And he discovered the covering of Judah, and thou didst look in that day to the armour of the forest (Isaiah 22:8)
(This Blog Contains A Review of Back To Eden - An Astonishing and Extraordinary “Must See” Documentary Co-produced by Two Young Ladies Named Sarah A. Zentz and Dana Richardson. The Film Features Illustrative Garden Evangelist Paul Gautschi and His “Beyond Organics” orchard and Garden! This Blog also Appeals for an Agricultural Revolution And the Need for Replacing Conventional Farming Methods With Better Ones. In the Midst of Today’s Dis-ease Epidemic, More than Ever Before, People Are Beginning To Recognize That, For the Most Part, Traditional Farming Practices Have Miserably Failed Us. They Have Hindered Countless Individuals From Achieving Optimal Wellness Because of the Shear Lack of Nutritients In Our Food. We Will Draw Spiritual Lessons From the World of Nature - Which Is a Foretaste of the Higher Paradisiac World To Come.)
Last month I was blessed to have two friends from Melbourne (the place where I was born and grew up in) come up visit me here in the sunny “Sunshine Coast” of QLD.
I was honored to have Igor and Stefan stay at my home for a few weeks during part of their N.S.W. / QLD visit. They had put a pause on their usual “tent making” occupations (one an accountant, the other a youth worker) to selflessly visit contacts to fellowship with them, encourage them and help some “hands on” in establishing vegetable gardens. (A little bit of this ties into the South Bank ministry, for which I have written about in a separate blog.)
I am not an experienced gardener and to be honest, I have never really had a desire to establish or cultivate a veggie patch, well not until very recently! When the boys arrived to my home I could sense that they were into something that seemed to absorb much of their attention. And although at first they didn't say too much about it (they are very unassuming and non-pushy gentlemen by nature), I could tell they were quite passionate and excited about their newly found growing interest in “High BRIX” gardening.
They let me in on a little bit and as I enquired more they began to freely share a few things they had learned about agriculture. They touched on methods they came across that shows how to produce, what I like to refer to as, “beyond organics” fruit and vegetables (high quality nutrient dense produce) also known as “High BRIX” something developed by a brilliant agricultural scientist and gospel medical missionary evangelist Dr. Carey Reams. In fact Reams served dual professions as an agricultural consultant and physician, which contributed to his understanding of a link between human health and soil health.It’s important to recognize that while organic food seems to be all the rave at the moment, and admittedly does have the advantage of being pesticide free, the down side is that it may not have been picked ripe, not always fresh and it is not always high as it should be in nutrient value. How does one know then? If you want to determine the nutrient quality of produce, you can measure it by a surprisingly inexpensive refractrometer. You simply place a drop of liquid juice from any fresh fruit or vegetable produce onto a glass panel and then look through the eyepiece of a small barrel-like tube which houses a prism. The refracted light coming through gives you a reading from a scale of 0 - 30 indicating whether the fruit or vegetable is of a high nutrient/carbohydrate density or lower on the scale. I have measured organic food and some of it measures quite poorly. On the other hand, we measured one of our South Bank Outreach Ministry partner’s kiwi fruits that he grows in his back yard in good soil. It came out at a whopping big 26 which is “excellent” for kiwi. My next-door neighbor Roy gave me some ladyfinger bananas from his back yard. They are among the sweetest most delicious bananas I have ever tried. I mashed a small portion to liquefy it placed a tiny bit on the glass screen and not surprisingly it measured 29! Therefore a refractrometer is a kind of ‘litmus test’ and a very handy instrument to have.
The next day when I asked my friends more questions, they made reference to a film called “Back To Eden” – not to be confused with Jethro Kloss’s old book. They had a copy of it on DVD so I said, “Well let’s put it on”!
From the first 5 or 10 minutes into the film I was well and truly hooked. The more I watched the more I was blown away by the concepts. And, the evidence was there. Even surprising myself, you could say I was radically “converted” to the subject of self-sustainable agriculture. This documentary features a large-hearted Christian gentleman by the name of Paul Gautschi. I liken him to an ‘agricultural evangelist.
CLICK HERE to watch "Back To Eden."
Back to Eden is timely, interesting, challenging and inspiring. I viewed it about 3 or 4 times and will probably view it again. Not only is it “down to earth” and practical, it is very spiritual! (Paul seems to really exhibit righteousness by faith in both character and practical life. The film is a tremendous witnessing tool I have taken advantage of. I feel comfortable handing it out to just about anybody because everyone can relate to food!)
Pulpit In the Garden: Mr. P. Gautschi developed a phenomenal garden that people from all different parts of the U.S. come to visit and learn from. Paul is a born again Christian who teaches wonderful object lessons from his extraordinary productive garden that he says "gets more productive each year"!!! In a non-offensive way, Paul boldly challenges traditional agricultural practices. He and other gardening experts featured on Back to Eden believe that typical, almost global, farming methods are largely responsible for the loss of much of the world’s precious topsoil. Farmers typically don’t understand, or see, the need for a “covering”. (I don't say this to belittle or criticise farmers. Many are only following what they were taught was best just like dentists were led to believe toxic mercury Amalgam was safe to place in cavities, Doctors are taught to prescribe poisonous drugs to sick people, or ministers are taught that the wicked will burn in hell-fire for eternity, farmers were taught to do what they do today. Traditions may appear harmless, whether they be passed down through religion, medicine or even agriculture. Yet they almost always lead to emotional or physical consequences.)
What is interesting, is the providential way in which Paul came to the knowledge of this necessary “covering” principle. In the way he came to this realization, it could be said of him “I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Galatians1: 12. Paul didn't pick up on this method from an agricultural science class or a textbook. Here is how it all came about.
“After years of back-breaking toil in ground ravaged by the effects of man-made growing systems, Paul Gautschi has discovered a taste of what God intended for mankind in the garden of Eden. Some of the vital issues facing agriculture today include soil preparation, fertilization, irrigation, weed control, pest control, crop rotation, and PH issues. None of these issues exist in the unaltered state of nature or in Paul's gardens and orchards.
"Back to Eden" invites you to take a walk with Paul as he teaches you sustainable organic growing methods that are capable of being implemented in diverse climates around the world.” – Vimeo Video Description
Wearing Out Shovels: Growing up, Paul along with his siblings, “wore out several shovels” gardening the usual way under the guidance of their father. And sure, they did have a good garden. However, years later as an adult, like good Adventist’s do, Paul (a non-SDA) followed the “blue print” by leaving the city for a quiet rural area. He purchased a property in Washington to establish a home on a large piece of land to establish his own garden. And this is where the turning point began. One day while walking out on his property, the thought came to him, ‘why do I have to spend so much time digging, composing, fertilizing and weeding to get a nice garden, only to find next year I have to follow the same process all over again?! There has to be a better way’. (And I guess that’s why I, along with many others, always make excuses as to why we don’t garden. When most of us see the amount of time others invest in gardening we certainly admire them but think to ourselves, I don’t have that much time – or at least we don’t want to make the time.) But there is a better way! It does not eliminate the need for effort and work but it greatly reduces it.
The Turning Point: One day as Paul looked at the majestic pine trees at the boarder of his property, it occurred to him that no one is cultivating them and they are so tall, strong, beautiful, majestic and flourishing. And then compelled by curiosity he went over to explore these stately trees and enquire of God as to “Why?!!!!” He recounts how he looked to ground surface above their roots system and he says “a thought struck him like a bolt from the blue”. Maybe the reason as to why these trees are thriving is because of the “covering”. The ground surface was springy and soft – a natural build-up of pine needles, fallen branches, bracken, twigs and other decaying matter that provided a natural covering of protection for these tree’s foundation. This can be seen in forests. In untouched nature, one can discover a very natural uncontrived “armour” of protection. And this “revelation” was enough to revolutionize P.G’s thinking and this led him to do things in a very different way – always providing a covering of some kind in his garden. Generally, when things are done intelligibly, a covering protects from the harsh sun in summer, greatly minimizes the need for irrigating and perhaps most important of all, keeps the soil aerated (oxygenated) and the microbial world/activity high. I am not going to mention what Paul’s favorite unconventional form of covering is because I want you to view Back to Eden for yourself!
Today the quality of his outstanding productive garden testifies to the wisdom of doing things the ORIGINAL (pre-curse/pre-sin), “no-dig”, Edenic way. At first this even challenged the very few gardening ideas in my mind – and therefore I guess it might even more so challenge more experienced gardeners reading this and maybe even cause them to question what I’m attempting to convey here. (I’m still open to correction if need be.)
I would encourage those, and others, to view the whole film as Paul, parents and their children who followed his methods, and a few agricultural scientists, explain the whole process, and much more, with better clarity and in more detail than I can. To the gardeners I dare to say, I am sure you will gain something fresh and new to you.
“It Tastes So Sweet!”: To give you an idea of what’s in store, I ask, do you know anyone with a veggie patch that grows parsley and asparagus that actually tastes sweet?!!! Here's what the film's Co-Producer says,
“We pull up and the first thing Paul does is he began a tour. And it started with eating raw asparagus in the morning, at 8:00, …… and it was just amazing, I’d never had asparagus that was so sweet, so tender, so juicy. I felt like I was eating candy for breakfast and it was the very opposite of any experience I’d had before of eating asparagus, it’s usually tough and bitter and really has no flavor. And we began tasting and seeing from Paul’s garden and that was day 1.” - Sarah A. Zentz, Co-Director and Co-Producer
Well, Paul Gautschi does! Even children and adults that don’t normally like veggies, because they sometimes taste little better than cardboard, love to visit Paul’s garden and nibble his produce – and it tastes so good some of them can’t stop eating it! And he is so passionate about gardening that he literally welcomes people to his property and enjoys seeing people tasting produce. The quality is so good that one lady/garden enthusiast commented, “I haven’t tasted anything like this for a long time!!!” so you could imagine the nutrient content. Paul loves to freely give of his abundance that he states the Lord has lavished upon him.
Grow Your Supplements In Your Garden! One reason I have included this is because although I’m not much of a gardener I do have a great interest in health, wellness and dis-ease prevention. This naturally came about due to having to find a way to combat and conquer a history of debilitating Crohn’s colitis and CFS. (I praise the Father that through MUCH research, providential leading, very careful lifestyle practices and a collaboration of very specific protocols, I consider myself about at least 90% recovered (symptom free with better vitality and strength.) From all the research I have gathered over the years, in putting the pieces of the dis-ease epidemic puzzle together, I strongly believe the world needs a health revolution based upon better agricultural practices. Our world not only desperately needs a mental and emotional revolution through the power of the gospel, as foreshadowed in Eden, and desperately needs an agricultural farming revolution in going “Back to Eden”! Millions of people take multi vitamin mineral supplements for the primary reason they are simply not getting what they need from commercially grown food. And although many would argue that taking supplements is good and necessary in today’s world, (I take them) I would argue this practice is expensive and is not ideal. It would far better and more natural to get our supplements in our food – and in that case our “medicine” would never taste better!!! I think many of us would agree we may need to realize the fact that by our typical eating habits, even though we include what is considered well balanced and “healthy”, if we consume commercial produce we can no longer say “Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food”. That’s the unfortunate reality. Sure, a minimally processed, fresh well balanced vegetarian, or almost vegetarian, diet is far better than what many ordinarily eat - but it is still not ideal.
Reality Check: Many SDA’s (I guarantee you know some) are still plagued by various illnesses – often caused by specific nutrient deficiencies. And we need to recognize these illnesses are not necessarily because they neglected exercise, not because they neglected to trust in divine power, not because they are emotionally/psychologically toxic and certainly not because they are smoking or drinking! Genes comes into the picture, inherited vitality…. etc. comes into the picture, even one’s attitude negatively or positive impacts ones health but we cannot blame these contributors to dis-ease. It is questionable that these are the primary causative factors. Animals don’t have an “attitude” problem and yet extensive studies have indicated when they die prematurely it is very often because of nutrient deficiencies.
We cannot continue to deny the fact numerous scientific studies indicate for the most part, the soil is deficient – largely due to unwise agriculture methods that leaves the soil exposed – and to me (a non-gardener) it all makes sense and this practice is as crazy and unfortunate as a bird without feathers, a fish without scales, a house without a roof, a farmer in the hot sun without a hat or a human without protective skin! Almost everything needs a covering of protection to keep it healthy and safe from the elements.
In Edenic glory, Adam and Eve were commissioned to “dress and keep” the garden. This denotes a “covering”. As Paul Gautschi points out, it was only when “sin entered the world” (Romans 5:12) and man became “disconnected” from God that it was at that point he began to till the soil. (Genesis 4:2)
Here are a few examples in Scripture of Various Coverings
· The roof of Noah’s ark: Protection from the torrential rain (Genesis 8:13)
· Clothing: Protection from the cold or heat (Exodus 22:27; Job 24:7)
· Blankets: To keep one warm at night (Isa 28:20)
· Ark of the Covenant: To keep safe (Exodus 25:20)
· Covered the Old Covenant Sanctuary (goats hair, rams skins dyed red, badgers skins): (Exodus 26:7,14)
· Covered all the vessels of the sanctuary during Israel’s journeying’s (Exodus 4:10)
· Cloth of blue covered the golden altar during their Journeying’s: (Numbers 4:6,12)
· Protected Holy vessels, and water, from impurities: (Numbers 19:15; 2 Samuel 17:19)
· Clouds: Protection from the harsh desert sun (Psalm 105: 39)
· Woman’s hair: Symbol of humble submission and being subject to God’s protective blessing and grace (1 ..Corinthians 11:15)
· Covering from shame and nakedness: (Genesis 9:23)
· Covering from the shame of spiritual nakedness (Ezekiel 16:8; Revelation 3:18)
· Clothing of beautiful fine linen and silk signifying Christ’s righteousness (Exodus 16:10; Revelation 19:8))
· Cancellation or concealment of sin: (Psalm 85:2)
· The protection of a fetus in its mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13)
· God’s helmet of salvation: Protection from evil: (Psalm 140:7)
· God’s righteousness: (Psalm 61:10)
We all need the covering of Christ – the garment of His protective righteousness – and the earth’s soil eroded farmlands need a protective covering. There is way too much spiritual nakedness and there is far too much farmland nakedness. Conventional farmers, and even organic growers, have a hard time in attempting to get their gardens and farms to produce because they have overlooked the one Edenic principle of the covering. And what conventional farmers do produce it is usually only by saturating weak deficient plants with chemical laden pesticides in order to keep pests at bay and from doing what God designed them to do – gobble up dead or dying plants that should be otherwise. Pests don’t touch healthy high-density plants only weak deficient ones.
An Agricultural Symphony Versus “Heavy Metal” Mayhem! The growth and quality of plants is like an orchestra playing a beautiful symphony. The nutrients can be likened to the musicians. All the musicians need to be there. When some are missing, even if it's just one or two, the music might sound the same to an untrained ear, however, a music connoisseur will pick up on it - the same with fruits and veggies. The insects can be likened to the connoisseurs of the vegetable kingdom. Fruits and vegetables might appear okay but in the absence of perfect harmony when a couple of nutrients are missing, unless too much "heavy metal" spray was used (pesticides containing cadmium, mercury, lead...), these useful critters instinctively will know and they will remove them from their flagging disharmonious stage performance– they dispose them! But when the "heavy metal" Mayhem is too much, they may not go near them while we humans think nothing of eating them!
It is the will of the Father and His only begotten Son that in our Christian experience, through their power and grace, we bare “much fruit” of righteousness (the fruit of character) that the Father and Son might be glorified (John 12:24;15:5,8). It is my prayer that we can learn how to translate this spiritual principle into the natural world that physically, to a greater or lesser degree, nourishes and sustains us. It is my newly borne desire and prayer (my “dream”) that the witnessing non-churched world would not only hear the gospel but have a practical illustration of it in “much fruit” of such superior quality and even quantity that will make them wonder and marvel as people do in Paul Gautschi’s garden and as some experienced years ago in Ellen G. White’s peach orchard.
We are to “deal thy [spiritual and physical] bread to the hungry” in today’s spiritual famine (Isaiah 58:7; Amos 8:11). It is my conviction and observation we are in a famine resulting from improper modern farming practices where there is a great lack of high nutrient dense food – food simply the way God originally designed it should be. Without intending to be facetious, maybe the reason why the major supermarket “Safeway” changed its name to “Woolworth's” is because it was not really a safe way to buy your fruits and vegetables. But we can no longer afford to have the “wool” pulled over our eyes either! What a blessing to be able to learn how to grow superior produce and share our bounties with others. Then we can say even more effectively and positively, “Taste and see that the Lord is good” to awaken a genuine desire in others for the spiritual.
I have added a new dream to my short list; to one day visit Paul Gautschi's garden :-)
Closing Prayer: Father forgive us ALL. Forgive us for our foolishness and depending on man and not You for knowledge and wisdom. Forgive us for following the crowd. Cover us with you forgiving and empowering grace and righteousness. May we swell the message to cause an agricultural revolution, a message that would revolutionize the way people think about Agriculture. Let us pray for the farmers who, to a great degree, hold the key that depending on whether or not it is used can make a significant difference in the world in terms of impacting peoples health. So let us share this information with our fellow man as you Holy Father have “unleashed” this knowledge upon your children at a time when it is needed most. You have provided an example of a little taste of heaven for which we long for. Thank you Oh righteous Father for moving upon the heart of Paul Gautschi. We are so grateful he is an example of a faithful messenger employing illustrations from the natural world to illustrate the higher world to the non-churched who come and visit his Eden-like garden home. All praise and glory to you Father. We are so grateful you have promised to restore our broken lives and hearts, to cover the shame of our nakedness and to restore and heal our land as well. Amen.
Father I pray that the world would desire the things of the spiritual just as you are creating a desire in us for good things in the natural.
Father, I pray that the non-churched would desire your righteousness. I pray that they would long to experience your kingdom of grace and glory. I pray you would awaken in them that burning desire - just as you have awakened in me (even a non-gardener at heart) a desire to, in your perfect time and perfect way, big or small, cultivate a garden to your glory. Thank you that You grow and change us so that we hate the things we once loved and love the things we once hated. Amen.