Preparing
for the
Sabbatical Year

Consider this simple math… each year, you rest for 52 Sabbaths.  Over 7 years, there are 364 Sabbaths… that’s equal to a whole year of Sabbaths!  Understand, while you rest each weekly Sabbath, the land itself is still working to produce the food that has been planted into the ground that year by our farmers.  For each 7 years, the land is owed back its Sabbaths and needs to rest – this is a commandment of Yehovah! 

As the Sabbatical Year of that starts in spring 2023 and goes through the spring of 2024 is quickly approaching, more and more people are starting to ask questions about how to prepare for it.  First and foremost, read Leviticus 25 that explains the Sabbatical Year.  From this, you will know that milk, dairy, and meats that are described in Leviticus 11 as being acceptable to eat are NOT something that you need to be concerned with storing; however, plant products that require planting(sowing) in the ground that year and later harvesting(reaping) are something that you will need to store such that the land can rest. 

 The intent of the comments section below is to allow the community to share their practical experiences at preparing for and keeping the Sabbatical Year with others in our community of believers.  Think of this as a “HOW TO” document that we all write together.

26 Comments

  1. James Relf

    For my wife and I we have been purchasing extra items each week, nothing in large quantities because of food costs, but over time it will add up by the time 2023 comes around and we are hoping that it will be enough. It is the best we can do on a limited income.

    Reply
  2. Mike

    BREAD
    =====

    Obviously, bread is a common product the comes from plant-based ingredients and is something to consider preparing for, via storage, for consumption in the Sabbatical Year.

    Some have chosen in the past to simply purchase a large freezer and fill it with loaves of bread. While this may work for some, for me my freezer was required for other needs… and, some may not have the luxury of a freezer at all. Also, relying on an electricity powered freezer might not be an option for some. So, this comment will focus on the concept of making your own fresh bread, and suggest a very easy way (a bread maker machine) to do so for those of you that don’t like to cook.

    Storage Amounts:

    In the last Sabbatical Year, I learned that my family of four used about 50lbs of flour per person (so, we had stored away four 50 pound bags of bread flour, or a total of 200lbs. In Kilograms, this is a little less than 25 kg per bag or 100 kg total for a family of 4). I recommend this amount as is a minimum, as I actually had to borrow a little flower from a family member when the Sabbatical year ended up having an extra unexpected 13th month last Sabbatical year. If possible, store a little extra than expected… it can’t hurt.

    Storage Considerations:

    Storing food just about anywhere on a shelf in your kitchen or food pantry/closet will be fine, as you will be consuming this food within a year. However, as with most foods, it is best to store what you can in a cool dark place, if possible. As an extra step… if you have a freezer, I recommend placing your bags of flour in a freezer for a day or two to prevent insect growth (I’m not saying this is an issue or that you need to do this extra step, but bugs like “weevils” can lay tiny eggs in flour which grain producers sometimes do not filter out completely – freezing your bags of flour or other foods is just an extra step that I like to do just to be sure).

    Storing flour in bags is very common. However, I recommend transferring your flour in durable food safe storage buckets (don’t use just any bucket… be sure the container is safe for food) to not only protect against the possibility of insects, but also rodents and curious pets. The food will remain fresher the better you store it. Also, I recommend visiting local bakeries now and over the next year and ask them if they are throwing away any buckets. Most bakeries purchase ingredients, such as cake icing, in larger quantities that come in 3 to 5 gallon buckets (a gallon is a bit less than 4 liters) and then throw these nice food safe buckets away each day. They will usually give you the lids, too… but, if not, lids are very inexpensive to purchase separately. Once again, this is just an extra step… leaving the flour in the bag securely away from moisture and the risk of insects/rodents is probably just fine, too. I just tend to try and think of as many “what if” situations as I can to ensure my plans turn out for the better.

    Another ingredient that you will need is Yeast. Yeast is in the air, and can be grown from scratch and then used to make a “starter” dough for making bread – but, this is too much work, in my opinion. When the week of Unleavened Bread is over at the beginning of the Sabbatical Year, just go out and buy a good quantity of yeast. Yeast is not a plant product, so it is OK to buy… but if you feel that maybe plants were used in the production of the yeast, consider that what is in the stores at that time will have been produced and packaged during the previous year, thus making it OK to purchase at this time. Personally, I found that a bag or two those bags of yeast (about a pound or two) that are vacuum packed like a bag coffee were enough for us.

    Cost

    At the time of this writing, the most expensive premium bread flour costs under $1 US Dollar per pound. Most bags of flour cost under half that and are comparable in cost to similar bags of rice. Prices vary, depending on where you live or if your community produces its own flour. But, a bag of flour should not cost more than a day’s wages at most – so, with wise money management and the blessings of obedience, it seems that reaching this storage goal should be possible for most individuals and families as well.

    Extra Suggestion: Buy a Bread Maker Machine

    Because life keeps me too busy to knead dough, let it rise at the proper temperature and humidity, and then bake it at the correct temperature and amount of time, I decided to just purchase a small device that I could dump the ingredients into and press a button. Hey, I’m a busy guy… give me a break. So, I purchased the “Panasonic SD-YD250 Automatic Bread Maker with built in yeast dispenser” and easily baked a loaf of bread just about every day. It also was nice for making dough for rolls, buns, and especially pizza. New, my bread maker cost me about $100 US dollars, but there are better ones out there, and cheaper as well. I wish that I had known to look at thrift stores (examples of thrift stores in the United States: Goodwill, Salvation Army , Arc Thrift, etc), as it seems that every thrift store in my area has at least half a dozen bread makers for about $10 used… I recently purchased another one used that looks new which is the exact same model number of the one that I bought new! So, maybe shop around for a used one first (and, if it does not have instructions… search online for its model number, and you might just be able to download the manual – as they often have recipes in the manual).

    If you have any comments related to “BREAD” for the Sabbatical Year, please click “Reply” in the comments below. Otherwise, feel free to post a new comment and start a discussion on a new topic of preparation for the Sabbatical Year.

    Reply
  3. Kay Beard

    I have purchased 6-7 gallon organic hard white wheat from Pleasant Mills Grain. I have a grinder and I have a bread machine. You can also buy soft wheat for rolls, cakes and muffins.
    They also have hand grinders of all sorts if we were to lose electricity. The grains are in a tub with vacuum sealed lid so bugs can’t get in. I also got a tub of organic brown rice…..I think enough for years!

    Reply
  4. Kay

    I have cows so I am harvesting hay twice this year to store enough for them.

    My husband and I are also buying canned goods each month that would last for many years; fruit and veggies, tuna fish etc. as I mentioned in another comment, I have bought a 6 gallon tub with a vacuum lid of organic brown rice and organic hard white wheat. I have an expensive bread machine that kneads and bakes with a timer.

    I have a hydroponic garden system for fresh veggies. I purchase seedlings from a seedling rep. Although, I will be planting hydroponically, it will not be in the ground so I’m thinking that’s ok since it will not affect the land resting. (I know some will disagree)

    Remember house pets! They love and prefer canned food and dry food will be hard to store, so we are purchasing that as well.

    We are first timers and would never have thought this is possible without hearing Joseph Dumond’s testimony, and seeing it was possible. We are going to try! Honestly, I only have the faith of a tiny mustard seed that we will be successful! But I know with God nothing is impossible!

    Reply
  5. Mike

    Hydroponic… interesting though. This would make a good discussion sometime on the Sabbath this year. On a very small scale this gives me the idea of buying seeds, like alfalfa, for sprouting in a jar in the kitchen throughout the year. This is a very interesting idea for discussion, for sure.

    Reply
  6. Mike

    I have given this hydroponic discussion some thought, and remembering back to science class in school, somebody asked, “Where does the ‘stuff/matter’ that makes up the plant come from, if not from the ground?” The teacher answered, “From the air.”

    My first impression of your hydroponics question was that of something very small, like maybe just sprouting some seeds in a jar (as I have done to produce alfalfa sprouts every now and then in the past, as I mentioned in my comment above). However, I have seen actual large scale hydroponics farms with nutrient water, pumps, plant lights, and the such. It seems to me that in that case nutrients are being pulled from the air as well as from the nutrient water (which is being substituted for dirt), as well as whatever is involved with the machinery. My personal thoughts lean towards this concept is not really letting things “rest”. My fear of Yehovah tends to cause me not to take risks like this until I have really researched a matter completely and given it some prayer and such. My guess would be just to go ahead with the storage of canned goods and such and just let the hydroponics farm rest for the season.

    But, all of this is just my opinion/thoughts. I don’t really have an answer for you on this. But, I am glad that you have jumped in to this discussion with such a unique perspective!

    Reply
  7. Henry Mate

    It might be a very trying year though for me. No means available to preserve essentials. Only dry cereals are storable but in sacks. We normally eat from the garden direct.
    We will still soldier on.

    Reply
  8. Karen

    I am in Australia. The northern hemisphere will be in spring, the southern hemisphere will be in autumn at time of commencement. So for us down here, do we stop planting in our spring or our autumn?

    Reply
  9. Joseph F Dumond

    Shabbat Shalom Karen, the Month of Aviv is the same month in the north pole as it is in the south pole. It does not matter which hemisphere you live in. The Sabbatical Year begins with the month of Aviv, the same month as Passover. Aviv 1 2023 will be the next Sabbatical Year until Aviv 1 2024 for the whole world.

    Reply
  10. Dee

    What about plant-based medications? Also, what about plant-based toiletries, for example, toothpaste, body wash, etc.? Seems like we should have a year plus seven weeks (Shavuot) of those, as well as “grain, oil, and new wine.” Am I being overenthusiastic?

    Reply
  11. Mike

    This post is pretty much United States only info… but, I was asked this week about the Mormon’s home food storage centers (open to the public/non-Mormons), and I thought I would share a link below to what they sold:

    https://providentliving.churchofjesuschrist.org/food-storage/home-storage-center-locations-map?lang=eng

    And, where to find a location near you (in the United States):

    https://providentliving.churchofjesuschrist.org/self-reliance/food-storage/home-storage-center-locations?lang=eng
    (Mormon’s Bishop’s Warehouse – Home Storage Locations)

    Note that the prices are for “cases” – which means six cans (#10 coffee can size) which are great for long term storage (most items 30 years) – but, they do open cases and sell the cans individually for 1/6th the price (click on the order form link for individual can prices). A few items come in bags, which you will need to repackage for longer term use (as mentioned in an earlier post, I recommend just asking local bakeries in supermarkets for “icing buckets” – which are safe plastic for food storage… don’t use any old plastic bucket from the hardware store… has to be food grade plastic).

    For variety (the Mormon warehouse does not have that much variety) and price comparison (the Mormon warehouse is CHEAP!!!), other places online to compare to are https://shop.honeyville.com/ and https://rainydayfoods.com/… These other outlets have lots of variety, but are a rather expensive on some items. The reason for the high prices is because of the #10 coffee can containers for very long term storage, I think. You can make out a lot cheaper buying large bags and repackage them yourself… remember, you are just storing for a year.

    But, if you really want the #10 cans, I also recommend searching amazon.com and walmart.com for “Augason Farms” – this brand seems to be very affordable. By the way, if you find an item that is 99 cents cheaper on Walmart, buy it on Amazon, instead… Walmart’s shipping is rather terrible… lots of dented cans.

    Here’s an example of a “staple” item not available from provident living (Mormon bishop’s warehouse): an item that seems to be seasonal (goes out of stock a lot) that happens to be on sale right now on Amazon, but the Mormon’s do not carry, is “Creamy Wheat” / cream of wheat(farina): amazon link here or honeyville link here — I’m a fan of this particular item because it’s easy to prepare, and the kids loved it… also, it lasts for 30 years and is already somewhat ground if I ever wanted to grind it further and make bread from it.

    I hope this info helps.

    Reply
  12. Ben Bueno

    In summary: (pls correct me if I’m wrong or miss anything)

    The Sabbatical year
    No reaping (It is a year of rest to the land)
    No sowing (It is a year of rest to the land)
    Forgive debt (YeHoVaH’s release)
    Read the torah (law) at Feast of Sukkot

    Can anyone give the verse which to read and is it only to read on the first day of Sukkot? Or everyday? Or part by part until the 7th day of Sukkot finished?

    Reply
  13. Mike

    [Deuteronomy 31:9-13 King James Version]
    9 And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it unto the priests the sons of Levi, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and unto all the elders of Israel. 10 And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of [every] seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, 11 When all Israel is come to appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing. 12 Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that [is] within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law: 13 And [that] their children, which have not known [any thing], may hear, and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.

    Reply
  14. Rose

    I have a practical question, that also leads to another one concerning some of the previous comments. I started a vegetable garden last year and God blessed it. With the Sabbatical year approaching, I have no problem letting it lay quiet and not sowing until the next year. However, I’m confused about the scriptures in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Leviticus 15:3-7 “Six year’s you will sow your field; six years you will prune your grapevines and gather their produce. But in the seventh year is to be a Shabbat of complete rest for the land, a Shabbat for Yehovah; you will neither sow your field nor prune your grapevines. You are not to harvest what grows by itself from the seeds left by your previous harvest, and you are not to gather the grapes of your untended vine; it is to be a year of complete rest for the land. But what the land produces during the year of Shabbat will be food for all of you – you, your servant, your maid, your employee, anyone living near you, your livestock and the wild animals on your land; everything the land produces may be used for food.”
    Would anyone be able to help me understand this? It seems to me that God is saying there is to be no additional sowing or stockpiling….but that anything that is produced can be eaten and shared.

    Reply
  15. Joseph F Dumond

    Shalom Rose, you have understood correctly.

    YOu are not to plant nor to harvest in the Sabbatical Year. Anything that grows of it own, you and anybody else can eat. This also includes the wild animals. So your garden gates need to be left open for them as well.

    If you have lots and lots of strawberries come up. Then you can take what you want for that day or that week. The squirrels can eat what they want. And your neighbours can also help themselves.

    You cannot take them all and preserve them or put them down for the winter.
    Hope that helps.

    Reply
  16. Bruce Duncan Graham

    I’m wondering if fruit tree harvests are to be included in the ‘land rest’ order. They don’t require much work, and the fruit grows whether it’s tended or not. There is no annual planting of the crop and no destruction of the plant at the end of the year. I guess that knowing that whatever grows on its own is to provide for the indigent, I may have answered my own question!

    Here’s a thought: given that the land rests on the seventh year, there will be no crop that year, and none the next until it’s harvest time. That said, we’ll need food for almost two years.
    The reason I bring this up is: we’ll need safe food preservation techniques storage in order for our crops to last for almost two years.
    Another thought: livestock will continue to need feeding. They can graze on their own during summer (I live in the northeast United States, and cant grow outdoor crops in winter), but plans need to be in effect during non-cropping season. Enough hay for the seventh winter, enough silage, you get the idea. Planning for the storage of this can become a challenge.
    Here’s a funny story: many years ago, my father chopped our sweet corn stalks into silage and sealed it in plastic bags to ferment. When he fed it to our pigs, he told us they were all staggering around!

    Has safe food storage been addressed?
    Thanks,

    Bruce

    Reply
  17. Christine

    Hi All,
    I have only just come to learn about a sabbatical year, would it be too late to make some attempts to store food for this year?

    Reply
    • James Relf

      Christine, the only thing that matters is the intentions of your heart. Yes you can still start to put food away. If you do not have enough, like many whole are doing it for the first time, you learn from it. Don’t give up.

      Reply
  18. Seeking Yah

    We’ve had it in our minds that either this is only for the land of Israel, but if we apply it here, we would maybe do it on our 7th year on our land. But considering non-Canonical books such as Jubilees, the keeping of time was in place long before the Torah was given at Mt. Sinai… and technically the whole earth is His land. So…

    Here we are just weeks before the start of the new year. We just had seedlings started and soil delivered. We were about to plant fruit vines/ bushes/ trees. My question is this – if we get all of these done BEFORE the start of the year, is that considered acceptable?

    I don’t see how we could prepare for our animals especially with only weeks to go. Any advice is appreciated!

    Reply
    • James Relf

      You are correct the proper understanding is that this is only for those who follow Torah, meaning you keep Sabbath and His feasts. It has nothing to do with only being in the land. We can get too wrapped up in everybody’s theology and get confused and just walk away. The actual first of the year is yet to be determined. We have people going to Israel to see if they can find an omer of Barley like Torah says and will notify us hopefully by the weekend if we are to start or wait another month. So listen in and read the weekly newsletter because it will be announced there.

      As for planting crops, well that is up to you. But according to scripture, you are to let the land rest one year so that it might recover from the 6 years of use. So that mean you are really only able to pick and eat anything that comes out of the ground from last years crops and even then only what you want to eat for that day. You are not allowed to harvest for a week or more, if you happen to have that much.

      As for the animals, you cannot allow you animals to starve as YHVH is all about “life” and letting the die because you cannot provide food is not right.

      I hope that helps clear up some things for you. Stay tuned, we are doing our best like everyone else to figure this out.

      Reply
  19. Maresha

    There seems to be various thoughts on when a 7th year is to be observed. My garden has NOT been sown for 6 years yet, why should I disregard the instruction to plant 6 years before my garden rests? I’m not trying to be a jerk but rather to contemplate if we all need to be on the same schedule while scattered and our gardens commenced at different times. I suppose the agreement of all about when the weekly sabbath is kept might substantiate that regardless of which day of the week we decided to follow Yehowah’s instruction that the 7th day is fixed, not a variable based upon our ‘start’ day. What say ye about working the garden for 6 years before giving the soil a rest?

    Reply
    • James Relf

      Sorry Maresha, we are not free to choose any time to start to count towards the Sabbatical Year. It is, as you have already said, the same as discovering the Sabbath is Saturday. Do you count from the day you discovered it, or do adjust your schedule to fit the Sabbath? The Sabbatical year is 2023 to 2024 Aviv to Aviv. Aviv began on February 22, 2023. You need to adjust to it or reap the curses for not obeying. Yehovah has called you at this time and shown this to you now. You need to begin to obey now and do what you can to get on board with Yehovah.

      Reply
  20. Mike

    J U N K F O O D

    While there’s still time, I recommend going out and loading up on some good junkfood (“comfort food”, “candy”, etc) for the following year. Perhaps put it in different boxes labelled “Do not open until ____”, so you don’t eat it all up over the next few weeks, lol.

    Reply
  21. Shireen

    If we let family members borrow money in 2021-2022 but they don’t do this faith walk of obedience (honoring the Shabbat, Festival’s, etc) do you think we are required to forgive the debt during this Sabbatical year? Or is this debt forgiveness just within the “spiritual family”?

    Reply
  22. Joseph F Dumond

    Shabbat Shalom Shireen, I had to make the same decision the first year I kept the Sabbatical year (2009). The man who owed me was not in the faith, although he was a staunch Christian believer. I wrestled with it for a long time and then decided to forgive the debt, as the law said.
    I never saw any immediate results. Before 2009, I was almost always laid off for the winter. I was in construction, and the ground was too cold here to dig. After 2009, I was never unemployed again. Never.

    So how do you measure the blessings that come? I would not want to count all the blessings I have missed because I did not obey.
    May Yehovah bless you as you wrestle with His words and strive to keep the Torah of His Kingdom now.

    Reply
  23. Shireen

    Hi Joseph! Thank you for such a quick response! I was new to this walk in 2008 and learned from one of your books I believe in 2015 about forgiving debt in Sabbatical and Jubilee years (I hope I’m remembering it correctly). The same 2 family members owed money so I forgave their debt in 2015. I don’t have a problem obeying our Father’s law regarding debt forgiveness. When I read your email sent a couple days ago on the Sabbatical Year I had completely forgotten about this law since it only happens every 7 years. And to my surprise, the same 2 family members owe me again 😂 I don’t have a problem with this because I care about them so much and that’s why I helped them in their time if need but it made me wonder if the original law for debt forgiveness was meant for our “spiritual family in faith” or is it a law that applies to everyone! Thus my question on this forum. It’s actually a blessing to have received this information at the beginning of the Sabbatical year that I haven’t even paid attention to (shame on me)! And I will let them both know their slates are wiped clean. Thanks for your own story, by the way! Opening our hearts in telling others our struggles and overcoming them due to obedience even if we grit our teeth on the road always lifts the “family” to do what’s right towards loving our Father.

    💕 The Lord bless you and keep you;

    💕 The Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you;

    💕 The Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.

    Numbers 6:24-26

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.