The Garden Summer

What if you were invited to spend a summer in rural Arkansas living off the land? Would you go? Well, four suburbanites accepted Charleston resident Hailey Wist’s invitation to do just that. In the summer of 2010, the group of five lived in a small cabin with just four goals: grow their own food, zero waste, sell at farmer’s markets and donate to local food banks. They would eat whatever came within a 100-mile radius of their garden.

Their story was captured on film and “The Summer Garden” will premiere Wednesday night at the American Theater on King Street. A reception with complimentary farm cocktails, popcorn and green carpet photos begins at 7 p.m.; the film starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15.

The purpose of the film, according to the creators, is to inspire, not preach. This social experiment was a “fun flirtation with a rural way of life.”

“Simply put, the Western world has developed cultural habits of unhealthy consumption. The average consumer is enormously disconnected from the process of food production. The problem is evident. But grand, systematic transformations are driven by narrowly focused efforts and subtle shifts in lifestyle. Cultural transformation only happens when there are social incentives. Change must be inspired, not forced!”

Read more about the project and the people at

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