The Need to Grow poster features 3 hero characters in center of moonlit world by movie title, garden rows, and skyscrapers

Poster courtesy Earth Conscious Films

In the second screening of the Black Earth Film Series, filmmaker Rob Herring screens his and Ryan Wirick’s award-winning documentary film, The Need to GROW, an intimate look into the hearts of activists and innovators in the food movement, followed by a Q&A discussion via Zoom.

With an estimated 60 years of farmable soil left on Earth, The Need to GROW (TNTG) follows several activists and innovators in the food movement, including an 8 year old girl who challenges the ethics of a beloved organization, a renegade farmer struggling to keep his land as he revolutionizes resource efficient agriculture, and an accomplished visionary inventor who faces catastrophe in the midst of developing a game-changing technology. Narrated by Rosario Dawson (Marvel’s The Defenders, The Lego Batman Movie), TNTG delivers alarming evidence on the importance of healthy soil — revealing not only the potential of localized food production working with nature, but our opportunity as individuals to help regenerate our planet’s dying soils and participate in the restoration of the Earth.

Black Earth is a film series organized by Princeton’s Dorothy Krauklis ’78 Professor of Visual Arts Deana Lawson in collaboration with Visiting Professor in the Program in Visual Arts and the Department of Art and Archaeology Tina Campt. It aspires to a twofold intervention in how we envision the multiple ecologies of our planet. On the one hand, it is a meditation on Earth’s landscape through a deep dive into one of the primary materials that supports and sustains it: soil. It engages soil in its most elevated state, as nutrient rich black soil that nurtures and enriches a multitude of species. On the other hand, it hones in on Earth as a social ecology inhabited, shaped, and enlivened by Black genius. The series includes films by Khalik Allah, Rob Herring, Kahlil Joseph and John Akomfrah and curated conversations with the filmmakers and a selection of their collaborators.

The Black Earth series is supported through the John Sacret Young ’69 Lecture Series fund.

Watch the Film

The screening event is free and open to the public. Advance tickets required; reserve tickets through University Ticketing. Audience members who are not able to attend the screening and discussion in-person are invited to connect at 6 PM (EST) via Zoom (Meeting ID: 97776413162)

Get directions to the James Stewart Film Theater and find other venue information for 185 Nassau Street.

COVID-19 Guidance + Updates

Per Princeton University policy, all guests are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to the maximum extent, which now includes a COVID booster shot for all eligible to receive it, and to wear a mask when indoors.


symbol for wheelchair accessibilityThe event space is wheelchair accessible. Visit our Venues and Studios section for accessibility information at our various locations. Guests in need of access accommodations are asked to contact the Lewis Center at at least one week prior to the event date.

Watch the Trailer for 'The Need to GROW'

About the Director

rob herring with blonde hair and blue chambray shirt sitting with elbows resting on knees

Photo courtesy Rob Herring

Rob Herring is a graduate of Tisch School of the Arts at NYU where he received the Drama Award for Film & TV. He produced The Relationtrip (SXSW, Grand Jury Prize – Dallas International Film Festival) and directed/produced Nothing in Los Angeles, which received numerous Best Picture honors. Rob worked on the critically acclaimed GMO OMG, and he is a producer on the follow up to the world famous Zeitgeist Trilogy. He is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and as a musiscian, writes songs for health and eco activism. He headlined the Rock for Nature concert in Berlin for 25,000 people and has been featured with groups like, Alliance for Natural Health, Food Revolution Network, Label and more.