“Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.” Genesis 2:15
With the exclusion of animals and animal products, 100% of our food comes from plants. Today, most people are completely disconnected from their food, the very thing that allows them to literally stay alive has become nothing but a mundane trip to the grocery store. Food today comes in boxes and cans and the few fresh products we eat are all elegantly lined up in colorful rows far removed from their natural habitat. Many people don’t even know if their favorite fruit or veggie grows on a tree, a vine or a bush! I remember beginning to wonder of these things and was shocked about everything I was learning! Did you know broccoli is actually a cluster of unopened flower buds or that vanilla comes from an orchid? No one knows what their food looks like before they are displayed at the grocery store. Much less will they know the work it takes to grow it! If I had a say in everyone’s education, I would require a gardening class. People will not respect or appreciate the food they have until they know the work it takes to grow it. If not gardening, at least a cooking class, how often do we devour a meal that took 2 hours to make in 2 seconds?! We as humans began as gardeners and caretakers of animals. God’s original plan for us was to tend to the needs of the planet and in that way live in perfect community with Him! The garden is the perfect place to experience God’s presence. It is a place where we are reminded of our dependence on God, we can sow seeds and water them but the only who makes them grow is God! (1 Cor 3:7)
It’s always incredible to me how so many people simply do not see the connection between what they eat and their health. Some people don’t see any benefit for eating healthy besides weight loss and beauty. Others don’t think it matters because genetics dictates our health and we should just eat what makes us happy. Yet, that is not at all the case when we look at scripture. Food was always a big deal for God’s people, especially in the Old Testament. I could go as far as to say that it was such a big deal that the reason our world is fallen today is because Adam ate something he wasn’t supposed to! Just as the garden is a perfect place to experience God’s goodness, it is also a perfect place that reminds us of our fallen state and our need for Him. In Genesis 3 we see that Adam’s sin effected creation as well “Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life. “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field; By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:17-19 This is why gardening is so difficult! This is why we have thorns and thistles and why we have so many poisonous plants! I recently started to try to grow some herbs from seeds and it is proving to be incredibly difficult. It’s different than buying an already established plant and watering it daily. Like a baby, if you skip a meal for your seedling, you’re in trouble. Even if you consistently water your baby plant and make sure it gets enough sun, within hours, if it gets too hot, too cold, too dry or too wet, it will wilt and die.
In Scripture, some of histories most important events took place in gardens, consider the following: The Garden of Eden- Where creation and fall too place, Garden of Gethsemane- where Jesus prayed before his crucifixion. The Garden near Golgotha- where Jesus’ tomb was and the garden in the new Jerusalem- where we will all reside one day. Put yourself in the path of the garden, special things seem to happen there. After all it is where the sustenance of all life on earth lies… That perhaps makes it the most important place in the word.