This past Sunday, Cool Davis and members of the community gathered in the library to watch the film “Kiss the Ground,” a film explaining how we can save the earth by changing farming and ranching practices. The film promotes a method of farming called regenerative agriculture, which simplifies inputs by eliminating pesticides, herbicides, and industrial fertilizers, and includes no-till farming, where the soil is minimally disturbed in order to prevent the kind of soil erosion you see with traditional tillage.

Modern agricultural practices invented during the Green Revolution such as pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizer have been extremely damaging to the soil, killing the microbes in the earth that not only take carbon from the air, but also give the plants we eat the nutrients we need from them. While these methods allow us to grow a great deal of food, overly tilling and using these methods for years and years results in a breakdown of the soil and can leave it permanently damaged. During the off season, where nothing is growing on these fields, the dirt dries up and the wind kicks up the dust, further eroding the soil.

The film emphasized how saving the soil of the earth can reduce the carbon in the atmosphere, and grow crops that are healthier for us.

Positive solutions and a feeling of hope

Those who watched the film quite enjoyed the overall positive outlook the movie had. Often with media covering climate change there is a sense of doom and helplessness that envelops the whole thing, making it difficult to watch for some. With this movie, however, as they did show that the solution was positive and working already in certain areas, it gave a feeling of hope throughout the film.

Local couple gives it a try

The film also sparked conversation around efforts being made locally to help the environment. A couple that came to watch, Barbara and Robert, own a small piece of land near Davis where they practice no till farming and collect food scraps and compost from local businesses for their farm.

Barbara and Robert also talked briefly about how tillage affects them, as their neighbors do use that method on their farm, which creates a great amount of dust that gets on Barbara’s clothesline. Even on a smaller scale with local farms, tillage has an effect on the environment.

Barbara and Robert brought to the group’s attention that Recology Davis, who make compost out of food waste from the landfill, gives the compost they create for free to any Yolo county resident at certain times of the year, often April and May and sometimes September and October. Outside of those months it is still very cheap, with the only other requirement being that you have to shovel it yourself. Yolo County Landfill Compost CLICK HERE FOR CURRENT AVAILABILITY

A question of capacity and scale

Of course, the film wasn’t perfect, and there were some criticisms about the way the film approached the concept of regenerative farming as well as how they presented evidence to support the method. One of the members of the audience had an issue with how regenerative farming was presented as the end-all-be-all solution to climate change. He felt that it didn’t properly address how these methods were going to be able to properly feed and support the number of people on the planet.

In addition, there was also an issue with the film creating a false equivalence between cows and bison. In the film, they made it a point to say that cows are not as bad for the environment as they’re made out to be and can even be good if managed properly. The film made a comparison between cattle grazing on farms and how wild bison would graze on the plains. The two species, however, are completely different animals. Their diets, how they process their food, and the types of plants they graze on are different and this plays a huge part in the effect they have on the environment.

A new perspective

Though not as nuanced as it could’ve been, overall the group felt that “Kiss the Ground” was a worthwhile watch, providing a new perspective and introduction to a new way of agriculture that they may have not known before.