The Film “Common Ground” features the pioneers of the “Regenerative Agriculture Movement” who are avoiding Big Ag’s toxic and highly profitable seeds and sprays in order to produce nutritionally dense, nontoxic food that protects human health and the ecosystem of our planet.
“Kiss the Ground,” the prequel to “Common Ground,” reached over 1 billion people and inspired the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to put $20 billion toward soil health. Moms Across America’s Executive Director is interviewed in the hard-hitting sequel as a trailblazer with a deeply personal drive for the sustainable food movement.
According to Common Ground producers, Zen was included in the film because she is an unstoppable force in the food movement. Her dedication to fighting for a non toxic, nutrient-dense food supply for children and families across the country and around the globe has inspired millions to read food labels, make healthier food choices, and get involved in their communities.
Common Ground unveils the interplay of money, power, and politics behind our food system and why the resulting toxicity is completely unnecessary. Jonathan Lundgren, a former USDA scientist also interviewed in the film explained, “to be a successful scientist you need to get a lot of grants. And who has the largest pockets in the room? Agroindustry... This is science. This is the game. This is how it’s run.”
Common Ground, which made its debut at the Tribeca Film Festival, shows a path to transform our toxic and corrupt industrial agricultural food system into a healthy way of growing food—“Regenerative Agriculture.” This movement is the only way to return to food that sustains both nature and human health. And the message is critical.
“I was honored to be interviewed for Common Ground, because it exposes the corruption and the solutions for the food supply that will restore not only the soil, but health in America and beyond,” said Zen. The film’s narration is structured as a letter to our children’s generation with an urgent message to mend the broken systems that contribute to so much disease and so many disorders. As Bill Maher once said, “It’s the food,” and Common Ground tells the story of why that is so true and how the food supply became toxic.
Directed by eco-filmmaking pair, Josh Tickell and Rebecca Tickell, the new film features appearances and narration by notable talents, Laura Dern, Jason Momoa, Rosario Dawson, Woody Harrelson, and Donald Glover.
In one Jason-Momoa-narrated montage, viewers learn that, in simple terms, regenerative agriculture uses four practices: no-tillage, the use of cover crops, no chemicals, and planned grazing of herds of animals. livestock grazing in tight packs that are moved frequently is an essential part of regenerative agriculture. It not only makes the soil healthier, which makes the food healthier, but the meat that is created by grazing animals is nutrient dense in ways that “factory farmed” meat is not. It has the Omega 3 profile similar to wild fish, for example.
In a narrative that underscores the transformative potential of regenerative farming, the experiences of individuals like Roy Thompson come to the forefront. The film covers how Thompson, while battling Crohn's disease, embarked on a personal journey of healing through nutrition from the cultivation of a modest regenerative garden. Remarkably, his health began to rebound, with symptoms vanishing.
In another compelling interview, esteemed physician and author Mark Hyman underscored the profound impact of dietary choices, asserting, "The potency of what you discover at the end of your fork surpasses anything contained in a prescription vial. Food is, in essence, a form of medicine."
The lens of the filmmaking duo also transports us deep into the Chihuahua desert of Mexico where nearly 2 million acres are dedicated to the conscientious practice of regenerative grazing by local ranchers. Among these stewards of the land, Alejandro Carrillo, a charismatic Mexican rancher adorned with his iconic 10-gallon hat, emerges as a compelling guide.
Carrillo, through his vivid depiction, reveals the burgeoning biodiversity and rejuvenated soil health on his ranch, exemplified by the striking sight of lush grasses towering over 6 feet in height. This transformation not only serves as a stabilizing force for the local climate but also wields a discernible influence on the delicate water cycle, resulting in a marked increase in precipitation levels.
The overarching message of the film is profound: “Humanity has a choice to make. We can turn, go down the regenerative path, heal our soils, our rivers, our streams, our estuaries, heal communities, heal people, or we can continue down the path we are on, a path of degradation. More violent weather events, weather extremes, flooding, drought, food shortages, and health issues. We have a choice to make. Which path do we want to go on?”
Josh Tickell and Rebecca Tickell’s Director’s statement:
We wrote Common Ground as a love letter to our children. In a very real sense, the film is an urgent call to action and a plan for how we can save the future, heal our climate, and fix our broken food system – all through regenerative agriculture.
If fixing some of the world’s most vexing problems through a new way of farming seems a tall order, consider this: farming is the primary way we interact with planetary ecosystems. Taken together, farms and ranches represent the largest biome on planet Earth (approximately 10 billion acres globally). Because of its vast scale, agriculture is the key to unlocking so many of the issues we face as a species today.
COMMON GROUND represents our two-decade-long quest to learn how to rebuild our food and farming system in a way that stabilizes the climate, balances the checkbooks of farmers, rebuilds ecosystems, restores biodiversity, and creates an equitable and just food system that provides more food, and more nutritious food, for humanity. The film is filled with “Easter egg” type info points that we will build upon throughout the film’s distribution, from social media posts to policymaker toolkits to farmer training programs to celebrity talking points.
Our prior documentary Kiss the Ground, which was also about soil and regenerative agriculture, was slated to premiere as an Official Selection at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2020. Due to the pandemic, the festival did not take place as planned. Despite the pandemic, Kiss the Ground had a massive global impact.
Common Ground is currently in theaters. Will be released to Netflix at a future date..