Big Environmental Issues Found in NJ’s ‘Sourlands’

Filmmaker looks at farming, sustainability in Garden State in new documentary

The Garden State is the focus of a new documentary film exploring top environmental issues, according to WHYY NewsWorks, an NJ Spotlight partner. In fact, one Central Jersey forest provides all the muse filmmaker Jared Flesher needed to tell his story in “Sourlands.”

“All the big issues I’m interested in telling stories about, including global warming, renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, and massive species extinction, are all represented in and around this one last forest in Central Jersey called the Sourlands,” Flesher said. “So rather than plan to make a voyage to Antarctica or something, I took out my camera and started shooting.”

There are efforts to preserve this slice of New Jersey, according to the story by Ilene Dube of The Artful Blogger, a preview of the film that will be screened at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at the Princeton Public Library as a special summer event of the Princeton Environmental Film Festival.

What inspired Flesher to make the film were the people “fighting hard to make their small corner of the world a better, more sustainable place.” But it’s not easy. In the forest, deer are eating native plants. And as the food and shelter for native fauna becomes endangered, so does the population of native wildlife.

In a state with some of the most expensive farmland in the country, as well as the highest property taxes, “another part of the documentary follows the exploits of a few young organic farmers who are farming on land just outside the forest,” Flesher said. “They were hammered this year by extreme weather.”