Cast & Crew

Ryan Wirick, director and producer of, "The Need To GROW,” and "Farmacy of Light" is an award-winning filmmaker, film editor, cinematographer, and writer.

Since becoming a father, Ryan has focused on projects that highlight solutions to critical problems in the world, and the people behind those solutions. He Co-Founded Earth Conscious Films with Rob Herring, then Co-Directed/Produced/shot and edited the feature length documentary, The Need To GROW.

In a race against the end of farmable soil, The Need To GROW  follows three individuals (Alicia Serratos, Erik Cutter, and Michael Smith) as they fight for change in the industry of agricultural food production, calling for a revolution. Executive Produced and narrated by Rosario Dawson, The Need To GROW  has won numerous Best Documentary honors in film festivals, and has now been seen in over 170 countries.

Ryan began his career as a journalist, and was recognized with an Orange County Press Club Award. He graduated from Chapman University with an MFA in Creative Writing, an MA in English, and a BA in Philosophy. There he received the Tom Massey Award, the John Fowles Award for Creative Writing, and the William James Award in Philosophy.

Today, Ryan is creating a global network of empowering resources through Earth Conscious Life. Herring and Wirick’s new platform promotes regenerative solutions for both human and planetary health. They founded ECL based on the simple truth: our potential as a species is both empowered and bound by the potential of our living biosphere.

Human health = Planet health.

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Erik Cutter, executive producer and managing director of Alegría Fresh is a visionary urban farmer and devout steward of our planet.

Alegría Fresh is a zero-waste, regenerative urban microfarm employing RegenOrganic soil-based growing systems. Erik is also Founder of the Alegría Farmacy, an integrated carbon neutral food production system designed to grow superior produce anywhere, anytime. Erik has over 35 years experience growing ultra nutrient-rich produce using regenerative organic techniques and is a leading pioneer in developing cost effective growing systems that can be deployed over man-made surfaces close to where people live and work. See and

In 2021, Erik and his partners purchased 80-acres in Kalispell, Montana to develop Alegría’s first Regenerative Health Center, including an urban ag training center and a world teaching kitchen. See

He has a background in biochemistry and oncology, and possesses a lifelong passion for creating haute cuisine using the finest ingredients, most of which he grows himself. Erik’s mission is to increase adaptability and resilience and combat auto-immune disorders by creating greater awareness of the numerous health benefits of consuming fresh, locally-grown, light-filled food. The company’s goals include connecting individuals with where their food comes from and how it should be grown in living soil to optimize microbiome health, influencing positive change in resource management, teaching healthy eating habits, promoting entrepreneurship programs and creating green jobs in urban agriculture.

“Time is our greatest gift. How we use it determines who we are and how we will be remembered.” – Erik Cutter

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The Experts

Dr. Zach Bush


Zach Bush MD is a physician specializing in internal medicine, endocrinology and hospice care. He is an internationally recognized educator and thought leader on the microbiome as it relates to health, disease, and food systems. Dr Zach founded *Seraphic Group and the nonprofit Farmer’s Footprint to develop root-cause solutions for human and ecological health. His passion for education reaches across many disciplines, including topics such as the role of soil and water ecosystems in human genomics, immunity, and gut/brain health. His education has highlighted the need for a radical departure from chemical farming and pharmacy, and his ongoing efforts are providing a path for consumers, farmers, and mega-industries to work together for a healthy future for people and planet.

Dr. Valencia Porter

M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.N.

Dr. Valencia Porter is a leader in Integrative, Preventive, and Environmental Medicine, combining ancient wisdom traditions such as Ayurvedic Medicine with modern science. Double-Board Certified in General Preventive Medicine and Integrative Medicine, she has been a part of the Chopra medical team for the past decade, providing integrative medical consultations and teaching health professionals and the community how to achieve total mind, body, spirit health.

She passionately advocates for real solutions to the global problems of climate change and pollution, knowing that personal and planetary health are intricately linked. Dr. Porter shares her extensive knowledge about the environment and its role in our health and wellbeing through her recent book, “Resilient Health: How to Thrive in Our Toxic World,” a handbook for the toxic age based on her research, clinical experience guiding patients through the Chopra’s signature detox program, and personal healing journey. Her integrative practice combines nutritional medicine, herbal medicine, mind-body medicine, energy medicine, environmental medicine, Ayurveda, functional medicine and peak performance methods to create optimal and resilient health.

Dr. Mae-Wan Ho


Mae-Wan was the author of several books and Editor of the Journal of Science in Society, produced by the Institute of the same name, which she founded. She was a prolific author. Two of her books are prominent in explaining the role of biological water in organising living processes. She has been extremely productive with nearly 200 scientific papers, over 600 popular articles and several more books.

Mae-Wan wrote a book showing the lack of sustainability of genetically modified organisms. She also contributed significantly to the thermodynamics of complex systems, and discussed extensively the Prigogine ideas. Her recent work presented a reliable thermodynamics of living organisms, developing a Prigogine approach.

In 2014 she was awarded the Prigogine Medal. The Medal was established by that University and the Wessex Institute in 2004 to honour the memory of Professor Ilya Prigogine, Nobel Prize Winner for Chemistry. His ideas established the basis for ecological systems research.

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Mike Holecek


Mike Holecek is an innovator in the field of biophysics and ecological design. Holecek has received awards for providing successful program training, administration and leadership on integrated land-use design, energy-efficiency, analysis of systems, and applications of sustainable economic development models.

Holecek has extensive training in the fields of phytochemistry, plant/soil pathology and biogenic health. Mike has studied western herbalism at the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine with Michael Moore, and ortho-molecular nutrition with Dr. Michael Manion.

He has long-term experience with soil health and plant vitality, which came from working many years with permaculture design principles at the High Altitude Permaculture Institute in Basalt, CO. His related projects include the development and manufacture of plant-based nutrition products, utilizing algal and plant concentrates, working with Dr. Mitchell May of Synergy Company and Desert Lake Algae Technologies in Klamath Lake, Oregon. Holecek is the co-founder of Algae Aqua-culture Technologies in Whitefish, Montana and Co-Founder of BioCarbon Technologies producing certified organic soil nutrients and biocarbon-based water treatment medias based in Missoula, Montana.

Loghan Call


Loghan Call is committed to creating paradigm shifts within the food & beverage industry. His work is centered around putting soil & human health at the forefront while creating a story that inspires consumers to support & enjoy healthier growing, consuming and socializing habits.

Currently Loghan is shifting focus from working with food into the zero-proof beverage space to help fill the immense and growing need/demand for an elevated craft cocktail experience while creating a healthier, more inclusive social/drinking scene for everyone.

“The heart of what I do is creating experiences around food & beverages that showcase the immense -and unharnessed- power food has in our world when it’s rooted in soil health and regenerative practices.”

Dr. Fritz-Albert Popp


Dr. Fritz Albert Popp – Experimental Physics (University of Würzburg), X-ray circle of the Physics Institute of the University of Würzburg, PhD in theoretical physics (quantum theory of many-particle systems, University of Mainz), Habilitation in Biophysics (University of Marburg) Professor of radiology at the University of Marburg 1972-1980, Appointment as Professor (H2) by the Senate of the University of Marburg, head of research groups in the industry (1981-1983), at the University of Kaiserslautern (Cell Biology from 1983 to 1985), the Technology Centre and the Technology Park in Kaiserslautern (1986 to present).

Popp has conducted research that confirms the existence of biophotons. These particles of light, with no mass, transmit information within and between cells. His work shows that DNA in a living cell stores and releases photons creating “biophotonic emissions” that may hold the key to illness and health. Popp’s eight books and more than 150 scientific journal articles and studies address basic questions of theoretical physics, biology, complementary medicine and biophotons.

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Ade Onaolapo


Ade has been working in the field of native landscape and edible gardens for almost two decades. He obtained his California Native Plant Landscape certification through the Theodore Payne Foundation. He is a Master Gardener trained by the University of California Cooperative Extension specialists.

Leif Kemp


Leif Kemp is a United States Marine and combat veteran who served tours in Desert Storm and Somalia. Following his deployment, Leif enjoyed a successful 15-year medical device sales career. Recognizing the opportunity to make a big difference and pursue his passion for health and wellness, Leif focused on investing in veterans and others who find healing through regenerative agriculture. In 2014, Leif discovered Alegría Fresh, a regenerative organic urban farm company operating in Irvine, CA. In 2017, Leif earned his certificate as a Sustainable Resource Management Professional & Consultant through San Jose State University.

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The Film Team

Rob Herring


Rob Herring directed and produced the award-winning film The Need To GROW, narrated by Rosario Dawson and seen in over 175 countries. He co-founded the platform Earth Conscious Life as an environmental filmmaker, citizen journalist, and musical activist. Rob worked on the critically acclaimed GMO OMG, and produced the film InterReflections, a follow up to the world-famous Zeitgeist Trilogy. As a musician, Rob writes songs for health and eco activism, and headlined the Rock For Nature concert in Berlin for 25,000 people. Rob is also a Certified Holistic Health Coach and is the cofounder of Integrative Pediatrics.

Nikki W.


Nikki W. is a designer, animator, and graphic artist whose work has been integral to the Earth Conscious Films brand, including in website design, social media, film graphics, and most prominently in the creation of posters for The Need To GROW and other Earth Conscious Films productions. She is a proud interior designer, focusing on optimizing indoor and outdoor personal spaces with the beauty and benefit of plants.

Kassi Crews


Kassi Crews is an entertainment industry veteran and a consummate storyteller. Her early studio career began at Cannon Films, famous for action titles like Jean-Claude Van Damme’s “Bloodsport,” Chuck Norris’ “Delta Force” and Sylvester Stallone’s “Cobra.” Crews became an industry leader in Hollywood post-production as the Vice President of Digital Jungle where she oversaw the day-to-day operations and served as producer on an endless list of film and television projects. Most recently, Crews lead multiple post-production teams at Fox and Walt Disney Television, overseeing the workflows of all television for FX Networks including “The Americans,” “Fargo” and “Pose.”

Crews has produced a variety of critically acclaimed independent features, “Broken Memories,” “God’s Ears” and “A Better Place” as well as directed live shows for the theater. She is a member of ATAS, NAB, NAPTE, PROMAX, NATPE, and SAG; holds a Master of Arts from CSU Fullerton and a Bachelor of Arts with Honors from UC Santa Cruz.