St. Helena Island is a magical place on the South Carolina coastline. African Americans have farmed and fished here for centuries: first as plantation slaves, then as freedmen owning small subsistence operations. It’s now one of the last farming communities on the East Coast that hasn’t been swallowed up by development. But the Gullah / Geechee traditions here are in danger.
Can the residents pass their heritage on to another generation? Or will the pristine nature of the land and water be lost forever?
Filmmakers spent years on the island documenting landowners and fishermen. Along the way they explored issues like global agribusiness, conservation costs and apathy from the community. James Bradley owns one of the last local shrimp boat operations. His dock is on a beautiful waterfront, but he resists the temptation to sell. Sará and Bill Green care for 10 acres that has been in her family since Reconstruction. They eek out a living and start a program to teach farming and entrepreneurship to youth.
In the end, the residents show tenuous optimism about the future of the island. The answers involve blending traditional knowledge with modern techniques. Witty characters and stunning scenery transport viewers to one of America’s last hidden treasures.
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