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ABOUT

Common Ground is the highly anticipated sequel to the juggernaut success documentary, Kiss the Ground, which touched over 1 billion people globally and inspired the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to put $20 billion toward soil health. By fusing journalistic expose’ with deeply personal stories from those on the front lines of the food movement, Common Ground unveils a dark web of money, power, and politics behind our broken food system. The film reveals how unjust practices forged our current farm system in which farmers of all colors are literally dying to feed us. The film profiles a hopeful and uplifting movement of white, black, and indigenous farmers who are using alternative “regenerative” models of agriculture that could balance the climate, save our health, and stabilize America’s economy – before it’s too late.

BIG PICTURE RANCH

Nested in the Los Padres National Forest in Ojai, California sits Big Picture Ranch – an organic avocado farm that also operates 24/7 as a soup-to-nuts film studio. Founders Josh and Rebecca Tickell are Sundance Award-Winning documentarians. Big Picture Ranch creates content that changes the global narrative around important environmental issues. Filmmakers Josh & Rebecca Tickell released the internationally recognized KISS THE GROUND, won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival with their first film FUEL, premiered their oil spill documentary THE BIG FIX as an official selection at Cannes, and are launching their first scripted feature film, HEARTLAND soon.

JOSH TICKELL – DIRECTOR/PRODUCER 

The author of four books, Josh Tickell has worked on environmental issues for over twenty years. His career spans a unique mixture of science, journalism and film making. His directorial debut film, FUEL, is the 2008 Sundance Audience Award winning documentary that investigates the possible replacement of fossil fuels with renewable energy. His 2017 Simon and Schuster book, Kiss the Ground, How the Food You Eat Can Reverse Climate Change, Heal Your Body and Ultimately Save Our World, was an Amazon Bestseller in multiple categories. Tickell holds an MFA in film from Florida State University’s Film School. He is a regular guest on talk shows and gives keynote presentations internationally on sustainability, regeneration and film making.

REBECCA TICKELL – DIRECTOR/PRODUCER 

Rebecca Tickell is a director, producer and environmental author & activist. She produced the Sundance Audience Award Winning, environmentally-themed movie, FUEL, and co-directed/produced ‘The Big Fix’, an ‘Official Selection’ of the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. She spent several years documenting the impacts and root cause of the BP oil spill. While investigating the spill she became ill and was left with permanent damage from exposure to the oil and dispersant in the atmosphere. Her directorial debut (with husband Josh) was the critically acclaimed documentary PUMP, narrated by Jason Bateman. She directed and produced the John Paul DeJoria story, GOOD FORTUNE, the YouTube sensation, THE EARTHING MOVIE as well as the forthcoming documentary THE REVOLUTION GENERATION and the forthcoming feature scripted film, HEARTLAND. As a child, she starred in the Orion (now MGM)’s Christmas Classic movie, Prancer.

CAST

LAURA DERN

Actor / Environmental Activist

Laura Dern is an American actress and filmmaker born on February 10, 1967. She has had a successful career spanning several decades, with notable roles in films such as “Jurassic Park,” “Blue Velvet,” and “Marriage Story.” Dern has received numerous awards for her work, including an Academy Award, four Golden Globe Awards, and a Primetime Emmy Award.

ROSARIO DAWSON

Actor / Environmental Activist

Rosario Dawson is an American actress and producer born on May 9, 1979. She has had a successful career in film, television, and theater, with notable roles in movies such as “Men in Black II,” “Sin City,” and “Rent.” Dawson is also an advocate for various political and social causes, including women’s rights and environmental issues.

JASON MOMOA

Actor / Environmental Activist

Jason Momoa is a Hawaiian-American actor, producer, and model known for his roles in “Game of Thrones,” “Aquaman,” and “Conan the Barbarian.” He started his career as a model and transitioned to acting in the early 2000s. Momoa is also an environmental activist and involved in various conservation efforts.

Websites:
Pride of Gypsies
Mananalu Pure Water
Meili Vodka

DONALD GLOVER

Actor / Environmental Activist

Donald Glover is an American actor, writer, comedian, and musician born on September 25, 1983. He is best known for his roles in the TV series “Community” and the FX series “Atlanta,” which he also created and produced. Glover has also had a successful music career under the stage name Childish Gambino, releasing several critically acclaimed albums.

WOODY HARRELSON

Actor / Environmental Activist

Woody Harrelson is an American actor and playwright. He is the recipient of numerous accolades, including a Primetime Emmy Award, and has been nominated for three Academy Awards and four Golden Globe Awards. He is best known for his roles in Cheers, True Detective, and The Hunger Games. He is also an outspoken environmentalist and is especially concerned about deforestation.

Ian Somerhalder

Actor / Environmental Activist

Ian Somerhalder is an actor, activist and director. He is known for playing Boone Carlyle in the TV drama Lost, Damon Salvatore in The CW’s supernatural drama The Vampire Diaries and Dr. Luther Swann in Netflix’s sci-fi horror series V Wars. Somerhalder was involved in the cleanup after the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling disaster on April 22, 2010. He shot the initial footage for Kiss the Ground in Africa in 2011 with Allan Savory.

Websites:
Brother’s Bond

Nikki Reed

Actor / Environmental Activist

A passionate environmentalist, Nikki Reed has long been a leading voice in eco. Reed is the Founder and CEO of sustainable fine jewelry & lifestyle brand Bayou With Love, and also the Cofounder of The Absorption Company, a supplement company that utilizes patented technology to take liposomal nutrients and turn them into water soluble powder making them 500% more bioavailable. She serves as the Creative Director of eco-friendly vegan sneaker brand LOCI footwear. Her efforts in championing conservation and sustainability are also seen through her work as a board member of the Environmental Media Association and a UN Ambassador for the Environment.

Gabe Brown

Regenerative rancher

Gabe Brown is a strong proponent of soil health.  His book  Dirt to Soil: One Family’s Journey into Regenerative Agriculture tells his story and is designed to be a guide for others. In it he shares in depth his five principles of soil health: no-till or minimal tillage, keeping the ground covered, diversity in plant and animal species, keeping living roots in the soil as much as possible, and the importance of integrating animals.

Websites:
Brown’s Ranch

Leah Penniman

Farmer, author, food justice activist

Leah Penniman is a Black Kreyol farmer, author, and food justice activist from Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, NY. She co-founded Soul Fire Farm in 2010 with a mission to end racism in the food system and reclaim our ancestral connection to land. As Co-ED and Farm Director, Penniman is part of a team that seeks to create a sustainable food system that prioritizes equity and justice.

Websites:
Soul Fire Farm

Lyla June Johnston, Ph.D.

Lyla June Johnston, Ph.D., is an Indigenous musician, scholar, community organizer, and public speaker of Diné (Navajo), Tsétsêhéstâhese (Cheyenne), and European lineages. Her work focuses on Indigenous rights, traditional land stewardship practices, and healing intergenerational and intercultural trauma. She graduated from Stanford University with a degree in environmental anthropology and is based in Taos, New Mexico.

Websites:
lylajune.com

Jonathan Lundgren, Ph.D.

Jonathan Lundgren, Ph.D., is an agroecologist and Director of the Ecdysis Foundation, as well as the CEO of Blue Dasher Farm. He received his Ph.D. in Entomology from the University of Illinois in 2004 and spent 11 years as a top scientist with the USDA-ARS. Lundgren has received the Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineering from the White House.

Websites:
Ecdysis Foundation
Blue Dasher Farm

Cristine Morgan, Ph.D.

Dr. Cristine Morgan is the Chief Scientific Officer at the Soil Health Institute, where she establishes research priorities and implements soil health research programs. She is also an adjunct professor of Soil Science at Texas A&M University and has published over 150 research papers. Dr. Morgan holds a B.S. in Environmental Soil and Plant Sciences from Texas A&M University and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Soil Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She serves on the board of directors for the Soil Science Society of America and the North American Plant Phenotyping Network, and is the Editor-in-Chief of the global soil science journal Geoderma.

Websites:
Soil Health Institute

Toby Kiers, Ph.D.

Toby Kiers, Ph.D., is a Professor of Evolutionary Biology and University Research Chair at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. She is known for her work on understanding how symbiotic partnerships form between plants, animals, and microbes, specifically the interactions and exchanges between plants, fungi, and microbes in mycorrhizal networks. She has also studied the importance of the symbiosis between plants and root-colonizing arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi.

Websites:
tobykiers.com

John Piotti

John Piotti is the President of American Farmland Trust since 2016, with over 30 years of experience in executive management and public policy. He has worked at the forefront of sustainable agriculture since the early 1990s. John holds three degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in engineering, public policy. He was named one of the 50 people who have done the most for the state by Maine Magazine in 2013.

Websites:
American Farmland Trust

Liz Carlisle

Liz Carlisle is an Assistant Professor at the Environmental Studies Program at UC Santa Barbara. She teaches courses on food and farming and has written three books on regenerative farming. She also holds a Ph.D. in Geography from UC Berkeley and a B.A. in Folklore and Mythology from Harvard University. Carlisle is a dedicated volunteer and former high school athlete from Missoula, Montana.

Websites:
lizcarlisle.com

Kelly Ryerson

Kelly Ryerson is the founder of Glyphosate Facts, an educational platform focused on the health and environmental impacts of glyphosate, the world’s most widely used herbicide. She is also an environmental health writer and filmmaker who advocates for disease prevention through functional health and nutrition. Ryerson’s personal experience with chronic illness sparked her passion for spreading awareness about the dangers of glyphosate.

Websites:
https://t.co/9EymKCpWUL

Dewayne “Lee” Johnson

Dewayne “Lee” Johnson is a former groundskeeper who sued agrochemical giant Monsanto for causing his cancer with their weed-killer. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2014, and his story was chronicled in the book “The Monsanto Papers: Deadly Secrets, Corporate Corruption, and One Man’s Search for Justice”.

Carey Gillam

Carey Gillam is a journalist and author who was born in Overland Park, Kansas. She started her career as a reporter for two small newspapers in Kansas and later worked as a banking reporter for the Thomson Corporation. Gillam is the author of “Whitewash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer and the Corruption of Science” and currently works as the managing editor for The New Lede, a journalism project of the Environmental Working Group. She also writes for The Guardian.

Websites:
careygillam.com

Zen Honeycutt

Zen Honeycutt is the founding executive director of Moms Across America, a non-profit national coalition of unstoppable moms with the mission of creating healthy communities by raising awareness about GMOs and related pesticides in our food. She is also an activist, speaker, author, and co-creator of Mothers Across the World. With the motto “Empowered Moms, Healthy Kids,” her organization has grown rapidly with over 600 leaders creating 1,000+ community events in all 50 states in the past 5 years.

Websites:
Moms Across America

Ray Archuleta

Conservation Agronomist (FORMERLY WITH NRCS)

Ray Archuleta is a Certified Professional Soil Scientist with the Soil Science Society of America and has over 30 years experience as a Soil Conservationist, Water Quality Specialist, and Conservation Agronomist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). After retiring from the NRCS, he co-founded the Soil Health Academy, which teaches producers how to improve soil health through practical regenerative agricultural principles.

Charles Benbrook, Ph.D.

Charles “Chuck” Benbrook, Ph.D. is an agricultural economist and consultant on pesticide and GMO-related lawsuits. He is a recognized expert on food quality, pest management systems, pesticide use and regulation, biotechnology, food nutritional quality, and the environmental and public health impact of agricultural systems. He has also served as a scientific advisor for the Organic industry research organization “The Organic Center”.

Ken Cook

Ken Cook is the founder and CEO of the Environmental Working Group, an organization focused on protecting public health and the environment. He has been a prominent advocate for policy change to create a healthier world and is an influential critic of industrial agriculture and toxic substances. Cook’s social media profiles are not readily available, but his organization, Environmental Working Group, can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Website:
ewg.org/who-we-are/our-team/ken-cook

Dr. Mark Hyman, M.D.

DIRECTOR, CLEVELAND CENTER FOR FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE

Dr. Hyman is a practicing family physician and an internationally recognized leader, speaker, educator, and advocate in the field of Functional Medicine. He is the founder and director of The UltraWellness Center, the Head of Strategy and Innovation of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, a thirteen-time New York Times bestselling author, and Board President for Clinical Affairs for The Institute for Functional Medicine.

Website:
drhyman.com

Senator Cory Booker

Cory Anthony Booker is an American politician and attorney who was born on April 27, 1969, in Washington, D.C. He was elected to the U.S. Senate as a Democrat in 2013, representing New Jersey, and was re-elected in 2014 for a full six-year term. Prior to that, he served as the mayor of Newark from 2006 to 2013.

Website:
booker.senate.gov

Dan Imhoff

Dan Imhoff is a writer, activist, and artisan food producer who focuses on ecological sustainability and the responsible use of natural resources. He is the president and co-founder of Watershed Media, a non-profit publishing house, and the Wild Farm Alliance, a national organization promoting agriculture systems that support wild nature. Imhoff has written numerous articles, essays, and books on topics ranging from food and agriculture to conservation and ecological design. He graduated from Allegheny College with a bachelor’s degree.

Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D.

Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., is an environmental health scientist, toxicologist, and investigator with over 25 years of experience deciphering food systems to educate consumers, companies, government agencies, and philanthropic investors on the best systems to support. She is the scientific director of product safety for Consumer Reports, where she leads and directs the Consumer Safety and Sustainability Group. Rangan specializes in conducting scientific investigations, policy analysis, and risk/benefit communication around food safety and sustainability.

Robyn O’Brien

Robyn O’Brien is a co-founder and Managing Director at rePlant Capital, a financial services firm scaling climate solutions on farm. She is also a Fulbright scholar, best-selling author, and widely recognized speaker on global food systems. O’Brien has written a book called “The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food Is Making Us Sick and What We Can Do About It.”

David LeZaks

David LeZaks is an environmental scientist and financial activist who specializes in developing innovative mechanisms for financing the transition to agroecological farming and food systems. He is a Senior Fellow at the Croatan Institute and previously led the Regenerative Food Systems initiative at Delta Institute in Chicago.

Amber Dykshorn

Amber Dykshorn is a farmer from South Dakota who tragically lost her husband, Chris, to suicide in 2019. She has shared her story to raise awareness about mental health issues in the farming community. Dykshorn has also relied on her faith and counseling to help her and her family cope with the loss.

Carol & Rick Clark

Rick Clark is a fifth-generation farmer from Warren County, Indiana who produces non-GMO corn for Danone and uses regenerative farming practices, such as crop rotation, cover cropping, and no-till methods, to build soil health and profitability. Clark’s farm is a practical example of how to use regenerative farming methods.
Rick and Carol live in Indiana and have two daughters, Jessica and Rachel.

Zach Ducheneaux

Zach Ducheneaux is the Administrator for USDA’s Farm Service Agency, appointed on February 22, 2021. He is responsible for providing leadership and direction on agricultural policy, administering loan programs, and managing conservation, commodity, disaster, and farm marketing programs through a national network of offices. Ducheneaux has a background in ranching and has been recognized as a farmer hero by Farm Aid.

Mia Vaughnes

Mia Vaughnes is the co-founder of Good Neighbor Garden SD, a project that aims to promote healthy eating by teaching people about the benefits of eating seasonally and growing a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. She has also shared her views on the importance of water in our lives.

Website:
goodneighborgardens.com

Elyse Towey

Elyse is a board member of the Midwest Native Coalition for Justice & Peace, the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska Treasurer and the owner of Independently Indigenous

Tim Rhodd

Chairman of the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska.

Kelsey Ducheneaux-Scott

Kelsey runs DX Beef, a direct-to-consumer, regenerative beef operation at the ranch. Their goals are to help correct a broken food system locally, while ensuring our animals have a just life, and that our customers know how their beef got from pasture to plate. She also works beyond the ranch.
She’s the Director of Programs for the Intertribal Agriculture Council, which seeks to build and restore indigenous foodways in Native American communities. She’s a soil nerd, and agriculture in Indian Country is my passion.

Website:
DX Beef

Roy Thompson

Roy is a farmer from Minnesota. At age 20, Roy was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, and over time found that treating the cause – the quality of the food he was eating – rather than the symptoms of his disease alleviated his situation more than doctors could have hoped for.

Glenn Elzinga

Glenn Elzinga is a former Forest Ecologist turned Rancher who owns and operates Alderspring Ranch, a small artisanal family ranch located in the middle of the Pahsimeroi Valley in Idaho. His ranch has a base of around 1,000 certified organic acres, and he is also permitted to run cattle on a 46,000-acre piece of public land. Prior to becoming a rancher, Elzinga worked as a District Forester for the Salmon BLM for over a decade.

Alejandro Carrillo

Alejandro Carrillo, a rancher who lives in El Paso, Texas and stewards his family’s ranch in Mexico’s Chihuahuan Desert. Alejandro is an expert on how regenerative practices play an important role raising livestock and maintaining carbon sinks. After a successful career as an IT consultant, Alejandro joined his family ranch in 2004. Tired of the constant drought and suffering that came with traditional ranching in a desert climate, he’d been searching for ways to adapt and rehabilitate his family’s land. Since 2006, Alejandro has adapted the principles of holistic grazing or regenerative ranching as we’ll learn about in this episode. He’s also the president of Pare Del, a nonprofit organization that provides ongoing education for cattle ranchers as well as promotes holistic plant grazing across the world’s deserts.

Senator Mike Braun

Mike Braun is a Republican politician and businessman serving as the junior United States senator from Indiana since 2019. He previously represented the 63rd district in the Indiana House of Representatives from 2014 to 2017. Braun is known for his conservative policies and working with Vice President Mike Pence to deliver results for Hoosiers.

Website:
braun.senate.gov

Terry Cosby

Terry Cosby is the Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), a federal conservation agency that helps farmers and landowners plan and carry out voluntary conservation activities on their operations. Cosby has worked at NRCS for over 40 years and has held numerous positions within the agency. Raised on a cotton farm in Mississippi, Cosby’s love for the land began at an early age and he has been a lifelong advocate for sustainable farming practices. Cosby’s appointment as NRCS Chief was announced by President Biden in May 2021.

Website:
nrcs.usda.gov/about/leadership/chief-terry-cosby