“As a child, one has that magical capacity to move among the many eras of the earth; to see the land as an animal does; to experience the sky from the perspective of a flower or a bee; to feel the earth quiver and breathe beneath us; to know a hundred different smells of mud and listen unself- consciously to the soughing of the trees.” -Valerie Andrews
Over Grow the System & Films For Action present Free Range Child: A documentary and media project that examines the connection between a child’s development and her or his connection to the natural world and to food production. It celebrates the lives of families and their support networks, both rural and urban, who are engaged in linking children with nature, and savours the bounty of precious moments of discovery, magic and growth that spring forth from these connections.
Partnering with children, parents, farmers, and professionals, we seek to better understand the contemporary circumstances that create alienation between children and the natural environment and the effects of this disconnect on their development. Conversely we’ll also examine the discourse and examples surrounding the raising of our children with access and engagement to natural and agricultural environments and how they are affected. We hope to learn how technology interacts or interferes with these connections and most significantly, what children, themselves, can teach us about the natural world and their place in it.
“Our Children no longer learn how to read the great book of Nature from their own direct experience, or how to interact creatively with the seasonal transformations of the planet. They seldom learn where their water come from or where it goes. We no longer coordinate our human celebration with the great liturgy of the heavens.” -Wendell Berry
Syd Woodward is a west-coast based artist, specializing in media production and curation. He is also a photographer, filmmaker, and blogger and the founder of Over Grow the System, an online nexus for sustainability activism . His work is committed to deepening our relationships with and roles in building a greener future. Free Range Child is inspired by the wild and young people he picks blueberries with, and by those small ones he wanders through the trees with. As part of an on-going exploration of contemporary agricultural and remote communities, the time spent with children in these places fuels and renews Syd’s hope for the future and it is his goal to galvanize that hopeful spirit in the rest of us.
With Over Grow They System as his platform, Syd will dive into this topic through film, photography and text, with the aim of producing a feature film by 2016.