Culiacan, Sinaloa – The Culiacan Botanical Garden was the setting for the landmark event for local agriculture, the premiere of the documentary “Common Ground” organized by the Growers Association of Culiacan (AARC), AgroDer, and Veggies from Mexico. The event was notable for its focus on strengthening farming activity in Culiacan and the state of Sinaloa by opening an important dialogue on the future of the soil and the countryside of Sinaloa.
This Latin American presentation of the documentary “Common Ground” directed by Josh and Rebecca Tickell, is the continuation of “Kiss the Ground” which talks about regenerative agriculture with more than 10 million views on Netflix and whose protagonist Ray Archuleta gave a training workshop in November 2022 to farmers in the Association of Farmers of the Culiacan River (AARC).
In addition to the screening of the documentary, a keynote address and a panel of experts were presented.
Researcher Martha Zarain, who addressed the topic “The Future of Our Earth”. She explained to those present how a spoonful of soil contains thousands and thousands of organisms that form a whole ecosystem necessary for agriculture.
During the talk, the researcher focused on explaining the Rhizosphere, which is the soil zone near the roots of plants where microbial life develops, and which is composed of soil, roots, microorganisms with diverse functions, nutrients, organic substances, and water. All this, he predicted, could replace chemical inputs in the future. He also addressed issues concerning the sustainability of agricultural enterprises and the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations Organization and made an invitation to all attendees to begin to be the change they want to see in society.
The roundtable “The challenges of sustainable agriculture”, various expert actors in the agricultural theme commented on their experiences and challenges in the paradigm shift that is posed for the sector. On the advantages of becoming sustainable, Luis Valdovinos of Natural Grow responded that one is the efficiency in the use of inputs and therefore the reduction of costs. The other part is yields, observing that the consumer is ready to pay better for a healthier and more environmentally friendly product.
On this, Stéphane Romero-Cortell of Ecocert pointed out the importance of awareness. “We also need the consumer to understand that the premium product has an additional cost that has to be paid for,” he commented.
Following the panel presentation, Sinaloa’s Secretary of Agriculture and Livestock (SAG), Jaime Montes Salas, acknowledged that initiatives such as this one, organized by the private sector, show that there is already an awareness among agricultural entrepreneurs of the urgency of achieving economically sustainable agriculture over time, and sustainable with the environment.
Enrique Riveros, President of the AARC, said that the documentary addresses the needs of farmers and proposes solutions for moving towards sustainable agriculture. He explained that the event was an invaluable opportunity to restart the dialogue on this crucial issue with the local farming community.
“We need sustainability along with profitability because if the grower is not profitable, it will go out of business; in order to have healthy, quality, and nutritious food, we need to recognize and validate the efforts of growers,” he said.
It is very important that as growers we find the best practices with which we could start in the short term because what is practiced in one place does not work in another; there are different climates, different soils, different crops, different practices, different economies, so we need to make our methodology of how to produce in a better way in our region.