WDSC’s ‘Barefoot Farmer’ examines foot-to-table revolution

Shellie Turner
In Motion Staff Writer

A documentary recently produced by members of the Daytona State College faculty sheds light on a local business and sustainable farming while engaging and entertaining students.

“The Barefoot Farmer” tells the story of Paul Tomazin of Samsula and gives an intimate look at the inner workings of his business and how it touches the community in many ways.

The original idea for the documentary came from English professors Kathleen Lazarus, who recently retired, and Frank Gunshanan, who hope providing engaging content for their students will help their critical thinking skills flourish. The instructors brought the idea to the Center for Interactive Media staff members Kevin Lorden, Hector Valle and Jesse Guthrie.

“Kathleen Lazarus visits the farmers market regularly in Flagler and personally knows Paul Tomazin, who runs Barefoot Farms, so she thought it would be a great topic for us to cover in a documentary,” said Valle, who also teaches in the Interactive Media program.

But the production isn’t limited to the English department. The team also aims to spark interest among the Environmental Science, Nutrition and Business departments as well. Furthermore, “The Barefoot Farmer” is being featured on WDSC Channel 15. It’s been screened in conjunction with the student call-in show “Local Harvest: Eating Fresh” that airs weekly. Repeat screenings of “the Barefoot Farmer” are scheduled at 10 p.m. Thursday, April 6, and 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 25. “Local Harvest” airs Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. through the beginning of May.

Located in Samsula, Florida Barefoot Farms has been in business since 1915. Owner Paul Tomazin is a fourth-generation farmer and takes immense pride in both his work and the rich history behind the farm. The inspiration behind the name Barefoot Farms was from Paul’s great grandfather who both farmed and sold goods at local farmers’ markets while barefoot. Today, Tomazin and his crew all work in the fields barefoot, since it makes it easier to till the soil, plant and harvest crops. They sell their fresh produce at the Flagler Beach Farmers Market every Friday morning, among other locations.

Teamwork was key to bringing the documentary to fruition. The production team puts together over 300 instructional videos a year and this is the second documentary its produced. Each member of the team is well-versed in all aspects of media production, but each has a specialty and can use that strength to its fullest potential.

Paul Tomazin greets customers at the Farmer's Market in a scene from 'The Barefoot Farmer,' a documentary airing on WDSC-Channel 15.
Paul Tomazin greets customers at the Farmer’s Market in a scene from ‘The Barefoot Farmer,’ a documentary airing on WDSC-Channel 15.

“We all know how to do everything,” Guthrie said. “We all work together to get the best possible product that we can because we are stronger in different areas.”

What began as a documentary subject morphed into shining a light on farming and what farmers bring to their communities. In a world where produce from industrial farms dominate grocery stores, it presents a dilemma for local farmers.

“If people aren’t buying from local farms then it’s going to dry them out,” Guthrie explained. “Economically, as the whole world is concerned, it’s going to make fresh food less and less common.”

Producing the documentary proved to be more of a learning experience than they originally anticipated. Valle, the father of two young boys, has fresh produce delivered to his home weekly and Guthrie frequents farmers’ markets regularly. Both were struck by Barefoot Farms’ positive impact on their customers and the area farm-to-table movement. The 4-star rated Cress restaurant in DeLand, for example, has bought its produce from Tomazin since opening. The restaurant owners credit Barefoot Farms with contributing to Cress’ national reputation for culinary excellence.

“Everyone is talking organic, but after spending this past year with the Tomazin’s, what everyone should be asking is how fresh the produce is,” Valle said. “The fresher the better.”

Anyone who wants to see the documentary can also view it on YouTube at YouTube Link

“The Barefoot Farmer” — Writer, Producer, Director, Kevin Lorden; Executive Producer, Hector Valle; Production Manager, April Brunning; Director of Photography, Derek Sanford; and Audio Production, Jesse Guthrie.