Opening the Earth: The Potato King

A poor farmer in the Andes is one of the few guardians responsible for sustaining biodiversity critical to humanity. This documentary tells the story of Julio Hancco 14,600ft above sea level in the Peruvian Andes. Julio’s humble life contrasts with the global significance of agricultural biodiversity. World famous chefs, international organizations, and experts in the field all played a role in Julio’s rise. This film contrasts the humble life of a poor Peruvian farmer with the global significance of his traditions.

The Bigger Picture

What does poverty mean? Why is poverty defined by income and economic factors? When we classify a population as “poor” we focus on the poverty and the weaknesses often in order to design projects and aid programs to bring them out of poverty.

Now. what if we challenge the definition of poverty and instead of focusing on the weaknesses we search for strengths? Families with low economic resources survive by being resilient, and solving problems in a resourceful manner. Opening of the Earth strives to uncover hidden strengths of the poor that highlight the mentalities of resilience and resourcefulness that permeate their culture. While the world focuses on helping “impoverished communities” this project strives to learn from them. In a world where we need to be conscious of consumption and unsustainable lifestyles we can learn from the poor.

Opening the Earth is a story telling project. We fundraised to create a short documentary that will focus on the strengths of an indigenous community and it’s global significance to agricultural biodiversity. This video will be the stepping stone to create more short documentaries exposing hidden strengths of those deemed “poor.” We have partnered with filmmaker Eric Ebner to realize this vision and to tell this story.

 Opening the Earth was featured in the University of San Diego’s USD Magazine Spring 2018 edition. Click below to read.

Opening the Earth was featured in the University of San Diego’s USD Magazine Spring 2018 edition. Click below to read.


This Project will have the following impacts:

Challenge perspectives towards economically poor communities. While the outside world should continue to support their development; we should also strive to understand mentalities of resilience and resourcefulness.

  • Build pride within communities. Provide economically poor communities with documentaries highlighting their strengths.

  • Garner publicity and support to design and implement a more ambitious project to share the stories of these communities.