California Farmer… ‘The New Endangered Species’

Ambitious filmmaker documents plight of the California Farmer from a new perspective

Simba Temba Hove grew up on a farm in the rural area of Zimbabwe in Africa. “[Farming] is all we did in my childhood. My father had ten kids, and all we did in the morning was wake up, go to the fields, work the fields the whole day and into the evening, and then go home. Everyday we did this, every day except Sundays. So, farming is very close to me. That’s all we did. I was in the rural area of Africa, so we were all subsistence farmers.”

Simba Temba Hove
Simba Temba Hove

Hove is intimately aquainted with droughts, having lived through the devastating 1982 drought in his country: “When the drought hits, there is nothing that you can do. There is no water system, and everyone is on their own. The drought hits your livestock, your fields, your plantations, your wells, your rivers, everything is gone.” Soon after, Hove came to America, went to college and became a registered nurse in the Bay Area.

When this epic drought hit California, Mr. Hove decided to combine his interest and experience with drought with his passion for filming. “The drought is the worst in a hundred years. If it were not the worst in a hundred years, I probably wouldn’t have filmed it…I want to see how the American farmer survives.”

He spoke to several farmers including Joel and Todd Allen and Vaughn Von Allman of Firebaugh in western Fresno County.  Also prominent in the film is Gayle Holman, public affairs representative for Westlands Water District in Fresno.

Simba Temba Hove, left, with those in Movie
Simba Temba Hove, left, with individuals featured in movie

Hove used these interviews to let African farmers compare their experiences: “I wanted to do a documentary like this one so I could show African farmers. When I first talked to Joel, my idea was to show this to African farmers so they could see what an American farmer’s life is like through the drought, and how he survives.”

Hove was shocked that California adheres environmental restrictions to save an endangered species of fish, the Delta Smelt, even in one of the worst draughts on record: “Honestly it would be unthinkable in Africa—to protect an endangered species when the draught is that bad. In Africa it is all about survival, it’s all about human survival.”

He kept thinking how this situation would play out in Africa, “Everyone would think you’re are crazy. Everyone would think you were out of your mind to think of protecting an endangered species like a fish.”

“California Farmer… ‘The New Endangered Species'” is a riveting and powerful documentary film that illustrates the challengers and the struggles faced by Central California Farmers and their communities.

Check back here to find a screening near you. To see a trailer of the film go to You Tube: