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Young calves and cows on the field


 A Documentary Film Screening and Panel Discussion

For Students at The Culinary Institute of America


Pictures from the Event



       Hosted By:                                               the first season resized

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 About the film:


The First Season
The First Season is a documentary directed by Rudd Simmons, producer of compelling Hollywood films such as Dead Man Walking and The Road.  As Simmons’ directorial debut, The First Season tells the story of the struggles of Paul and Phyllis VanAmburgh, an upstate New York couple who exit their professions to start up a dairy farm. The film’s ‘cinema verite’ style allows an intimate view of the couple as they learn how to milk cows while caring for their young children, coming together in the evenings to face down monumental financial stress at a kitchen table piled with overdue bills.

Buy the film online:

The First Season in the news:

Interview with Director Rudd Simmons:

Rudd Simmons, Director, The First Season,producer of Hollywood films including Deadman Walking, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Road.

Panelists include:

  • Fabulous Beekman Boys Josh Kilmer Purcell & Brent Ridge, Beekman 1802, producers of goat’s milk, cheese and soap
  • Paul & Phyllis Van Amburgh, Dharma Lea Farm –the organic, grass-fed dairy farm featured in the film
  • Stuart Ziehm, Tiashoke Farms, a family-run dairy farm milking 500+ cows
  • David Haight, New York State Director, American Farmland Trust (moderator)

Monday, March 31, 2014
2:00 Screening of The First Season
3:40 Panel Discussion: New York’s Diverse Dairy Farmers Finding Common Ground
Following the Panel Discussion:  Beekman 1802 Booksigning
0000000 –with Fabulous Beekman Boys Josh Kilmer Purcell and Brent Ridge
0000000books available for purchase

Ecolab Auditorium
The Marriott Pavilion
The Culinary Institute of America
1946 Campus Drive, Hyde Park, New York

Why?- Because the future chefs of America care about the farmers that produce our food and the challenges they face.


Beatrice Berle, Berle Farm, Renssealer County resized CIA-students resized brian and seth resized

Farmers and chefs have a lot in common. Farmers grow food. Chefs prepare food. They both work long, hard hours and get tired. They are vital links in our food chain and need to learn from each other and stick together. American Farmland Trust, the Fabulous Beekman Boys and the CIA decided to host a special screening of The First Season, a powerful documentary film about dairy farming to encourage a dialogue about dairy farms between culinary students and a special panel of dairy farmers, niche cheese producers and distributors of dairy products about the future of dairy farms in New York and the role of farmland conservation in protecting the land necessary for the success of the dairy industry.

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