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Review: ‘Common Ground’ sheds light on biodiversity

“Common Ground” is a compelling new documentary that sheds light on biodiversity, and the growing Regenerative Agriculture movement.

Oscar winner Laura Dern in 'Common Ground'
Oscar winner Laura Dern in 'Common Ground.' Photo Courtesy of 'Common Ground'
Oscar winner Laura Dern in 'Common Ground.' Photo Courtesy of 'Common Ground'

“Common Ground” is a compelling new documentary that sheds light on biodiversity, and the growing Regenerative Agriculture movement.

This environmental documentary had its world premiere on June 8th at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. It was directed by Josh and Rebecca Tickell (“Kiss the Ground”), both of which wrote the screenplay along with Johnny O’Hara.

Academy Award winner Laura Dern (“Marriage Story”) narrated the film along with such actors Jason Momoa, Rosario Dawson, Woody Harrelson, Ian Somerhalder, and Donald Glover.

Josh and Rebecca Tickell write it as a love letter to their children and it showcases methods on how we can fix our broken food system, and it is neat to watch it told from that unique perspective.

It is the goal of Regenerative farmers to help bring soil health across the continent and beyond, in an effort to grow and foster this ever-growing regenerative movement.

Kiss the Ground, the non-profit organization was the core inspiration of the movie “Common Ground” and the previous namesake movie as well as a huge part of building this global movement through education, storytelling as well as advocacy.

Their advocacy campaign, “Regenerate America,” is helping to re-write the farm bill this year with over 120 NGOs, businesses, and farm groups and working with all the farmers in the film.

“Common Ground” presents an important and precarious message about the deleterious practices within the food system in the United States. It is certainly food for thought, and it will move viewers on an emotional level.

This powerful documentary also features thought-provoking commentary from Dr. Mark Hyman, farmer and bestselling author author Gabe Brown, evolutionary biologist Professor Toby Kiers, author and investigative journalist Carey Gillam, Ryland Engelhart, as well as Rick and Carol Clark, Kelly Ryerson, among many other noteworthy individuals, which include actors, scholars and scientists.

It scrutinizes the correlations and relationships, between farming, the soil and the Regenerative Agriculture movement, health, as well as the political and economic, factors involved. “Common Ground” is able to fuse all of these issues together in one place.

At the forefront of this plight are the farmers and families who have lived through tragedy and illness at the hands of government policies that favor Big Ag and big profits.

In acknowledging how racism has forged today’s farming industry, regenerative farmers are returning to pre-colonial practices pioneered by indigenous and African American farmers to restore soil, keep Americans alive, and leave a legacy for generations to follow.

Jason Momoa in 'Common Ground'
Jason Momoa in ‘Common Ground.’ Photo Courtesy of ‘Common Ground’

This captivating documentary underscores the need for the public to face the reality of the food system, and how this affects us all… it starts from the soil to the air that we breathe.

It tackles universal issues and represents a unified set of values and ideologies, especially at a time when our country is in great division and unrest. It reminds people that without soil, we are unable to eat; moreover, our actions and our choices affect our ability to continue to co-exist, and live on this planet together.

“Common Ground” was recognized with the 2023 “Human/Nature Award,” which is bestowed on a movie that best exemplifies solution-oriented environmental storytelling.

Watching “Common Ground” felt like listening to Bonnie Raitt’s Grammy-winning “Song of the Year” “Just Like That.” Both started out heartbreaking at first, but then, they end heartwarming and optimistic.

Most importantly, “Common Ground” offers a solution on how we can make our environment and planet a better place, and that’s by shifting to organic food and taking care of our soil.

The Verdict

Overall, “Common Ground” is a raw and unflinching documentary that needed to be told, and it needs to be seen by everyone. It digs deep, and it will definitely spark meaningful conversations with the audience afterward on how they can make a difference for the betterment of our planet for the children and our future generations. It will simply blow people away with its staggering statistics, as well as its honest and authentic storytelling.

“Common Ground” deserves to be nominated for a 2024 Academy Award for “Best Documentary Feature,” especially since their previous powerhouse documentary “Kiss the Ground” was snubbed by the Academy several years back.

Filmmakers Josh and Rebecca Tickell should be commended once again for their brevity and for a job well done, especially in bringing this significant movie to life. “Common Ground” garners an A rating.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 20,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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