Monoculture Farming and the Sabbatical Year
I was reading articles the other day and came across an article from Natural News called “Almost everyone is deficient and you can die without it: Potassium”
The first line of the article says:
“Due to the poor monoculture farming practices of Big Ag, most of the topsoil for plant based foods has been depleted of key minerals over the past 100 years.”
I had no idea what “monoculture farming” was so I looked it up!
“Monoculture is the agricultural practice of producing or growing a single crop or plant species over a wide area and for a large number of consecutive years.”
Notice how unhealthy the soil looks!
The first thing that popped into my head was, “You know, I bet that is why God commanded to let the land have a Sabbath every seven years!”
We often discard God’s commands as “no longer relevant in modern society” but I have the mindset that, “God is smarter than we are!” and maybe, just maybe, He knew to keep a happy healthy earth full of minerals and vitamins that transfer to our veggies and in return it helps keep us happy and healthy, then we needed to let it lay at rest every seven years for a whole year so that the nutrients would have a chance to return to the soil.
I looked into this farming method a bit more… Union of Concerned Scientists wrote this in an article about industrial agriculture.
“Monoculture farming relies heavily on chemical inputs such as synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. The fertilizers are needed because growing the same plant (and nothing else) in the same place year after year quickly depletes the nutrients that the plant relies on, and these nutrients have to be replenished somehow. The pesticides are needed because monoculture fields are highly attractive to certain weeds and insect pests.”
Just as I expected… Monoculture farming is causing a vicious cycle. They over farm the land that in turn needs to have synthetic fertilizers added to it so they can farm it again causing it again to need the synthetic fertilizer… this all causes insects to plague the fields of the unhealthy plants so that the farmers then have to spray toxic chemicals on our food. Chemicals that actually cause the insects stomach to explode! I am sure by now you have heard about GMO health risks. The real question is:
What can we do about it?
I suggest growing as much of your own food as possible, and eating organic foods when you can! We should turn our backyards into gardens. We should use organic heirloom seeds that haven’t been modified in anyway so that you can start out with the best, healthiest plants to grow food from.
My family is in the process of switching over and doing just that ! We always till in organic compost and we rotate our crops and practice companion planting such as “Three Sister Planting” when possible. We use organic “pesticides” made from essential oils along with predatory insects to rid our garden of harmful insects and we use heirloom non-GMO organic seeds.
My husband and I also have decided to start giving our small garden a Sabbath Rest as commanded.
”For six years you shall sow your field, and for six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its fruits, but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the LORD. You shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard.”
We feel that not only will it help scientifically by allowing the land to restore its nutrients, but spiritually God will bless our obedience.
The next scheduled “Sabbatical Year” falls from Sept. 25, 2014 through Sept. 13, 2015 (Shemitah 101The Sabbatical Year- Chabad.org) So after the harvest in the fall of this year, we will add our organic compost to the ground one last time and till the garden under then wait. Spring of 2016 we will then begin farming once again.
Five things we do to maintain an organic healthy garden:
Compost is a decayed mixture of plants (such as leaves and grass) that is used to improve the soil in a garden. A garden tends to zap the “good stuff” a.k.a nutrients from the ground, by adding the decayed plant matter from a compost bin into your garden it replenishes these nutrients so you have healthier happier plants.
Seeds Now has this (and many more) great articles on “How to Build a Great Compost Pile!”
We buy our seeds from “SeedsNow.com.”(affiliate link) They have the best organic non-GMO seeds out there! They even stopped selling corn seeds because of the high likely-hood the corn plants could be cross pollinated with GMO corn and may have their purity compromised! I find that very honorable and makes me feel confident they are selling me the absolute best product on the market!
Use discount code: SAVE5NOW It will take $5 off any order over $30. Plus get free shipping when you spend $40 or more.
Beneficial Insects are a great way to combat the harmful insects in your garden! My son, an avid insect lover, has studied the benefits of different types of insects and how they interact with the garden. Of course ladybugs and praying mantises are the first to come to mind with you think of beneficial insects but what my son discovered were that wasps hunt bugs and feed insects to their larva! We especially noticed them on our pecan trees hovering and hunting for the “web worm” caterpillars. I suggest leaving wasp nests alone when you can and let them do what nature intended them to do, rid your garden of pests.
Essential Oils for your Garden
Here are a few recipes to try on your garden (if you aren’t into insects)
Essential Oil Spray — 4-8 drops of the essential oils to 1 gallon of water or 10 drops to 20 gallon hose end sprayer. Spray onto flowers, fruits, and vegetables.
List of Natural Insect Repellants: (affiliate links included)
EEL WORM: Tagetes
- FLIES: Citronella, Peppermint, or Lavender
- GNATS: Spearmint or Patchouli, Citronella, or Tagetes
- GREEN FLY: Lavender, or Tagetes
- LICE: Spearmint, Peppermint, Cedarwood, or Pennyroyal
Much of the essential oil information was obtained from The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy it’s a really great book, a “must have” in your home library!
You can hang strips of fabric dripped with 1-2 drips of EOs in trees or tie strings dipped in EOs throughout your garden to deter flying insects.
Cotton balls dripped with EOs and place them in animal burrows and nests to make them relocate.
Pick 3-4 oils that deter the insects infecting your garden mix them into one “wide coverage” spray and grab the end of hose sprayer and get the job done in one fatal swoop.
In an article called “Dirt Cheap” by Richard Palmer he states:
“God’s law doesn’t give us all the details we need to be successful farmers. But without keeping these laws, we cannot maintain healthy and productive soils. This land sabbath was probably a time to allow plants that put nitrogen back into the soil to grow, and let animals fertilize the land with their microbe-rich manure. The soil even benefits from just being left still. The microbes can grow much faster without the physical disruption that comes from plowing the fields and sowing seeds.
“The Earth is not merely some resource to be used and abused. If we want to live on the land, it is our responsibility to let it rest. The Torah warns us that if we fail to keep the mitzvah of shmita, “Then the land shall enjoy her Sabbaths” — when we are expelled from it and it lies barren. This is a consequence, for the Earth will rest regardless of our actions. If we want to live on this land and receive sustenance and protection, we must internalize the responsibilities of being in a relationship.”
I couldn’t agree more, it is OUR responsibility to be good stewards of the land in which we inhabit! With great privilege comes great responsibility. It is our great privilege that God created us and it is our great responsibly to sustain it.
Blessings to you,
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Sources and References:
Fassa, Paul. “Almost Everyone Is Deficient and You Can Die without It: Potassium.” NaturalNews. N.p., 18 Mar. 2014. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.
“Monoculture.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 21 Feb. 2014. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.
“Industrial Agriculture.” Union of Concerned Scientists. N.p., 12 Aug. 2012. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.
Worwood, Valerie Ann. The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy. San Rafael, CA: New World Library, 1991. Print.
Richard, Palmer. “Dirt Cheap.” TheTrumpet.com. N.p., Apr. 2014. Web. 01 Apr. 2014.
Sendor, Rabbi Noam Yehuda. “Let the Land Rest: Lessons from Shemita, the Sabbatical Year (Longer Article).” Jewcology. Rabbi Noam Yehuda Sendor, n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.
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