Share This Page

Marshall woman to be featured in 'Farmland' film

| Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Submitted
Margaret Schlass, 29, of Marshall, founder of One Woman Farm, grows more than 50 kinds of vegetables on leased land in Richland and Pine. She is the only woman among five farmers and ranchers, all in their 20s, featured in “Farmland,” a new movie slated for national release in May.
Submitted
Margaret Schlass, 29, bought this International tractor this past winter at an equipment auction.

An enterprising young woman is to be featured in “Farmland,” a new movie set for national release in May.

The 77-minute documentary explores the lives of six farmers and ranchers, all in their 20s, including one woman — Margaret Schlass, 29, of Marshall.

Oscar and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker James Moll directed “Farmland” with funding from the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance. The first screening near Pittsburgh is set for 7 p.m. May 1 at the Regal Harris Stadium 14 movie complex in Harrisburg, Dauphin County.

Schlass, founder of One Woman Farm, grows more than 50 kinds of vegetables on leased land, including 5 acres on Valencia Road in Richland.

Her crops include kale, eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, onions and a lot of salad greens,

“If you're interested in fresh vegetables that are naturally grown, she does an excellent job,” said Donna Snyder, who owns the five acres that Schlass leases on Valencia Road.

Last July, Moll's crew spent five days filming and talking with Schlass.

“We were in the middle of production, so they got planting, harvesting, selling, going to market, doing our deliveries,” Schlass said.

“They slowed me down so much,” said Schlass, who also got a coat of uncustomary makeup for the high-definition cameras.

“I looked like I stepped out of a coffin,” she said. “I had so much makeup on.”

But Schlass likes that “Farmland” shows her as “a young person in the community, trying to do something good …. and trying to build something from the ground up, that positively impacts the community,” she said.

“That's why I did the film, so that people could see a first-generation farmer farming, and how hard it is, and all the struggles that they have to endure,” said Schlass, who markets certified naturally grown vegetables.

“Farmland” features five other food producers: Leighton Cooley, a fourth-generation Georgia poultry farmer; Brad Bellah, a sixth-generation cattle rancher with operations in Colorado and Texas; David Loberg, a fifth-generation Nebraska corn and soybean grower; Sutton Morgan, a fourth-generation California vegetable grower; and Ryan Veldhuizen, a fourth-generation Minnesota hog farmer.

Schlass, a University of Delaware graduate, studied art history and anthropology before she traveled to South America to study Amazonian flood-plain farmers in Peru and then got hooked on agriculture.

Schlass worked for a Zelienople grower before she set up her own business.

“Every year we're expanding,” said Schlass, who now leases land in Richland, Pine and Middlesex Township in Butler County.

Schlass, a 2003 graduate of Bethel Park High School, is the daughter of Farley and Greg Schlass of Marshall.

“I am so proud of her,” her mother said.

Schlass, who has four employees, annually sells her produce at farm markets in Pittsburgh's East Liberty neighborhood and Market Square in downtown Pittsburgh.

People also can buy the produce as members of the One Woman Farm Community Supported Agriculture Market.

Memberships cost $325 or $550 and entitle members to pick up vegetables on a weekly or biweekly basis, for 23 weeks, beginning in June, at multiple Pittsburgh-area sites, including St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Hampton and Glenshaw Valley Presbyterian Church in Shaler.

For information, visit One Woman Farm online at www.onewomanfarm.com.

Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or ddeasy@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.