Back to Eden

104 minutes 8.7/10 based on 95 votes

“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.

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Discuss This Documentary

  • DarylTJ

    So VERY inspiring!

  • Helen

    I do love this documentary (so much that this was my third time watching it in 6 months…) :D

    He does add fertilizer to his vegetable garden though (chicken manure), and to his potato garden – (horse manure). But its not needed in his fruit orchard – there the leafs do the job.

    This documentary has changed the way I view life it self. I will probably see it yet again. :)

  • rorry

    It just says “This video is private” without streaming. :( I would like to check this doc out is there any way you can include another video source?

  • Adam

    That’s a fantastic documentary. I thought the Christianity would deter me, when in fact it became endearing. I wish more Christians thought in terms of the earth being a friend rather than a resource. Some fantastic information and a great informative piece. Motivating and enchanting

    • dorisP

      Why only Christians, Adam? All world, all people are part of the creation, all people should see this. especially those in poor regions, but they are showered with promises from Syngenta, Monsanto, BAYER and BASF,

  • Wendy Poginy

    why cant I watch Back to Eden but I can watch all the others anyone know

  • Vicki Olson

    Helen, Paul has no leaves in his orchard, he says they all blow away, it is just the chips and the compost tea that they make when it rains.

  • Vicki Olson

    If you are having trouble watching back to eden here, just google it, there are many places to watch it on the net.

  • debbie j

    Paul seems to evangelize by his perfect trust in God! I have been working on that trust thing. God IS awesome and Paul lives and shows it. Thought this would be a gardening vid. NO-it’s a LIVING vid. Thanks so so much Paul.

  • Susan Seifert

    I can’t get this video to work on my computer. Is this the same video as the ‘Tour’ Paul gives of his garden? They seem to be the same length and I can get that video on Youtube. I’m just wondering if it is the same one or if it is another one.

  • Marianne

    This was an amazing documentary!…thank you so much
    for sharing your knowledge!…I’ve just gone to my recycle bin to pull out the newspapers!

  • Larchmonter445

    The religious lessons quoted are merely scientific observations of nature. The story of life is ‘observe Creation’ in all its manifestations.

    You can’t escape it. You can ignore it. At your own peril.

    The globe and humanity have fallen out of harmony with Nature.
    Turning your back and mind and soul on Creation is negating your own soul and connection to a beneficial God.

    This documentary is a wonderful education.

  • Felipe

    Really thought the Christianity would deter me as well, but darn it was a good documentary and I’m gonna make some wood chips. I felt he integrated his religious values in beautifully to demonstrate the sustainable permaculture principles. Thank you for the education/wisdom.

  • slx5c

    It is so criminal to Identify GOD with Religions because Religions are a Poison created by Man; just as Governments are a Poison created by Man, and Man Created Religions from Superstitions, and Man Created Governments from Religions which are Superstitions, and through Religions and Governments Human Beings have suffered, and will continue to suffer greatly, as Religions and Governments continues to divide Peoples, and in the division; Religions and Governments continue to support the murder of each other in the name of War which becomes the name of Patriotism of Governments, and which becomes in the name of their chosen Religions.

    You can see in the Holy Bible as it describes the Garden of Eden that Free is Free; in other words, the System of Freedom already existed in the Codes of GOD; You can understand that Human Beings already existed, and were terribly against GOD’s System; therefore, Religions and Governments already existed before Adam and Eve where Religions are referred to that of a Talking Serpent which preaches to you in a talking language about you spirituality, and that Religions had been exalted from the Ground into a Highness such as in the Heavens by the supporting branches of a Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in which this tree is referring to Governments; you can see that this system is Death, and that the warning to Adam and Eve to stay away is justified.

    It so difficult to realize how criminal it is to Identify GOD with Religions; however, when you see GOD’s Codes in action, and how they Free Human Beings from Labor, Pain, and Suffering, and how this Freedom does not require a worship such as that of Religions, and that the Freedom is from the Greatness of Love, and it is at this moment that the recognized beauty of GOD comes into Realization, and unlike a Religious love that is forceful, the Freedom of love is Genuine and it is Enriching, and Educating. Nothing can compare to GOD’s Love because it is so great; the best that one can do is to learn and master such a love from such a Love; like a student that will learn from that of a teacher.

    EYE 5

  • dorisP

    10 stars documentation!.

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