“Back to Eden” is a full feature documentary investigating a simple organic gardening method that may hold the solution to the complex agricultural issues faced today. Dana & Sarah Films, a nomadic grassroots film production company, travel to Washington where Paul Gautschi has developed a revolutionary gardening technique that is estimated to cut back on the need for irrigation by up 95%. Paul is known locally as a master arborist and is now inspiring people across the nation to experiment with his gardening methods by starting their own “Back to Eden” gardens.
Naturally the earth is covered by a protective layer of plant debris from dried fallen tree leaves, branches, etc. as seasons change and years go by the layer grows deeper. However, as the human species clears the land for agriculture, and other purposes, we expose the soil. As described by Paul Gautschi, the earth is a living organism much like humans and animals, so when we remove this layer it is like peeling away one’s skin leaving it exposed and susceptible to damage.
When Paul moved his family to the Northern Peninsula of Washington state he built a house and started a garden from which he and his family would eat. However, he faced many common challenges with his garden from not being able to provide enough water to support his garden, pests, poor soil quality, and the garden proved to be very labor intensive. He turned to God for answers to his challenges, one day as he looked at the huge, beautiful trees surrounding his land he asked God how these trees could be thriving with no one’s attention, no irrigation, nor fertilization. He received his answer. That’s when he noticed that the ground surrounding those trees was covered with layers of woodchips and plant debris, when he reached down and put his hands into this debris he noticed how damp and soft the dirt was. That’s when he realized that nature is self sustaining and this layer that was missing from his garden was the answer.
This layer of natural organic compost protects the soil, adds nutrients to the soil, and retains moisture in the soil. With the exception of when he plants his seeds in the summer, he does no watering of his garden whatsoever, he adds no fertilizers or pesticides and his garden is thriving! People visit his garden from all over the country and they are astounded at the flavors, sweetness, and aesthetics of his fruits and vegetables. His garden has become a pleasure requiring very little attention, with the exception of pruning and easily pulling weeds from the woodchips the difficulty and tediousness of gardening has become seemingly absent. Simply looking at his garden is a source of inspiration and do not be surprised if your mouth begins to water as Paul tears open the fruits of his labor, you very likely have never seen a strawberry quite as juicy.
In these days of genetically modified organisms, leafy greens replete with pesticides, drought, fruits and vegetables that are deficient of nutrients, soil that is depleted of minerals, and a myriad of problems and side effects that have risen because of the aforementioned, Paul Gautschi seems to have an answer that almost seems too simple to believe.
However, we are taken from Washington to southern California where Ronald & Sylvia Richardson who, inspired by a visit to Paul’s garden in October of 2010, began a demonstration garden using the same methods in their home and then to Pennsylvania where the McOmber family did the same, both successfully. We are given the opportunity to learn from the trials and errors of these start-up demonstration gardens and the experiences of the Richardson’s and the McOmber’s.
A sustainable permaculture revolution is at hand as a solution to earth’s mistreatment and the unwillingness of the U.S. government to protect its citizens from agribusiness giants and further push their distorted food-like products on a global scale through the World Trade Organization, Agenda 21, Codex Alimentarius, etc. When the burden of proof is in the hands of the affected to prove the food-like products are negatively affecting their health, the safest thing to do is grow the most nutritious food we can at the smallest expense in order to push these food-like products out of market. Paul’s garden is an example of sustainable permaculture at its best.
Hopefully the religious vibe doesn’t turn some viewers off, because even if you are agnostic or a complete atheist, the science of this gardening method will fascinate you.
To learn more about this gardening method or to buy the DVD, visit backtoedenfilm.com.