The contrasting and converging landscapes of rural and urban Illinois provide the setting for a new movement of people reconnecting to their food. No longer able to rely on the presence of national grocery chains and distributors to bring fresh, healthy items into their “food desert” communities, residents of Grand Crossing on Chicago’s South Side and down state’s Bureau Valley begin collectively solving the problem through a new agrarianism. GROW turns a lens to activists, Chicago Public School students, single mothers, farmers and legislators helping to shape the developing regional food system by becoming urban rooftop growers, first generation farmers and public policy champions.

For 24 months GROW has documented the movement to create local farm and food networks in Chicago, Illinois, and across the nation for the feature film GROW. The film’s narrative follows several characters and examines the impacts of food, economics, and personal choices that impact the health and resiliency of their communities. GROW documents cooperation and information sharing across geographic and ethnic lines required to create policy change at state and national levels that supports local efforts.

GROW documents urban and rural communities learning to cooperate and collectivizing their vision to grow food locally. Local food bridges ethnic and economic divides, increases community involvement, creates youth training, and revitalizes local economies.

For more information:
Director: Sarah Carlson 817-522-8313

Grow, the movie: Now on Facebook and Twitter!

Producer/Director Bio

Sarah Ann Carlson received her BA in English and a BS in Production at Film Production at the University of Texas at Austin. As an undergraduate, she began Editing for Emmy award winning Cinematographer Nancy Schiesari on her narrative short, “Loaves and Fishes,” which played at several film festivals around the country and aired on PBS’s The Territory. She also edited and assistant edited Schiesari’s feature length Documentary, Hansel Mieth Vagabond Photographer on one of the pioneering women photojournalists of Time Magazine, Hansel Mieth, whose legacy was largely forgotten after she was later blacklisted during the McCarthy era. Hansel Mieth aired on PBS’s POV. Sarah also worked as a Associate Producer, Camera Operator, and Show Editor at AMN Ch15, documenting the Austin Music community at the Austin Music Network. Shortly thereafter, Sarah directed and edited the four part Teaching With Technology video series for the State of Idaho. Sponsored by the Albertson’s foundation, the series utilized documentary examples to train teachers in state of Idaho on the incorporation of technology into their curriculum.

In May 2006, Sarah traveled with a group of visiting Artists to do a Video Installation on the side of the war-torn Hotel Europa for the Sarajevo Winter Festival. In 2007 Sarah Carlson’s Dramatic short “Chicken” was accepted into competition at the LA Shorts Fest. Sarah Carlson received her MFA in Directing Film and Video from Northwestern University where she received several Fellowships, and has taught video, audio and film production. In 2009 Sarah founded an outreach organization, Grow Awareness Media. She currently lives in Chicago where she freelances as an Editor and video Producer producing content for the history channel, commercial broadcast, nonprofits, and the web.


sarah carlson

10 Responses to “TRAILER”

  1. Thomas Grant said

    Watched the Trailer and thought it was very well done and inspiring. Kudos to Sarah.

    Thomas Grant – Illinois Local Farms, Food & Jobs Task Force Member

  2. Axel Erkensick said

    You’re on the right track, the masses are slowly catching on.

  3. Very cool–nice to see a locally produced film focusing on a subject that covers so many vital angles. Can’t wait to see the finished product!

  4. Sarah said

    Honored to be among one of the first crowds to see the entire film at Real Food Challenge. Thanks again! Very inspirational for other communities to “be the change they wish to see”. Would love to show this in Toledo!

    • Thanks Sarah, although we are working on the full length feature version– what you saw was kind of a “work in progress” but it seems a half hour version is a good length for uses like yours, huh? I really want to make your school screening happen so please stay in touch!

  5. gail tang said

    sarah! saw this through bike fancy!
    you should try to promote your film (and get some donations) at UIC’s weekly “Re-Thinking Soup”.
    i’m sure they’d love to have you speak!

  6. Thanks Gail! So kind of you to suggest this. Do you have any contacts with them? Perhaps you could make an introduction or a suggestion? I know those folks from a ways back but I feel it might be better coming from a community member making the suggestion. However, if you don’t have the time, I’ll try and reach out myself!


  7. Charles said

    Sarah, I met you at a CEED coalition meeting a while back…great to see this come to fruition! Congratulations!
    Charles Williams

  8. Cheryl said

    Congratulations, Sarah, on getting your movie finished. We met through Greg Bratton at a couple gardening events. I saw a few faces I recognized during the trailer. Sure hope I get a chance to watch the full movie.

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