Common Ground: This Inspiring Documentary Shares the Future of Regenerative Farming
In the heart of the agricultural revolution, a quiet yet powerful movement is reshaping the landscape of farming – regenerative agriculture. This movement is brilliantly depicted in the new documentary, “Common Ground,” a must-see follow-up to the hit “Kiss the Ground,” which touched over a billion people globally. The film shines a spotlight on the benefits of regenerative farming, inspiring audiences as it sells out theaters and ignites conversations about the way we cultivate our food. The seed has been planted in rich, healthy, microbe dense soil and it is flourishing.
The award-winning filmmakers behind “Common Ground,” Josh and Rebecca Tickell, crafted the film as a love letter to their children. Together with executive producer Nikki Reed they’ve drawn together an all-star cast, passionate about taking part and penning a promise with their own love letter. The film features appearances and narration by Laura Dern, Jason Momoa, Rosario Dawson, Donald Glover, Ian Somerhalder, and Woody Harrelson, all deeply connected to a subject that resonates profoundly with them.
Rebecca Tickell believes that we are all ready for the commitment to roll up our sleeves and take action. “Common Ground” is more than a film; it’s a movement we can all take part in and it’s picking up speed, giving us hope and solutions to a broken food system.
“I think what people need to ask themselves is what is the legacy that we want to leave? What is the world that we want to build together?” noted Josh Tickell. “With 10 billion acres of arable land, from a basic, fundamental acres-to-humans ratio, we can grow way more food than 10 billion humans can ever eat. That’s what we’re talking about globally.” Rebecca states with confidence, “feed your community and that will feed the world.”
Soil is life.
Soil is life. It’s sacred, and this film will show you just that. The visuals are undeniable. When you see side by side what a regenerative farm looks like, teaming with life and biodiversity, and the stark contrast when it’s not. “I mean, that stops you in your tracks,” remarked Nikki Reed, a new mom for the second time. The film shows a well-rounded perspective covering various aspects and voices, including all types of farmers, ranchers, scientists, and whistleblowers, each telling their personal stories and showcasing their expertise to paint a comprehensive picture, much like a biodiverse farm itself. For instance, did you know that 85% of farmers farm on small-scale farms of less than 500 acres? That’s why small farms can play a big role in healing the soil.
Regenerate: to give new life to, revive, especially in a better form or condition.
At a time when there is so much divide, “Common Ground” brings us together, as it masterfully explores how regenerative practices can restore and enhance the health of the soil, which in turn revitalizes ecosystems and creates biodiversity, while balancing the climate as it promotes resilience of agricultural systems in the face of extreme weather events.
Regenerative principles embrace a holistic approach: cover cropping, planned grazing management, no tilling, and no chemicals are some of the key techniques used to rebuild soil structure, retain water, and sequester carbon. When speaking with Rebecca, she mentions, “there’s this crazy myth going around that regenerative agriculture isn’t biodiverse. All you have to do is watch ‘Common Ground,’ look at the fields, and you see biodiversity unlike anything else.” Animals play a key role in land stewardship. For animal lovers and vegans, it doesn’t mean they have to be our food. They can be out there grazing the way nature intended and playing a large role in soil health, especially restoration.
“Nature is always self-organizing, self-healing, self-regulating,” says Gabe Brown, one of the heroes of regenerative farming in the film.
Josh asks you to consider, “if the food system works for you? Are you healthy? Do you feel good? Do you have any chronic conditions that could be food-related? Do you have chronic allergies that could be food-related? The reality is 60 to 70% of Americans have a chronic illness that’s food related.”
Do we really think about how our food is grown and gets to our plate? More of us are now, but the realization is chilling to know how we’ve been “tending to our gardens,” so to speak. Big agriculture is not working. Regenerative agriculture is.
Within one year of adopting regenerative practices, you can see positive benefits.
These principles have been used by indigenous people for generations, but they’ve been forgotten, unlearned and replaced by what’s considered conventional or industrial farming.
Nikki expresses, “That’s why ‘Common Ground’ is so important because there’s a desire to understand nature and biodiversity and understand the vital role that every single part of nature brings to the table that we have so easily and systemically destroyed. If we can make sure that we raise our children with an understanding of this, the conversations that are being had around the dinner table, the friends they’re with, or the level of compassion they experience, because they grow a tomato plant… My hope is that the takeaway from this film is that we have to learn compassion and connection and realize that there is no you or me, there is just we.”
“We” can all get involved. In addition to the film, the Common Ground Project is the “100 Million Acres Initiative,” an invitation to farmers, ranchers, NGOs, for-profit companies, and individuals who would like to genuinely take on becoming regenerative. Visit the website to make your pledge.
Josh shares, “We’ve partnered with certification partners who will actually certify their acres. We’ll measure the carbon; we’ll make sure that the farmers are on track. They’ll measure the outcomes. They’ll help the farmer, they’ll give consulting. That way we know that these commitments are real.”
Nikki urges everyone by saying, “I think the most impactful thing people can do right now is request a theater. That is how we vote. We vote with our time, we vote with our energy, and what we care about. I think that those numbers really matter, especially when we’re talking about things like legislation. The best and easiest thing that we can do is continue to request theaters, so that other audiences have the opportunity to see this film in areas that they might not have otherwise.”
Josh and Rebecca have been fierce protectors of the environment, and their award-winning documentaries over the years reflect that. Rebecca comes from 12 generations of farmers in the Midwest, including her father. Josh grew up in Louisiana with an introduction to the pollution from oil refineries and watching people get sick, compelling him to look for environmental solutions.
Many documentary films raise awareness and leave you thinking, but not always with an attainable solution.
“Common Ground” encourages everyone far and wide to come together and leaves you with an action plan.
This is something that every human can champion.
- Join the movement and share this movie with everyone on social media and beyond.
- Download a free guide to growing food at the website and grow food everywhere.
- Ask your representatives to make regenerative agriculture a priority.
- Help convert 100 million acres to regenerative farming at 100millionacres.org, as an individual, a business, or a farmer.
- Support regenerative farmers, products and look for their labels.
“Whether farming interests you or not, it does, however, affect you.” Rebecca states.
This film is a love letter – to our children, our families, our next generation, and the land that we currently steward for us and them. There are many love letters written in the film, and many ways we can expand on this. Nature is perfect, symbiotic, and forgiving. Mamma Earth is giving us the chance to do it right. The ending depends on us.
“To be just a small part of such meaningful change, that makes life worthwhile,” Gabe Brown shared. The film is dedicated to him.
As an advocate for sustainable living for over a decade, “Green With Tiffany” has been my purpose, my platform, and now my podcast. Regenerative agriculture is a positive solution to so many challenges our environment faces. The film made me feel inspired and hopeful. Check out the Green With Tiffany Podcast and website: greenwithtiffany.com