Roots So Deep – Director Peter Byck

Roots So Deep (you can see the devil down there) is a 4-part documentary series all about inventive farmers and maverick scientists building a path to solving climate change with hooves, heart and soil. Can an underutilized way to graze cattle, that mimics the way bison once roamed the land, help get farmers out of debt, restore our depleted soils, rebuild wildlife habitat and draw down huge amounts of carbon? Cattle have been seen as eco-villains for a long time. What if they can help save us from catastrophic climate change? ROOTS SO DEEP is guided by director and wrangler of scientists Peter Byck as he meets farmers on both sides of the fence – the folks practicing an adaptive way to graze, and their neighbors set in their family’s generations-old method of doing things. Byck’s team of outcast scientists are measuring what’s happening on both sides of the fences – exploring if this adaptive grazing could help slow down climate change. And one question looms over the whole series: even if the science shows that the adaptive way to graze is better for the land and the farmers’ pocket books, will the old school farmers change, will they adopt a different method? Will they evolve into climate heroes? Will they save our friggin’ asses from the impending climate catastrophe?


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Episode I – Mavericks & Meadowlarks – Mississippi – Meet a team of maverick scientists and the farmers they study, to find out whether cattle, long regarded as eco-villains, can help protect the environment if we ditch modern, destructive practices and instead work with nature. City folk turned first generation farmers share their journey to the farm.

Episode II – Losing is Winning – Alabama – Our first pair of Alabama farmers: Retired school teachers turned regenerative farmers on one side of the fence and a family feud and risk of losing the farm after six generations of ownership on the other, looms large over the scientific work.

Episode III – Change is Hard – Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky – Meet the rest of our farmers, including two country music superstars, while our scientists deal with the struggles and realities of messy science in real world settings on working farms.

Episode IV – One Lane Road Ahead – The science is in and we revisit all the farms to share the information with the farmers. How will they react? Will knowledge instill change?

About the filmmaker – Peter Byck is currently helping to lead a $10 million research project comparing Adaptive Multi-Paddock (AMP) grazing with conventional grazing; collaborating with 20 scientists and 10 farm families, focused on soil health & soil carbon storage, microbial/bug/bird biodiversity, water cycling and much more. The research also includes a new, 4-part docuseries called “Roots So Deep (you can see the devil down there),” directed by Byck, which is all about the inventive farmers and maverick scientists building a path to solving climate change with hooves, heart and soil. See the CNN segment on the docu-series here. Byck is a professor of practice at Arizona State University, in both the School of Sustainability and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, where he teaches students to make short documentary films about sustainability solutions. He is the director, producer and writer of carbon nation, a documentary film about climate change solutions. In 2020, Byck completed carbon cowboys, a 10-part documentary short film series, focused on regenerative grazing.