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Re-Learning Our ABCs

John Dysinger


John Dysinger

Bountiful Blessings Farm




  • February 8, 2018
    2:45 PM
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OK so I am going to just spend a few minutes giving you a little of my background so you understand where I'm coming from but first of all how many of you are involved with the school either OK that's everybody I know there's a few homeschoolers here but this is definitely geared more for schools although I think homeschoolers could learn from it as well but. I just want to help you to see I'm one of you. I. I am blessed to have a family with a rich background in self-supporting work. Many of my relatives went to Madison My grandfather was a trader Madison My father went to high school Madison. In fact a story I love is my grandmother's brother so I guess that's my great uncle so right. The story is that he grew a field of watermelons out in Chico California with the goal of raising enough money to go to Madison and he sold enough watermelons to pay for his trip across country and he arrived at Madison with five dollars in his pocket or something they didn't know he was coming he knocked on the door basically and said I'm here to get an education and they took him in that was the beauty of Madison you didn't have to have money if you were willing to work they'd take you in and he went through Madison and went on to his start a number of self-supporting institutions. Another one of his brothers Ralph Martin also went to Madison and went on to start self-supporting institutions so I have a very deep interest and background in self-supporting work I went to little creek academy which is no more but at the time it was a wonderful place to go was self-supporting school a satellite daughter institution of Madison and it changed my life I sometimes wonder where I would be if it wasn't for my four years at Little Creek and I know the Lord used in my life. Went on to Southern got a degree in education and my wife and I were privileged after graduation from southern to go to Kenya as a teacher at Maxwell administrate Cademy for six years as a school. Set up for missionaries children missionaries are children of the missionaries from all over Africa so that was a unique and. Growing experience working in a boarding academy setting for six years came back got a master's in education from Andrews and then taught in in one room elementary school for two years. And then it's too long a story to tell now but we felt the Lord was calling me to come home to be more home based and so I quit my job and the Lord led us into agriculture that's the short version and we've been farming for the last twenty years about a full blessings farm just about three and a half hours from here in middle Tennessee so I I feel like I'm an educator at heart. And so I'm going to say some things that I hope are going to challenge you but I don't want you in any way to think that I'm looking down or condemning or anything like that because I'm one of you. And we need to be challenge right. Challenge brings growth so so I want to challenge you challenge me. So again for those who came in a little later we got two parts the SAF to noon the first one is intitled as you see re learning our A.B.C.'s The challenges and solutions of implementing agriculture in our schools and and again I I'm sharing my observations and what I think are solutions I'm not in any way claiming that I have all the solutions to the challenges there are there are big challenges. And then the second part is going to be agriculture in our schools making it work where I'm going to try to get a little more down to earth show you some methods some techniques some tools that I believe can make any of your schools help them have a successful agriculture program so that's the second part and then we're going to end with a list from Heritage Academy sharing I had the privilege of working with them this year to try to implement some of these ideas at Heritage and you know it has had a few bumps in the road but overall I feel positive about the first year's experience there so we'll have a real life case study of what can be done so that's the plan for the afternoon hopefully we can and in time for some questions I like for audio versus a to save questions as much as possible to the and because it really messes up the recording otherwise but that's our plan so let's jump in. Really learning our A.B.C.'s challenges and solutions this is a how many of you know this quote If you don't you should be working the soil this is from six volume of the testimonies page one seventy nine working the soil is one of the best kinds of employment calling the muscles into action and resting the mind study in agricultural lines should be the A B. and C. of the education given in our schools this. Is. A very important work that should be entered upon that what it says no it says this is the very first work that should be entered upon So I want to have a little bit of discussion here what does that mean to you what does that say to you. Should be upright it should be the priority. Or. The. First one first earlier or. For. Every day. OK. There's a lot that it doesn't say I mean in other words you could read into it from from different angles but if something is that A B. and C.. What what does that get across to you. Beginning foundational. It's foundational to education. So I feel like we can at least take that much from it. Now it's not that aid is easy we need to be clear on that you know there's more to true education than agriculture right so we're not trying to say agriculture is the solution but. As I read it. It's supposed to be foundational to our education. Again I want to be sensitive because I know old that there are there are huge challenges to implementing this and so that's what we're going to look about here but well I'll just ask you and you can you can. Answer in your own mind is that how your school is is agriculture the A B. and C. of the education at your school. OK so I'm going to look at fifteen reasons fifteen challenges to agriculture in our institutions and this first one I notice there's a couple and ors I'm suggesting we really don't believe the inspired Council. And or we are making decisions based on circumstances and principle and or we don't know how to implement that council. Now I don't believe any of you here fit into the first category at least I hope not because you know I think this is pretty much all self-supporting schools right. And I know. You wouldn't be into it. You wouldn't be there if you didn't believe in this inspired council so I really don't think it's the first one. And I hope it's not the second one although I do know how. Life can start running you instead of you running life. But I hope we're not making decisions based on circumstances and principle because that never. Really. Brings satisfaction that never brings fulfillment so I'm suspecting that for all of you it's probably more the third one that you just haven't been able to wrap your mind around how to implement it how do we take this council that says agriculture should be. Foundational the A.B. and C. of our education and how do we implement and if that's the case I hope that I can bring some encouragement today because I do feel like there's some fairly simple. Answers I don't know simple is probably too. Simple a term very few simple things in life but there are some I mean there's yeah we'll just keep going second challenge parents and students don't value an agricultural education. You know. We of course ran into this maybe even more so in Africa or some cultures and it's the same here in the States but I think it's maybe more obvious in other cultures the whole mentality is we want our kids to get educated so they don't have to wield a shovel right we want them to have a respectable job. Something where people will look up to them. And you know it's probably a little more subtle here but the bottom line is you know if a parent says well my child is a farmer. That's not quite the same as saying well my child is a doctor or my child as a pastor. There is something about. Manual labor that is viewed as degrading in our society and it's killing us literally. You know we've got all the obesity epidemic and all of that you know we're not we're not physical enough. Our education is not balanced enough between the mental the physical and the spiritual So this is a big challenge because you know if the parents and students don't want it how do we make it work I'm actually going to kind of go through these quickly and then we're going to come back and revisit them. Teachers and administrators are often leading by example were when was it. I get confused with all the things I've heard here but somebody was talking about this. I guess it was this morning. I had a quote about how teachers should be out there. School farms are viewed as a money making industry rather than a foundational part of true education I see this is a big problem. This is huge the lack of educated farmers a number five you know I get calls all the times thing do you know of somebody you can recommend to come help us. And I usually have to say you know I wish I did Number Six institutional farmers do not have skin in the game. You know what that means. If the crops don't work they still get a paycheck at the end of the month. Number seven farmers are handicapped or sometimes handcuffed by changing administration budget constraints and other challenges out of the farmers' control. Number eight lack of continuity in the garden farm plan we've all seen this one person comes in oh man I've read this book we're going to go square foot gardening you know let's tear out all this other stuff this is the way we're going to do it and they last a year or two in the next person comes oh no we're not doing that way let's do it this way of course they're never going to get ahead because you're inventing the wheel every few years. Number nine the school calendar in traditional agricultural calendar did not mesh well you know traditionally you're planting. You know this part of the country April May and that's right when school's getting out then well who's going to take care of it to the faculty have to have a break I know how intense that can be. Ten vacations mission trips another school activities interfere with the consistency needed in a garden or a farm you can't tell the plants you know we're going to go away for a week just hang in there will be back in a week. It doesn't work that way number eleven the school day is already filled with other classes and activities how can you add anything more you know I look at the schedules the school and I understand you've got to keep the kids busy the devil finds work for idle hands to do but how do you fit something new. Into an already full schedule twelve the decision makers do not fully understand the difference between cheap food in real food you know this is. Something that I it's a little bit of one of my. Bandwagons But you know we think a carrot is a carrot. But there's a big difference between a store bought conventional carrot and a home grown mineralized organic here. And I believe that it's not just the taste difference I believe that if we had more real food in our cafeterias we would see differences in a lot of areas. Student Health so on. Thirteen cafeteria cooks do not have time and or knowledge in how to prepare garden fresh food takes more work you know just opening up a salad already chopped from Cisco is you know a ten second job. Preparing a salad from the garden is work OK So we looked at some of this this morning I'm so thankful the schedule got rearranged so I could attend. But there are government regulations that are. Challenging. And then the last one I have is lack of funding. So that's fifteen can you think of more I'm sure there are more any more that are on the top of your head so again I just want to emphasize I am in no way looking down on you because I've been there I know what it's like and these are not easy challenges these are real challenges and so I understand why they're there but I would like to go back and look at them and see if we can come up with some suggested solutions somebody tell me again when this and's four thirty. This is a long one somehow so. When I start seeing too many people. I had a teacher in college who would just call you out by name and say Rob Go get a drink. And that did a good job of waking you not only getting up and getting a drink but. The humiliation of being called so it works. OK so I've kind of lumped these into different groups in the first group I would say you know dealing with philosophy ideology paradigms challenges and solutions back to that first one again I hope it's not the first thing that we don't believe the inspired counsel now you know I have heard people say well that was you know that was for the eighteen hundreds early one thousand nine hundred were in the day and age of computers and you know you gotta translate it so you know technology is the A.B.C. of our education I don't go for that. So I trust you believe in the inspired Council. Again I understand that it's easy when you're in the midst of the school calendar to start kind of running on automatic and just trying to make it through one day at a time. And sometimes we can start making decisions based on circumstances but I think I know enough about some of the schools involved here that I know you take time does sit down and say OK let's look at the big picture where are we going here I know I know you are really doing your best to not be governed by circumstances so again I suspect that it's more just how do we do this it's great to say it's the foundation but how do we do this we've tried in the past it didn't work what are we going to do and so then the parents and students you know I'm I'm lumping that in here it's it's a matter of changing our mindset if this is truly foundational we just need to figure out how to make it work so I'm suggesting and again I realize that this can be kind of almost sounds trite but we need to study the councils as schools and families and move forward based on faith and circumstances. Have any of you seen this. Councils on agriculture. This is something that I compiled a few years ago but census all Ellen White quotes I can promote it unashamedly. I tried to be as exhaustive as I could going through Mrs White's writings on agriculture and pulling them all out because I felt like if people could read them in their totality they would either have to be faced with you know we've got to figure out how to make this work or you know they can reject it that's their choice but she has so much to say about agriculture. You know and this is this is not even you know this is quotes that have specific agricultural language this is not brown quotes like manual labor which of course many times was referring to agriculture but this is only quotes with. Agricultural language and so it's a topical compilation God's plan for man promises for the agricultural as a call for Christian farmers agriculture at home agriculture in our schools agriculture in our health care institutions agriculture from ministers another gospel workers physical been. If it's of Agriculture spiritual lessons from agriculture agriculture in the last days and then the last chapter is really a fun one Ellen White Lead by example just lots of diary entries of her garden she was a passionate gardener you know she talks about coming home at way after dark with some some plants that she wanted to plant and her companions were telling her now we need to go to bed and she says no I'm going to plant these tonight. So she's out there by candlelight. Planting her plants and then it rained that night and she said I'm so glad I did so it's it's really inspiring she had a commercial farm you know that at ELMS haven she had a large farm she had a farmer also at Sunnyside in. In Australia So anyway I again you know there are two more compilations to me this is an indication that God wants agriculture to come back into prominence in Adventism because for you know how many years has it been since he died one hundred three years. For one hundred three years there was. Nothing on agriculture as far as you know trying to pull stuff together. And then within six months three different compilations came out. All independently impressed to do it. That tells me something there's one David over Miller out in California has one called the Green print the unique thing about that is it's a chronological compilation. And then there's one called Hope in the soil which is. Lady up in Michigan put together I would say the unique thing about this is trade tried to take everything back to its original sources. There's no quoting from compilations here it's all going back to the original manuscripts and documents. So anyway we just need to we need to understand what God has said through his prophet and I believe as we study this as schools. You know in worship's or whatever and try to help the parents and the young people see the big picture this is not just about learning how to plant a seed and watching a plant grow this is so much more than that. And we'll talk more about that as we go along. OK teachers and administrators are often leading by example you know I understand you're busy. How can you add anything more. But this is where I say. You know there's principals involved here we've got to figure out how to make it work if the kids see you out there. Scuse me. In the garden that's going to be inspiring to them and the other thing is. And again I think Scott talked about this this morning in the UK I heard of his but. Where do you have the biggest impact with your students OK it's usually not in the classroom and sometimes it can be but when I look back at my academy experience at Little Creek the times that really stick out to me where I felt really bonded with the faculty was when we were working together. And you know you feel like you can just open up more you know there they kind of come down to your level and you're working together to solve thing it's incredibly powerful platform for ministry for witnessing. And that's not going to happen if you're in your office and you're saying you know go out to the garden and we're guys. There's lots of quotes but here's one manuscript eight B.. Let the teachers in our schools take their students with them into the gardens and fields and teach them how to work the soil in the very best manner both teachers and students would have much more healthful experience in spiritual things now you know well let's finish the quote we can come back and much stronger minds in pure hearts to interpret eternal mysteries than they can have while studying books so constantly and working the brain without taxing the muscles. Do you believe it let's act on it. You know it would be one thing if she said they'll have much stronger bodies you know what you can understand that we're you're working physically but she says much more healthful experience in spiritual things. And much stronger minds and pure hearts to interpret eternal mysteries this one thing I just want to try to emphasize through this presentation is that it's so much more than just learning how to grow plants and I don't even comprehend it fully after twenty years of doing it I just look back and say Wow it's amazing but to try to explain it you know to see our children grow up in the garden in our children are far from perfect. So I'm not setting them up as the model but what we have seen in their lives. That has come out of the garden is very encouraging to us. OK school forms are viewed as a money making industry rather than an integral part of true education this is another one of my little pet platforms you know how many of you have English departments that are making money. OK What about history science any departments that are making money so somehow agriculture gets held to a higher standard agriculture has to make the school money even though it's foundational to education. But yet nothing else does is that fair now is there potential I'll tell you some when you know what right now is being made in this country on small farms I think it will blow you away and we'll talk more about that in the next three hundred fifty thousand dollars on an acre and a half. With hand tools no tractor no B.C.'s. That's what's being done in this country and I'm not suggesting you're going to go out and do this. But. All I'm trying to say is yes there's potential for making it money making but it's not going to start out that way here's a quote by the way what do you think is the biggest chapter in here. I read through them and I don't expect you to remember them all but actually the biggest one is spiritual lessons from agriculture you know that's that's huge and I didn't even try to get all these quotes there. But the next biggest chapter is agriculture in our schools she has more to say about agriculture in our schools than any other context. It's really important. I urge that our other schools be given encouragement in their efforts to develop plans for the training of the youth in agricultural and other lines of industrial work when in ordinary business pioneer work is done and preparation is made for future development there is frequently a financial loss and as our schools introduce manual training they too may at first incur a loss but let us remember the blessings that physical exercise brings to the students we must not be narrow in our plans in industrial training there are seen advantages which cannot be measured or estimated. Let no one begrudge the effort necessary to carry forward successfully the plan that for years has been urged upon us as of primary importance. I emphasize that sentence because. That's my experience. And I think we're not seeing that that this is something we have to accept by faith in industrial training there unseen advantages which cannot be measured or estimated. Only looking back can you see what it has done to young people and you know you. Who was talking about well I guess it was Deborah born with her talk about the alumnus from from Laurel Brook talking about the training in cleaning toilets. You know that. Had an impact on his life and has probably affected much of his choices in life but it was a simple instruction in cleaning toilets were how many of you were there for that. Many of you. Basically the message was the teacher or the work supervisor put a chocolate chip toilet. Chocolate chip cookie on the toilet seat. And said if this was clean like it should have been you'd have no problem eating this. So. You know if we come into agriculture from purely a well maybe this is the way to get our school out of debt or maybe this is the way to finance our school I think we're missing the boat yeah maybe down the road that can be a reality but we don't start there we do it because God said we should do it and we go forward by faith. OK so the second group of challenges I just I don't know if this is a good term but Farmer centric challenges and solutions. The lack of educated farmers. You know we've lost a generation. Our church was started by farmers largely. And. Now there are very few people that know anything you know less than well it's about one percent of the American population is involved in farming so basically we're illiterate when it comes to agriculture. And so how can we have successful farms you know we're having to start from scratch and I wish I could you know tell you a school where you can go and be educated to be a farmer I don't know of any advantage. We are doing. A very small part at our farm we have a six month the print to ship program every year where people can come and stay for six months and we try to give them exposure to every part of the agricultural process so that's our little part and then we're also involved I'll talk more about at Agra later on the admin is Agricultural Association we have a conference every year with all kinds of. Seminars practical seminars so we're trying but it doesn't happen overnight. It's a huge challenge it was a challenge even back in Mrs White's day which is interesting because at that time trying to remember the statistics now. Why no in one thousand nine hundred thirty I think I'm remembering correctly that thirty percent of the country was involved directly in agriculture and eight hundred twenty seven percent of the country was directly involved in agriculture so Mrs White lived kind of between that and the one nine hundred thirty it was down to like thirty percent now as I said it's one percent. But even in her day she says there's a great want of intelligent men to till the soil who'll be thorough this knowledge will not be a hindrance to the education essential for business or for usefulness in any line she's saying this is just good basic work ethic this is something that can apply no matter what you do to develop the capacity of the salt requires thought and intelligence tell you if you have the stereotype of the dumb farmer you've never farmed because it's the most challenging thing I've ever done in my life. You have to have a grasp of so many disciplines it's incredible not only will it develop muscle but capability for study because the taxation of brain and muscle is equalized we should so train the youth that they will love to work upon the land and delight in improving it. Oh I'd That's you know I love that picture. Kids are saying when can we get back out to the garden it's my favorite part of the day. So these are both from manuscript B. which in my opinion is Mrs White's seminal work on agriculture written in Australia the beginnings of Avondale men are wanted to educate others how to plow and how to use the implements of Agriculture who will be missionaries to do this work to teach proper methods to the youth and to all who feel willing and humble enough to learn so she's calling for farmers back then can you imagine. If she was living today are you. OK yeah that's a good point so well it's published now. Yeah it's so a lot of a lot of the quotes in this book. Are are were from previously unpublished documents so are you all familiar with the white writings dot org where you can go and search and there's a a neat little thing I wonder if I could just pull it. That sounds way too techie for me. But let me try. My computers old and slow anyway there's a really neat thing that I think a lot of people aren't aware of there where you can search by. This too small this year and they don't mess up. I don't know I'm going to get myself in charge here. Let me just I'll just tell you about it anyway under the search bar up in the corner you can choose. I think it's called lifetime works are you familiar with that. Where you can go in and click on Lifetime works and then it will eliminate all the compilations Zinny of you've ever searched Mrs White's writings you know that it can be daunting because there's hundreds of repeated quotes so if you get it now I will say even in the lifetime works you will find some repeats but it's much much less and it also give you the original sources. Well I think I think it's E.G. white E.G. W. writings. Yeah it that's a huge help in looking these things up and you can just type in the reference and. OK We looked at both of those didn't we. OK Let's talk about this institutional farmers do not have skin in the game they get a pay check whether the farm is succeeding or not. This to me I see is is a huge. Is a big challenge because. There's nothing quite so motivating then knowing that if you don't do your job right you're not going to have anything to eat this month or whatever you know what I'm saying so I feel in fact I kind of got this from Curtis Stone who will talk more about it later he's kind of the one of the most. Most well known up and coming farmers he just had a. He does a lot of videos on You Tube but he had a he had five reasons why nonprofits farms fail. And this was one of his main points. Institutional farmers and I have skin in the game and. Yeah when you know your livelihood is the pendant on you getting those crops covered you make sure they get covered. Where as if if you're being paid by the institution it's like well you know I'm busy and you know if they freeze. It's not a huge thing. So. You know that presents a unique challenge and I have some suggestions that we'll look at here in a minute farmers are often handicapped by changing administration budget constraints and other challenges out of their control I could tell you horror stories of institutions where a farmer had poured their life into it and a new administration came along and somebody hoodwinked them into thinking that they should go the way of hydroponics and I have made no secret that I don't believe hydroponics are Biblical and I would discourage you from going that way. They destroyed the infrastructure of the farm that had been built up by the blood and sweat of these farmers to farmers over the last five years and sold off the machinery. And then after all that decided after a while that I japonica maybe wasn't the way to go you know you can imagine if you're that farmer and you've invested so much to see that just go down the drain you think and. That institution came up to me not long ago and said Where do we find another farmer that I think you're going to have a hard time finding one. So you know you've got this tension between the administration who now of course it's nice when you have schools like watch where the administration. Is so consistent. And Harbor Hills actually I mean a lot of a lot of the schools in this area self-supporting schools have had some pretty consistent administration but you know. What ways the school going it kind of depends largely on who's in charge right. So when the next person comes along what happens to the farmer in the program this is big. Budget constraint you know you can't farm by committee sometimes you need something now. And you know if you're waiting for it to be approved by a committee. It may be too late so I realize that. Yeah I'm just going to get throw some suggestions out there and so this next one we talked a little bit about the lack of continuity you know the next farmer comes along and again I think this is largely because farmers and again this is no reflection on the institution but because it's so hard to find educated farmers the farmer is often the spouse of a teacher that they really needed and hired and so the spouse becomes the farmer and. He really doesn't know he or she really doesn't know what they're doing but they did read a book at one time and so that's what they think they should do and so you end up with. All kinds of ideas. That's a problem I've seen that over and over so this is this is radical but I and again it needs to be fleshed out and worked through a little bit more but I feel like the solution potentially is to have farmers and there are examples of this trying to work farmers have some kind of lease agreement or arrangement with the school and it could possibly you know be kind of payable in produce of the farmer agrees to provide the cafeteria with this much food on a regular basis but to have a little bit of autonomy where they can make what they feel is the best decision a course you know. The plan needs to be approved by the school you can have farmers go on whatever direction they want but the benefit to the school I think would be that they wouldn't have to fund the farm program the farmer is the pen. On his labor could that work I would challenge you to think about it you know that's a big incentive for the farmer to really put his heart and soul into it. OK yeah. Yeah so for audio verse the concern somebody is voicing is that that could potentially conflict with the goal of the school to to have students involved in the work program and I think that that that would you know obviously there are a lot of details that would have to be worked through but you would only hire. Or only. Contract with a farmer who had that mission mindset and knew that the goal was to involve the students. Yeah it you know old the. The thing is there's a lot of young farmers and we'll talk more about this there's been kind of a new generation of farmers that have inspired been inspired by these young farmers all tell you about next time unfortunately this at this point is largely out of Adventism but it's beginning to creep into Adventism So you have all these young farmers who are charged up about this it's like let's do it but it's daunting to start a farm from scratch. You know purchase land build infrastructure you know with what you know they're young they don't have one hundred thousand dollars saved up so you've got schools with the land with many of them with infrastructure with you know you telling me you've got hoop houses or green houses tattered plastic growing weeds it's all there so in my mind it's a win win you pair somebody who has the desire to farm with the infrastructure and say go for it and teach our kids you know let's let's work at this together. So again I realize there's a lot of fleshing out that this idea would have to have but I just I feel like maybe it's the only way. I should say the only way but maybe it's a good way to make it work you know and this. This farmer can. Be responsible for going on class trip since the of this farmer is the farm is his job his or her job. So if we have time we can talk more about some of these then I would like to suggest that we come up with some kind of standardization of a basic set of proven methods for continuity between farmers you know there are methods that I will talk to you about next time next session that. You know every farmer has their own little tweaks but it's the same method from farm to farm to farm thirty inch beds working them with broad forks. You know the spacings plant spacings and all of these things are. That's what is being used and it's there are thousands thousands of small farms across this country making it work and part of the reason why I know this is because my son my oldest son has a business called farmer's friend who is selling tools to these farmers specialized tools for small farms and his business is booming booming. He has you know thousands and thousands of customers on his data data bank that have bought these tools. And they're doing it successfully So you know I just want you to eradicate this idea from your mind that it can't be done you can't make money doing this or you can't it's just not working in this day and age because I will argue vehemently with you on that but I would like to to try to encourage people to move towards some sort of standardization you don't want to put people in a box but it's like let's you know this these methods are working let's start with something that has proven. And then if you want to experiment that's great but you know start with what's working. OK so let's move on to calendar schedule calendar slash schedule challenges and solutions Oh I love this one the school calendar in traditional agricultural calendar do not mesh well as as we said you know. The normal agricultural calendar in this part of the country April May is when you're planting out and then you're harvesting all the way through the summer and you might have a little harvesting to still do when the kids come back but who's running it all summer and. And you know if it's a skeleton crew how is that benefiting the larger student body. Well this is a really simple solution and I'll just show you this book Elliot Coleman we'll talk a little more about him later on Eliot Coleman is the acknowledged. What can I call him grandfather of the small farmer movement that's going on today the young guys also tell you about are they say you know we're standing on Elliott shoulders this guy's in his seventy's and now he's in Maine. And this book the winter harvests handbook tells you how he is growing all the way through the winter in Maine. In unheated hoop houses. No no high energy bills. And his point is if I can do it in Maine you can do it where you're at and there are now farms all over the country doing it I. We have family friends that used to come down to our farm almost every year from Michigan and you know this friend would say you know because we've done winter farming for since two thousand and three we grow all winter. And he'd say this is great you know but we couldn't do this in Michigan there's just not enough sunshine and it's too cold so one of these times I knew one of the one of the top names in winter growing is the. M.S. you Michigan state universe. Or city so one time we went up there in January and I said Hey come with me let's go visit and miss you so it was an incredible experience because we went there it was cold I think it was like ten degrees and snow on the ground and these hoop houses that look just barren and lifeless we go in there and in the hoop house there is a low cover floating row cover and we pulled up the floating row cover. And it was like spring lush green everywhere and it blew him away wow it can be done in Michigan can be done anywhere. We just went through the coldest January that I have ever experienced on the farm. And with simple low tech solutions are lettuce are carrots. I mean we lost a few things but our lettuce and carrots were still harvesting and giving to people after a week where it never got above freezing got down to zero degrees it's with no heat. Simple solutions so this this is a perfect fit I mean literally. The fall winter spring garden fits perfectly with the calendar year you start seeding as soon as the kids get back to school. In fact you know if if there's a farmer there over the summer it's nice to start seeding a little earlier and then they can start transplanting as soon as the kids get back go all winter in the spring you're planting you know. Well depending on when your graduation is you can have tomatoes ready before graduation out of a hoop house unheated who pals if your graduation is the end of May. You can grow spring transplants you know everybody wants to meet a plant and pepper plants and stuff comes spring so you you know that's you have the kids grow those in the spring and sell them and who wouldn't want to buy from a school knowing you're helping to support the school. I think there's tremendous potential here and to me this is the most exciting thing here just the paradigm shift forget the summer garden Well I mean if you have guard if you have a farmer and you have a crew great go for you know grow your tomatoes and everything but otherwise just grow a winter garden. It's a perfect fit all you need is a few hoop houses you don't even have to have those but that's ideal. What would you do for corn eggplant Well are you are you able to preserve them somehow. Obviously those you'd have to still grow in the summer. Yeah you were not trying to turn winter into summer were just growing crops and again we'll get into the details of that next session. But yeah if you know I know you know I know there's a whole canning issue with schools so I think there's no canning anymore right or. I would say you have. OK great. OK. OK So the question is you know can you have late crop of corn. Yes and No my experience is the early corn has the fewest worms and as as you go I mean theoretically you can have late corn but unless you're spraying it highly. I think you'd have a hard time getting it before the worms did. That's my experience okra you know okra will keep going till frog courses slows down quite a bit as the days cool so yeah if you have a way to can and freeze and you're in the habit of doing that you know I'm not suggesting you need to do away with the summer garden if you have that figured out keep it up you know in fact I think the ideal. Is that you have a spring and summer gardener and a fall and winter gardeners and they work together. But you know to go year round without a break for a farmer is more than I want to do it's you know it's intense enough that you need a break to catch your breath. But there are certainly ways that that could be done so you've got vacations mission trips and other school activities these are you know these are a lot of good things but. You can't just leave. The garden or farm so as I've already said somebody have somebody who doesn't need to go on those trips but let me tell you this is another incredible thing about the Winter Garden you. And leave for a week now the one thing you have to do is manage your row covers depending on the temperature so you've got to have somebody there to put row covers on and off but other than that. They're just going to sit there. And they'll be ready for you next week. We'd see everything slows down so yeah there are still some weeds you have your your chickweed in your hands bit and those kind of weeds but everything's poking along so there's not the intensity and urgency of a summer Guard we grew commercially for seven years grew a winter garden before we started growing summer commercially the first spring we were doing a summer garden I thought I was going to die. Because I was working all day and then it wasn't getting done so I you know done the headlamp and I'm out there at eleven o'clock at night trying to plant tomatoes spring is so intense and summer stays intense. So the fall and winter fall can be fairly intense because that's when you're doing the majority of your planting and stuff but it's nothing like spring the days are shortening everything slowing down rather than getting faster so it's so fun to plant in the fall. I'm I'm really excited about that. OK school day is already filled with other classes and activities how can you add anything more well here's a quote manuscript one o five eight hundred ninety eight there should be less study of books. And greater painstaking effort made to obtain that knowledge which is essential for practical life they use the art to learn how to work interestedly and intelligently that wherever they are they may be respected because they have a knowledge of those arts which are so essential for practical life in the place of being day laborers under an overseer they are to strive to be masters of their trades to place themselves where they can command wages as good carpenters printers or as educators in agricultural work so. You know we need to have the viewpoint that manual labor is on or a bull and we want them to be masters of it you know if you guys learn how to do this and do it well you can go out and I think you all are aware that you know many trades you know plumbers electricians and so on and make very very good money if they're good at what they do. Unfortunately farmers kind of lag behind in that the most important profession of all. Gets paid the least usually that's one of the ironies of our society but it's changing as I said there are some of these young guys are are really. Making it work. So I would like to suggest and I realize that this is is not an easy answer at all but with creativity most subjects can at least be partially taught in the garden now I'm not suggesting that. You know you do away with traditional school work and just spend the day in the garden but I am suggesting that there's a lot of things that can be done in the garden you know if you're laying out beds you're using Pathak theorem all day in practical ways to get your your right angles and to get your beds laid out correctly. If you're going to farmer's market you know I heard somebody say once they said they felt like farmers markets was the best example of. Of. What was the term they used. Anyway the best example of capitalism in action you know it's it's all there the economics you know the law of supply and demand if you've got lots of carrots and they're not selling you've got more supply than demand so you need to bring the price down and. Build demand you know there's so many things and of course that's not even getting into all the social skills you know relating to the customers and. You know trying to to get. You know one amazing thing about growing food is that God created us to be bonded to those that feed us do you know that. I mean that's you think about the mother child relationship the child bonds to those that feed them and God created us that way unfortunately our society has so been so warped that we get bonded to the food and stead of the feeder but what I will tell you is that when you feed people they bond with you in amazing ways and we have incredible opportunities to witness to pray with our customers to have them over for meals to you know it's tremendous So I'm getting a little off topic there but the point is you know biology it just hurts me to think now I did have a good biology teacher in academy and we did go on field trips up to the Smoky Mountains and stuff but I mean just you know I was just thinking about genetics you know to to actually make hybrids hand pollinate squash and create new varieties of squash Can you imagine the incredible biology you could have in the garden and you know you study these pictures in the biology book of a flower with the pistol in the Stayman and it's like why not take him to the garden and pull the flower off and take it apart this is this part and this is this part. You know we've so divorced much of learning from real life I mean this is how I was you know I was a good student I always got good grades except in Algebra two and that's a different story but. It was it was a waste of time you know I could never and why am I learning this. I couldn't understand the practical application. I can remember another classic example in pathfinders and I'm in no way knocking Pathfinders But you know we were working on the not. So we had to do all these knots and glue them on a board and I had no idea why I was learning these nuts except to get a bad you know but I mean in the garden. It's really helpful to know how to use some of those and it's so you know you say when you're when you're making your pole teepee for your green beans to run this is the best not to use and you know it can go on chemistry soil chemistry you know I learned chemistry in high school and had no practical application for me now I wish I could go back and take it again because I'm trying to learn about and ions and cat ions and catatonic exchange capacity and you know how all these different chemicals interact and I'm lost half the time because I didn't learn my chemistry well enough so to take our subjects and again I realized you know to ask a teacher to do that is daunting so I'm I realize this is these are not easy solutions but so much could be tied in the garden. With some thought. I can't think of a subject that couldn't be taught partially from the garden. So to me that's a way we can try to fit it in. It's going to take work. But again I think it's. Imperative decision makers are not fully understand the difference between cheap food and real food in cafeteria cooks do not have time in our knowledge and how to prepare garden fresh food you know to me this is largely about education. Helping people to see that you know I'm sure you've all have heard how the U.S.D.A. keeps statistics on the nutritional value of produce if you heard this and how it's been declining for the last fifty years squash fifty years ago had much more nutrition in it than a squash today has. And I think it's simply because our soil is getting more and more depleted So if we're focused on re mineralize ing our soils if we're focused on the best methods of organic agriculture we're going to have squash or carrots or whatever else that are more nutritious. And that should translate and you might have a hard time proving it from a scientific point of view but that should translate into healthier more intelligent happier students and I put this in a I can't remember her first name. Cheryl maybe I don't know but there is a food service director at Portland administrate Cademy her last name is Torgersen she was at our last at Agra conference OK we're four thirty is when we quit OK we're good. She was trained in. In some very. Prestigious as I understand it Colin Neary institutions. And you know of course this farm to table idea this local food that's big in the colon areas circles you know the high end restaurants are looking for fresh local organic produce so that was how she was trained and so she has gone to Portland admin Issa Cademy and she is transforming the menu at Portland administrate Cademy and making it seasonal making it fresh and local and her goal is to come up with a program that that can be implemented in other admin a school you know there are public schools that are doing this but she feels it's time for admin is to take the lead on this you know it's a sad reality that in the area of agriculture. We should be the head but we are now. We are struggling to catch up with the world. In the area of agriculture. OK so then you've got OSHA Department of Labor other government regulations actually I went away from the thing the seminar this morning encouraged and of course I'm not involved in the school so maybe that helps but. The beauty of the Winter Garden that I'm talking about there is no power equipment needed. Simple hand tools did you all use any power equipment in the garden. That was for the initial plowing up of the field there was. OK. So one time they used tiller and hopefully if the soil is taking care of that should never happen again it's perfect for for student labor you know I mean these tools you'd have to work pretty hard to hurt yourself with I know there are some tools like the Greens Harvester my son manufactures you could hurt yourself with that if you were being stupid but. OK what a lack of funding you know honestly. I don't see that as a huge challenge I figure we add heritage this year I think we've spent. Well I know it's between five and six thousand dollars. To get to buy all the tools that I felt were absolutely necessary. To buy deer fencing to put around the outside thing to buy all the road cover to. Buy potting mix and seeds most of that of course is going to be there for next year so. You know potting mix and seeds depending on how big you're going with this you know you're going to spend. Thousand dollars fifteen hundred dollars. On potting mix and seed per year. But you know back to this. This idea of working some sort of arrangement out with the farmer where they're semi autonomy. You know other than the initial infrastructure of building your hoop houses and stuff the farmer garden should be able to fund itself in fact well I shouldn't say too much because they'll steal Alyssa's thunder but I mean the farmer has actually made a little money this year which wasn't even part of the goal for the first year so that's exciting OK well. So and this. Session I would ask the question is it an option to have schools that don't teach the A.B.C.'s Is that an option Well I guess. It is an option but should it be an option we have to figure out how to make it work at least as I read the Spirit of Prophecy Council. This is a ness S. and essential she uses that word and essential part of education. Essential is pretty important last I knew so it's not should we have an agriculture program in my mind the question is how do we make it work. So I've given some suggestions to get sure your. Thinking caps are yours. You know in kindergarten we used to put on our thinking caps and think. Anyway hopefully you've got your thinking caps on and your. Your challenge that's my goal to challenge you. To do something. And like I say in the next session will try to get a little more practical obviously we can't. I mean we can only cover so much in an hour but that's the goal so we've got time for. Some questions. Or thoughts or other challenges that you're facing Yes. Where are you but Daystar OK which has a fairly strong has had a fairly strong agriculture program so just for audio verse try to summarize the questions so this lady is saying that she's talked to people who have suggested that you can't have private industry on. Non-profit. Land and involved and. Yeah I think you know you would have to you would have to have some help setting it up in a way that was legal and except a bowl and maybe you know that's why I say semi autonomy as you know I'm not suggesting that this farmer is a maverick doing their own thing I'm suggesting they just have their own budget and run with their budget just for for for the sake that you know when you need to buy things sometimes you need to buy them and and. Yeah so I don't think I'm suggesting something I would not see it as a private enterprise it would be working with the school but maybe just in a. Non-traditional way. And again I'm throwing out ideas you know I spend a lot of time thinking about these things I have I'm an observer of what's going on and the challenges that schools have and saying there's got to be a solution because if God told us we should do it then we've got to figure out how to make it work. OK So this man is saying that there are examples of schools leasing out like health care nursing home kind of situations and working so obviously this this kind of thing would take a lot of thought and probably some legal counsel I mean probably I'm sure some legal counsel to make sure you were doing it right but there are examples you know and I know other other situations where non-profits have businesses. And I don't understand how it all works I'm not a lawyer but I think I think those are things that can be tackled OK Was there a question over here. Any. Yeah. Yeah and that's that's. I would call it an unfortunate reality but I know it's true of many schools that they're renting out farm land they have the farm land because they knew they were supposed to do agriculture and it hasn't worked and so they're renting it out to conventional farmers and least getting enough to pay the taxes and farmers are making all the money. Although there's not a lot of money to be made in conventional agriculture. Depends on the year yes or OK So the comment is that you don't have to just look at the legal but you need to look at the tax ramifications and it's how the money it's not a problem to make money it depends on how it's allocated so. Again you know with with that I'm not I share these things more to stimulate your thinking and help you to see that I believe there are. Non traditional unconventional approach is that we need to look at. I mean trying to throw something at you that I'm expecting you to take home and do without a lot of consideration. But again you know I keep coming back to the point we've got to figure out how to make it work because you know I think I know I'm biased I'm a farmer I can be overly simplistic but I'm listening to a lot of the sessions up stairs of the challenges and I'm thinking in my mind an agriculture problem would solve a lot of those challenges. That's my belief Yeah a strong agriculture program yes OK So the question is about hydroponics the reality that many people are from urban. Environments and you know is this something that we should be. Showing them how to do. You know obviously. I. I don't want to be over simplistic but. There's a lot of money being made in hydroponics let me say that in fact I don't know if any of you know about the big brouhaha with the U.S.D.A. or with the National organics program and hydroponics. You know probably for most people it's not on their radar but it is now legal for hydroponics to be labeled as organic and if you buy organic berries in the store. Probably ninety eight percent chance they're grown hydroponically they don't even have to say. Well I'm thinking more of actually raspberries and Blackberries. They're being grown in Mexico Driscoll's has hundreds of acres of greenhouses in Mexico growing hydroponic berries. So in the water put antifungal I don't know what all they do but but the reality is yeah there is money to be made on the other hand I've seen a lot of people sink a lot of money into hydroponics and never make it work. So I'm not talking about from a business point of view I'm talking about from a philosophical point of view you know God created us out of soil and you know you think about all the parables and illustrations of Christ and all the references to soil in the Bible and if you just take that out of the picture I feel like it messes with your theology. So I. Yeah you know I I can respect somebody that thinks differently but I have fairly strong views on it and I believe there are lessons to learn from the soil that I mean it's such an artificial environment. It's very high tech it's very money intensive. And unless you know what you're doing you're going to lose a lot of money so back to your urban farming I'll share with you about Curtis Stone who's written a book called the urban farmer he farms people's yards. In Colona British Columbia he's making one hundred thousand dollars on a quarter of an acre of people's yards so there is land available in the city I don't think we have to go to hydroponics to do urban gardening. Why thirty inch beds. Short simple answer is. Elliot Coleman came up with that standard and most people are adopting it so what that means is now there is a lot of tools that are designed for a thirty inch bed it's just become an industry standard. There are some people who go larger but like I say that because now the tools are be being designed for a thirty inch bed and all these books I'm going to share with you everything all of them do thirty inch beds so when they give all the recommendations it's going to be based on a thirty inch bed and some others simple reasons a thirty inch bed can easily be stepped across so for getting around the garden it's much easier you know if you've got four foot beds you can't I mean you'd have to really jump and so and then the other thing is it's so easy you know this is about thirty inches right here so the fastest most efficient way to plant or harvest is just bending over like this which you can do easily on a thirty inch bed so it's a size that fits the majority of people and you can actually reach all the way over it so you can plant the whole bed from one side if you want. So yeah you know I've heard. Farmers being asked that and they said you know maybe if we were coming up with the standard we would have gone a little wider at thirty six inch or whatever but you know again it's why reinvent the wheel you know this is the standard that Ellie Ellie it's a very shy. Short Man actually. He kind of said this is what works for me and because everybody was reading his books they said let's do it and there's really no arguments against it that I know of. Yes although some of them really have narrow aisles you know like. Yeah you're not talking about a tractor anything you know aisles as narrow as nine inches actually I think it heritage freehand they're a little narrower than ideal they're less than a I don't know what they are exactly. Braced. For. No Well we'll talk more about that next time let's have a break I think we all need a break we start again at four forty five right OK thank you all for sticking with I was planning to have a break in the middle there that was a long session. 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