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.

11 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

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