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'Common Ground' documentary explores regenerative agriculture, screening coming to San Diego

b roll from common ground film
Posted at 5:30 PM, Oct 13, 2023

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A movement in San Diego County believes changing the health of our soil will vastly improve the food system, balance the climate and rejuvenate our ecosystem. It's called regenerative agriculture, and it's the topic of a new documentary called "Common Ground."

In Native American culture, the sound of a pounding drum represents Mother Earth's heartbeat. "Common Ground" shows how the key to saving the planet may be in the soil — the earth we all share beneath our feet.

More than a movie, regenerative agriculture seeks to restore the health of people and the planet through the power of plants.

"We all come from nature. Nature is the mother of us all, and if mama ain't happy... We're [expletive]," says actor Jason Momoa, one of many celebrities featured in the film.

Rebecca and Josh Tickell, the writers, producers and directors of the film, wanted to tackle climate change from the ground up, as many people work to reduce emissions and pollution around the globe.

"That's not going to happen in time to change the curve for climate change, but soil can!" says Josh Tickell.

Regeneration is based on the principle that when you restore the connection between the plant and the life in the soil, it can draw up nutrition, creating nutrient dense food, while at the same time massive amounts of carbon reenters the soil.

"A lot of the carbon in the atmosphere comes from our soil. The reason it got put in the atmosphere is because we spray with chemical that use carbon as it foundation, goes up in the atmosphere, and so we can actually reverse that process by building soil — by building healthy soil," says Rebecca Tickell.

Gabe Brown, a pioneer in regenerative farming, showed ABC 10News the difference between his fields and the barren land of his neighbor. His new way of farming works with nature, not against it.

"No tilling or completely reducing, reduced or no chemicals, integrating animals. Animals are always part of the process," Josh Tickell says as he explained regenerative agriculture. "And cover crops and you don't leave it bare, because it blows away."

As a result, some farmers say they're saving money when utilizing these techniques.

"We've eliminated insecticides, herbicides, pesticides... and it comes out to $2 million a year in savings," a farmer in the film says.

"One thing is for certain: Each of us can do something for soil health," actor Woody Harrelson says in the trailer.

Regenerative agriculture isn't just for commercial farmlands; it can be done on an individual basis.

"I promise to do what I can to heal our broken food system and save our soil, because I love you," a parent says to their child in the movie.

"Common Ground" premieres in San Diego County on Wednesday, Oct. 18 at La Paloma Theater in Encinitas. The screening is set for 7 p.m.

Head to the film's website if you'd like to buy tickets or learn more about regenerative agriculture.