Occurs on Tuesday July 16 2019

Approximate running time: 2 hours


The Port Theatre
125 Front St
Nanaimo BC V9R 6Z4

Performance Notes

× Community grows here.

Five Acres is a documentary film that explores the past and present of farming in Harewood, a Nanaimo neighbourhood once more commonly called Five Acres.

“The story of Samuel Robins and the history of Five Acres is not well known,” said co-director and local Member of Parliament Paul Manly. In 1884 Robins, the superintendent of the Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Company, subdivided a large tract of land into five-acre lots and created BC’s first planned agricultural community. “Most people know about the Dunsmuirs but Robins’ legacy to Nanaimo is actually far more significant,” Manly added.

The film follows Five Acre’s long history of food production into today, as a dedicated group of people works one of the last remaining five-acre parcels, promoting inclusion, resilience, and local food. But the farm’s future is uncertain, and becomes more so with every new housing development that springs up around it.

The Nanaimo-based filmmaking team behind Five Acres was awarded a $50,000 grant via the TELUS Storyhive program last year. Research for the film included the work of local historians, stories shared by elders of the Snuneymuxw First Nation, and the farmers, educators and volunteers who use the land today.

“The things that stood out for me about the film is that it captures a little bit of many aspects of the farm,” said Jen Cody, executive director at Nanaimo Foodshare, the non-profit organization that runs most of the programs at the farm. “There’s a historical piece for the people who are all about that, there’s an environmental piece, there’s a strong social component, there’s empowerment, there’s employability and local food, and there’s research, community engagement and partnership. All those pieces came through. It was really well-balanced with the fact that there’s also a colonial history in the community and the only reason that piece of property is even set aside is completely connected to that.”

This complex picture of the past and present made the film a rich and detailed project to work on, said co-director Laurie MacMillan. “One of the biggest challenges in editing the film was capturing the scope of Nanaimo Foodshare’s work on the Five Acre Farm,” she said. “They transformed a fallow field into a vibrant community space, and so many people have benefitted from that.”

This premiere screening is a fundraiser for the Nanaimo Foodshare Society. A short documentary about Loaves & Fishes Community Food Bank, produced by seniors participating in FoodShare’s Cameras Creating Community project, will also be presented

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