I don’t exactly remember where I first saw a link to Noah Sanders book Born-Again Dirt: Farming to the Glory of God, maybe Amazon or maybe a fellow gardening blog. But I was absolutely caught by the title and knew it was a must read.
Can I be honest? I also loved the fact that the authors name is Noah! Writing an email….Dear Noah….felt strange and cool all at the same time (for those of you who are new here our almost 1 year old son’s name is Noah.)
Turns out that I was right, Noah’s book is a gem and I highly recommend it to you.
The idea of farming to the glory of God is something that Kevin and I have actually spent a significant amount of time discussing and reading about already. With all the background study we have done I did wonder if there was much else that could be added to it, if we would disagree on points or if it would be completely different from what our talks had been about.
I am happy to say that it was a great mix of all of the above. I would say about 90% of the book is a very well written description of how we feel about the current farming community, what being a godly farmer is, and how to actually farm that way, and 10% are things we hadn’t considered and that we are still discussing. All things considered it is a great piece of work and will be one of our go to books to give to people who are interested in returning to their gardening roots.
Which, if you haven’t already noticed, is happening like wildfire. Not surprising of course based on our current economic status but the amount of Christian’s going back to work the earth is really what fascinates us. There is a movement of God’s people it seems to get their hands back in the dirt and provide for their families in a way that they and their children can see everyday. Perhaps it is because in this time in history it is harder and harder to actually see things and touch them as they work.
We don’t touch our money anymore, we don’t touch the earth anymore, heck we don’t even touch our books a lot of times anymore. I don’t think that there is anything inherently wrong with these movements, but it seems that it lends itself to a sensation that life as we know it, may not have as much substance as we had once thought.
That it’s all fake…that the food we eat from the store is fake, the virtual friendships we have via Facebook are fake, the money that we earn and never touch is fake. Of course it’s not entirely true, they do have an element of reality but like the food we eat from the commercialized machine it feels like a shadow of what it should be.
I think one of the biggest concepts that I had thought about but never really fully conceptualized that was so well explored in this book was how our societies evolutionary world view has shaped our current food system. While it seems obvious now, I had never really deeply looked into it until this book and the discussions it sparked.
The basic premise is this: when you remove God from his proper place in creation, all that is left is science without morality. If you do not recognize that there is a Creator and that he had a perfect plan in mind when he created our bodies and our food systems, then you have no conflict over destroying those systems. We have created test tube plants and industrialized feed lots, not in spite of but rather as a result of, the complete and utter disrespect that our society has for the order in the world which God created.
The second part of the book is more of a practical application side. Some of the topics covered include:
-Designing farms as beautiful, fruitful homes.
-Honoring God’s design in farm production
-Growing crops that honor the Lord
-Marketing as ministry
-The idolatry of modern agriculture
-Advantages of the farming lifestyle
-Starting a farm and making a living.
One of the things that I will be looking into is how the moon affects the growth of plants. Noah suggests the use of The Old Farmers Almanac for planting dates, not because of superstition but because the Bible says that the moon was created to mark times and seasons.
“The moon marks off the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down. (Psalms 104:19)
I had always been resistant to the idea because of its tendency to have astrological readings and stuff in it regarding how my day is going to go, etc. which we are not a fan of (he also mentions hat he ignores those sections). I loved his description of why he uses it:
“Even if there is no benefit to planting by the moon, I have benefited from doing it because it gives me a schedule to go by. If I know that I need to plant corn next Thursday or Friday, I am a lot more likely to get it done than if I merely have a broad, two month window in which I need to do it.”
I also really loved that this book doesn’t just apply to full time farmers. There are tons of tips and discussion on how to help make our homes the hub for our family and our homesteads, and practically apply it to whatever stage of farming we may find ourselves in. I would highly recommend it to anyone and encourage you to check it out on Amazon for a preview.
We are very grateful for the copy we were provided to review for you and are excited to offer a copy to one lucky reader this week!