bridget Besaw, principal of Seedlight Pictures and director of “Growing Local.”

“What makes this collaboration, and these films, so unique is the dynamic discussions that went on in deciding how to tell these stories, which we believe have something to offer as art, but also as a medium to educate the public about the issues facing the local food movement today,” Besaw said.

The CIFF premiere will be followed by a panel discussion titled Taking Local Food to the Next Level, moderated by Piotti with panelists Amanda Beal, Sustainable Food Systems Research & Policy Consultant; Bonnie Rukin of Slow Money Maine; and Quaday.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.