Rancher, Farmer and Professor Don Jansen Discusses the Hidden Hunger of Plants, Animals

Don Jansen is shown here in front of the hydroponic garden at Gulf Coast University. The sign tells of an experiment by Ocean Grown Foods, Inc. The nutritional uptake of various plants, weight and production were all made parts of the experiment.

The short biography that usually attends the presentation of an Acres U.S.A. interview is in fact contained in the questions and answers that follow. Here it is enough to point out that our conversation with Don Jansen of Fort Myers, Florida, is really a follow-up to the re-publication of physician Maynard Murray’s exposition of his pioneering work with sea solids, Sea Energy Agriculture, coauthored with Tom Valentine in 1976.

How a college professor with a Nebraska ranching background made the transition from the High Plains to Florida’s hydroponic scene makes for one of the most enlightening interviews conducted by Acres U.S.A. over the past 32 years. Here we proceed to unlock some of the ocean’s secrets as the nutritional center of gravity for planet Earth.

Don Jansen was a student and disciple of Dr. Maynard Murray, and he has now inserted lessons learned on pastures, in fields, gardens and hydroponic beds into the wheat grass juice remedy made famous by Ann Wigmore.

From the Plains to the Sea

ACRES U.S.A. How does a rancher from Nebraska make the transition from the High Plains to the sea?

DON JANSEN. Oh, over the course of about 25 years — it took about that long. I actually left the High Plains because it was almost impossible to make a living — all I remember was hard work and not much money. I didn’t like that kind of life, so I left it. I thought the life for me was in higher education, so I pursued it for 13 or 14 years and got a number of degrees. Afterwards, my whole concept of life changed — it was soft, easy, guaranteed, insured. I was sitting pretty — I mean, I was set for life. I had a position at Ohio University, finally, and had tenure — nobody could get rid of me. I was an associate professor, I had a nice income and a lot of free time, could make extra money, had prestige — everybody thinks a professor knows it all, that he’s smart — they had no idea! So I thought that was it, but then my brother, my dad and I had a farm in Nebraska that they incorporated, and it got larger and larger. My brother came home from the Korean War, and he enlarged it to 15,000 acres from my dad’s original three-quarters of a section. He thought the bigger he could make it, the more money he could make, but that wasn’t true.

ACRES U.S.A. This was a cattle ranch?

JANSEN. It was 600 head of cattle and 5,000 acres of wheat each year. He thought the bigger it got, the more profit you would make, but actually, it was more expenses, more payments we had to make.

ACRES U.S.A. You raised buffalo too, didn’t you?

JANSEN. We had 50 head of buffalo on the side. That was just for our own meat at the time. It was a better meat.

ACRES U.S.A. Maybe the buffalo is a good place to start, because Dr. Albrecht always said that the buffalo is a cow with more intelligence than the best nutritionists.

JANSEN. That’s true!

ACRES U.S.A. What were your observations?

JANSEN. Well, after I found out about how ocean water carried all the elements — that is, the nutrients — in the water, and I read Dr. Maynard Murray’s book, I put some ocean water crystals on my pasture. The buffalo let me know exactly where I had put it. They laid on it, they wallowed in it, they ate it, they got up and sucked on it at night, and they grazed that section of the pasture to the ground, like lawnmowers. I realized that they could tell the difference. These buffalo are very picky. They wouldn’t eat alfalfa. I got the best third-cutting alfalfa I could buy and put it back in the yard, and they just sniffed it and walked on — never took a bite of it. They loved their grass, and they wanted it nutritious. They never had any health problems — we had them about 20 years. They never had a tumor, we never lost a buffalo — well, we lost about three calves that got stampeded by the herd near the water tank, but that’s all. Other than that, they were very smart. If I brought a friend with me to the pasture, the buffalo would stay away. We couldn’t get close, but if I went alone, I had to watch out that they wouldn’t hook me with a horn, as they did each other. They can’t stand to be too close; they would break up. We had to drive them one time about 10 miles, and I worried about how we were going to keep them together, but they never separated like cattle.

ACRES U.S.A. They seemed to have a penchant for Dr. Maynard Murray’s sea solids.

JANSEN. Yes, they understood that it was filled with nutrition.

ACRES U.S.A. How did you encounter Dr. Murray?

JANSEN. After I had been at the university for 13 years, my brother died. My dad was in his late 70s, and he couldn’t run this 15,000-acre farm alone, so I was called to quit teaching, drop my tenure, and come back home and take care of the farm. As a young man of 17 when I left, I had sworn I would never go back to the farm. I knew that wasn’t my life. I began my education in pre-med, thinking I’d be a doctor and be rich, and I’d never be worried about money again! But it changed several times. Anyway, I got another degree, and I had plenty of education to get a job anytime. But when I came back from teaching at OU in the ’70s, my dad was ill, and he was the only one I could depend on to give me guidance as to how to run this insanity of a farm that was massive — 30 miles across. The hired hands had to have radios to talk to each other. We had gobbled up little farms.

ACRES U.S.A. But you couldn’t make any money?

JANSEN. No. When I took over after my brother’s death, I found out that my dad and I each made $10,000 a year after everything was taken care of. This after working from dark to dark, feeding the cattle all winter, working all summer. So I said, “We’re gonna get rid of it! I’m not staying here.” But getting back to when I heard about Dr. Murray — shortly before I discovered his work, my dad, who had suffered from health problems since his childhood, began to experience fainting spells, and I thought, “He’s going to die from that tumor he has.”

ACRES U.S.A. This was a chemical farm, in the strict meaning of the phrase?


ACRES U.S.A. You used just about everything there was …

JANSEN. My brother tried everything because he thought he was going to do it right and get it big and make it work. We used anhydrous ammonia; we used all the chemicals. When I came home to take over the farm, I helped out with some of it. I hadn’t paid attention before to how it was run because I was teaching at the university, but I’d sometimes come home for harvest. I went into the shed and looked at all the skull-and-crossbones boxes, and I couldn’t believe it — it scared me half to death, because they were dangerous chemicals! I mean, I’m sure there was Agent Orange and everything else in there that could kill us. It almost killed one of my hired men, and that woke me up. Some gasses, as the heavy machinery came around, got into his cab — he couldn’t get the window rolled up fast enough, and he inhaled the stuff, and he was jumping around in the cab, gasping for breath. I thought he was being funny, and then later on he told me he almost died in there. And I thought, “Whoa! What’s going on here?” That made me think, and I sold all of our chemicals — I sold all the pumps, all the big 5,000-gallon tanks. My dad said, “What are we going to do? We’re going to go broke!” I said, “I don’t know, but I’m going to quit poisoning.”

ACRES U.S.A. So you needed to find a new approach.

JANSEN. Yes, and shortly after that decision, I learned about Dr. Murray. When I read his book, showing that we could get not just the 10 essentials, but all 92 elements in our soil, I said, “That’s an answer!” I was visiting Indiana, and a man there told me he had a book I ought to read. When he told me the title was Sea Energy Agriculture, I was skeptical and said, “Do you know where I’m from? I’m from Nebraska! I’m 1,000 miles from any ocean. Why would I be interested in an ocean book?” He said, “Well, you’ll like it — just read it. I’ll send it to you.” When I got home from Indiana to take my dad to the doctor, there was the book. I read it, and it changed my life. I knew that Murray was right.

ACRES U.S.A. Why don’t we sketch very briefly for Acres U.S.A. readers what Dr. Maynard Murray had to say that caught your attention so irretrievably?

JANSEN. He pointed out that in the ocean, all over the world, 92 elements are in solution in proper relationship. He pointed out that he had examined every sea through the Navy for his research, and they were all the same — sometimes it was a little heavier or a little less, but the relationship between all the elements was the same.

ACRES U.S.A. What created his interest in the sea and checking out these water samples from all over the world?

JANSEN. After I bought Dr. Murray’s farm in Fort Myers, Florida, I spent one year growing vegetables in his hydroponic farm, and he would stop by each day and we’d talk, and he told me his stories. After he got his M.D. and practiced in Chicago, he then went on to get a special postgraduate doctorate in internal medicine, and he went to Boston. During his internship there — this was back in the ’40s — he would spend a full day’s work looking at sick people in the hospital, then he’d go to the dock to watch the fishermen come in, and as they came in, he’d talk to them. Some had fished for 50 years, and he’d ask them, “What diseases do fish have?” They responded that they had never seen a sick fish in their lives — they cut ‘em open, but never saw a tumor, never saw a diseased fish of any kind. Murray was so intrigued with that, because he’d go back to the hospital, and everybody was full of tumors. He thought, “Why are men so full of tumors but the fish aren’t? There must be something in the ocean.” and then he started researching the ocean.

ACRES U.S.A. In addition to these elements you mentioned, what other lessons did he draw?

JANSEN. He found out that the ocean had disinfectant peroxide — the rainwater has H2O2 in it, all of it does, and it is dumped into the ocean continuously where it disinfects all the anaerobic bacteria. He found that ocean trout are much larger and healthier and never have any cancer, whereas with the river, freshwater trout species, a big percentage of them are cancerous. He said that one time he sent home a sample of the thymus of a mother whale approximately 80 years old, and its baby beside it which had been caught by fishermen. He took a sample, a slice, of the mother whale and the 2-year-old baby, marked them “A” and “B,” and shipped these specimens to the University of Chicago, asking the lab to tell him which was the baby and which was the mother. They couldn’t tell the difference. The tissue was so fresh, like a baby’s, the 80-year-old mother’s was the same. Dr. Murray knew then that the ocean with its proper nutrition keeps us young and alive with the oxygen in the water.

ACRES U.S.A. Ponce de Leon was looking for the Fountain of Youth on land, only he was sailing on it all the time?

JANSEN. Dr. Murray tells us that’s where it is, yes.

ACRES U.S.A. These were the lessons you picked up to carry forward — what were the next steps you took?

JANSEN. He thought that because we poisoned our soil so much, it could take eons to get it turned back and detoxified. To get the soil mineralized properly or to get the toxins out is so difficult that he moved toward hydroponics, where he grew everything in river rock. I bought this farm in Fort Myers and learned that plants don’t need soil — the soil is handy to change organic minerals in leaves and plants and vegetables into inorganic so the plant can use them. He wrote a whole chapter on organic versus inorganic chemistry. He understood it, and he was always impatient when he talked about it because they’ve turned that word into a totally different meaning from that of actual organic chemistry.

ACRES U.S.A. Let’s talk about organic and inorganic for a moment. “Organic” means that it contains carbon.

JANSEN. I’m not a chemist as Dr. Murray was. He had three doctor’s degrees and read prolifically. Each night he’d read at least two books. He understood chemistry enough that he pointed out to me that every element had to have a carbon atom attached to it for it to be organic in the body, and plants do that. They are the manufacturers of organics. Man can’t do it.

ACRES U.S.A. The plants take in inorganic elements or nutrients and turn them into organic.

JANSEN. Correct. They only want inorganic. They, like us, can take in organic, but that doesn’t do the plants any good. They want inorganic nutrients to make a healthy plant. They’ll then put a carbon atom to it, and make it organic so that we can eat it. We get rid of the carbon as we exhale, and give it back to the plant. And they get rid of the oxygen — they want the carbon. So we are in synch with the plants.

ACRES U.S.A. You did say that you were able to farm without soil, which we of course know anchors the plant, but you’re able to farm on river rock?


ACRES U.S.A. But your nutrient base was not NPK fertilization, it was the elements or nutrients contained in ocean water sea solids?

JANSEN. Yes. The plants were anchored in the rock, which held them up, but also insured that the nutrients wouldn’t absorb into the soil, but rather into the roots. Pebbles or marbles would work just as well, and now I’ve grown plants in tubes without soil or rock, just water, and they love moving water so that’s one of the better ways of doing it. Flowing water is something plants love — it gives oxygen and the elements.

ACRES U.S.A. In terms of uptake of nutrients, what is the difference between taking it out of the seawater and taking it out of the soil?

JANSEN. Well, the soil is a medium that is handy — a farmer doesn’t have to water it twice a day. The soil holds the water and all the compost. We know that composting involves heat and aerobic bacteria, taking the organic and changing it to inorganic so the plant can use it. Fallen leaves have to rot and turn around into inorganic, and the carbon atom has to leave for the plant to find use for all the organics we throw down the drain. So the soil is its own manufacturer, changing organics to inorganics for the plants. That doesn’t happen with river rock and sea solids — they come from the ocean inorganic, ready to go.

ACRES U.S.A. In the ocean there would be a rather plentiful supply.

JANSEN. Oh, quite. At some points, Dr. Murray told me, the ocean is seven miles deep. Seventy-five percent of the Earth is covered with water.

ACRES U.S.A. What are the elements that, say, the tomato plant would take up using ocean solids?

JANSEN. Dr. Murray found that plants all have their own likes. They all pick up and use such a smorgasbord of the 92 elements in front of them. They pick up what they like and what they need. The tomato plant I never tested properly because the instruments we had in the ’80s were not adequate — they tested poorly — and each time I tested them, 40 elements were in there, but Dr. Murray said the tomato plant picked up 56. He said the sweet potatoes, as far as he had discovered, picked up more elements than any other vegetable, and that was close to 70.

ACRES U.S.A. And this is to be compared to tomatoes that Firman Bear grew, where they might pick up say, 2 ppm, very few elements, growing in soil systems.

JANSEN. Most fruits and vegetables need these elements to the max for them to be really healthy. Grass — I’ve found in the last 10 years, because we’ve done quite a few studies on wheat grass — picks up more elements than any of the vegetables we have. The wheat grass I now grow, we’ve tested it in the last year, picks up all 92 elements — give or take, because there’s some manmade elements — and two of those are debatable, chemists say they never existed.

ACRES U.S.A.  The reports out of the USDA seem to imply that maybe 14 to 18 elements are essential. Would you comment on that?

JANSEN.  I’ve found that the elements and the animo acids and the enzymes that men say are essential are so labeled only because they have been able to isolate and market them — then they become essential. But those that they haven’t isolated, packaged and marketed are not “essential.” That’s their definition, as far as I can tell.

ACRES U.S.A.  Henry Schroeder, in Trace Elements and Man,  says that it would take 400 more years to find out just which of these 92 elements are essential.

JANSEN.  Well, since there will never be enough chemists to understand nature and God’s fantastic network of life, I think, as Dr. Murray said, they are all essential, but we don’t know how. He knew that the ocean holds in solution 92 elements equally, the same way, all over the world. He researched that, and he had the Navy send him samples, and it was always the same. That’s why, let’s say, magnesium balls form on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean — the water didn’t hold this excess magnesium, it drops it when it gets just the right amount. That water is smart to know not to get too much, and Dr. Murray felt that that fantastic mapping of water all over the world has to be for a purpose, and he felt that it was our nutrition, to feed our plants, and we could have total nutrition — that is, if we fed this to plants.

Wheat Grass

ACRES U.S.A. But in the plant kingdom that you’ve observed you find that wheat grass picks up more than anything else. This brings us back to Dr. Charles Schnabel and Ann Wigmore. What do you know about her?

JANSEN. Ann Wigmore spent her childhood learning about wheat grass in Germany during the war. She and her mother and her grandmother were isolated in a hideout because the men had to go to war and were killed. The women were hiding in their house — they couldn’t go out because soldiers were going by, they were raping and pillaging anything they found.

ACRES U.S.A.  These were Russian soldiers.

JANSEN. Yes. So they had nothing to eat, and grandmother would tell Ann to go out and pick some grass from the yard — she probably had to pull the grass up between her hands — and they would eat the grass. Wigmore said they had nothing else to eat, but they never got sick; they were healthy through the war. They kept hiding out, and they made it. Then, when she came to the United States as a teenager, she helped her uncle. He wanted help, so he asked Ann to come over to his office and help him deliver milk. She drove a delivery cart with horses. One day the cart tipped over, she fell under with her ankles, and both ankles were broken. Her uncle was very upset because here he was paying for this woman, gave her a trip over, and she was no use to anybody. Her ankles were swollen, gangrene set in, and they turned black. She knew she’d never walk again unless she had something done. She remembered her grandmother saying that the grass would save her life, so she had her relatives set her out in the yard during the day when they were gone to work. When she was alone, she’d pull all the grass around her chair as far as she could reach, and she ate grass all day. She did this day after day. Each day she’d ask to sit in a different place — she’d say the sun was too bright, or there was not enough sun — so she could get new grass. Over a period of time her ankles healed up, and she was finally able to walk again. Then she knew the fantastic strength in wheat grass, and she set up four centers — one in Boston, one in Palm Beach, one in San Diego, and one in Puerto Rico — called Hippocrates Institutes. The healing that she did with wheat grass was incredible.

ACRES U.S.A.  This is the wheat grass you’re growing?

JANSEN. Well, I’ve improved on that and grow mine in ocean water. We had it tested. Hers already did phenomenal things because it took up everything it could, but mine takes up all the elements, and it’s incredibly powerful. I’m now in the process of expanding all over the United States and other countries.

ACRES U.S.A.  Where are you so far?

JANSEN.  We’re incorporated, and we have discovered a machine in Australia that was built to take care of Arabian horses — very expensive, $40 to $50 million horses — who need grass continually as they go to races, jumping contests. They can’t afford to move these horses back on dry grass or it’ll make them so sick they can’t perform, so a machine was developed — the small one produces 1 ton of grass a day, and the big one does 12 tons, either oats or barley or wheat, whatever you put in.

ACRES U.S.A. So in effect those horses are eating sprouts?

JANSEN. Well, in a sense, but the plants are about 7 or 8 inches tall — not sprouts like we think of sprouts.

ACRES U.S.A. Short grass.

JANSEN. Wild grass, I’d call it in Nebraska, but it would be short grass.

ACRES U.S.A. And those horses are fed this grass continually, and they win races?

JANSEN.  Yes, yes. We found out about the machine through a world champion jumping horse out of Canada. Big Ben was his name, and they had a machine following him all the time, wherever he went.

ACRES U.S.A.  What does this juice do?

JANSEN. Well, the body will heal itself if it has a chance — if it has the nutrition, it’ll do marvelous things. My father was on it for two years, wheat grass, 8 ounces a day, and his hair grew back in, he was bald, and his hair started growing back in — it grew in white, and then it started getting black. Then his eyesight turned back to 20/20 — he had always worn glasses — but before he went to sleep and left this world, the last few years he had 20/20 vision, got his driver’s license at 90 years of age, and saw perfectly. His skin became young, too. People would say, “I can’t believe it!”

ACRES U.S.A.  And he had tumors and all kinds of things, didn’t he?

JANSEN.  He had cancer from the age of seven — all of his life. He was given up to die a couple of times in my lifetime — I remember hearing the doctor say, “He won’t live until morning,” but somehow he did — he was so sick, yet troupers can kick it.

ACRES U.S.A. How long does it take you to produce an edible sprout or grass for juice?

JANSEN. We can usually grow wheat grass in seven days to the right height, and then we cut it and juice it.

ACRES U.S.A. Running it through a regular juicer?

JANSEN. Well, no, a special juicer, too. Grass is very strong, and cattle, because they have a rumen stomach, can digest it in there, but humans don’t have that extra stomach to add the acid and allow the right fermentation to get the juice out, so they make special juicers that squeeze the juice out of the grass.

ACRES U.S.A.  This business of fiber is often discussed — people say that food needs fiber. What would your comment be on that?

JANSEN. Many books now proclaim — and I have not done the research myself — that the water of a plant carries the nutrients, because cells don’t eat fiber, they eat minerals — water carries the nutrients, that’s what goes to the cell. But we get rid of all the fiber, and its OK to go in the stomach to squeeze and milk the nutrients out of that fiber, but the fiber is discarded. I haven’t proved that, but I do sort of believe it — the liquid carries the nutrition, so I juice as much as I can. I know a well-known juice man who invented a machine that made sure the juice didn’t get too hot and get rid of the enzymes at 118 degrees — the spinners often get too hot or they have such a grinding they form heat. So he made a hydraulic press machine that pressed the juice out of vegetables — it squeezed the juice out into a bag. He was very sick as a young man and found out that the nutrients from grass go directly into the bloodstream, and he made this machine and lived to 119 years of age.

ACRES U.S.A. Don’t you have a practical problem with juice, though? You can’t keep it very long, and in order to distribute it very widely, you’d run out of time, wouldn’t you?

JANSEN. The conventional juice industry can put in additives and preservatives and all kinds of chemicals, but we don’t do that. But we did many tests of our wheat grass juice, and we’ve found that there was no change in it from the moment it’s juiced to 12 days later, when it starts to deteriorate. So we ask our customers to have the juice consumed in 10 days, to make sure that they don’t start consuming it after it deteriorates. We seal it and oxygenate it so that it won’t deteriorate. There hasn’t been any problem, and it has worked thus far.

Seawater & Sea Solids for Plants

ACRES U.S.A.  What are the prospects of running a hydroponic vegetable garden — not necessarily dedicated to grass or wheat grass, but to the broad spectrum of vegetables, from tomatoes to asparagus to whatever?

JANSEN.  In my experience over the last 20 years, growing vegetables, I’ve tried everything I could, everything I could get my hands on. People brought me plants that I never heard of. I grew peanuts — and by the way, they were salty inside, they were incredible! The salt is organic, from the ocean.

ACRES U.S.A.  Presalted peanuts!

Beds at the 11-acre hydroponic farm Jansen operated previous to his near-exclusive concentration on grass juice. The tank in the center contains 40,000 gallons of ocean nutrients properly keyed to the specific crops. There are 66 beds, each 100 feet long.

JANSEN.  Internally salted peanuts! And they are delicious! I grew watermelon and corn and peas of all kinds and cucumbers and tomatoes and papaya — had fantastic papaya!

ACRES U.S.A.  You don’t just use fresh seawater?

JANSEN.  There are different dilutions for different plants. Dr. Murray warned me that when I used open pollinated seed, I’m able to use just ocean water — nature’s adjusted to straight ocean water — but when I use hybrid, they’re bred to use more NPK, and I had to add some NPK to hybrid plants to make it easier on them.

ACRES U.S.A.  Has anyone ever worked out the index of what dilution is used per plant?

JANSEN.  Dr. Murray spent a big part of his research getting the right dilutions for the right plants, yes. Coconut trees, for example, used straight ocean water — they love to live right by the ocean, right at the beach, and he raised fantastic coconuts.

ACRES U.S.A. And tomatoes?

JANSEN. They needed a little dilution — everything I grew needed dilution — some very light. I found out just lately that flowers need much less than what I use in fruit plants. Flowering plants like orchids and roses — I use my same solution on those, some of our results are great, but we need to get that worked out.

ACRES U.S.A. Why couldn’t you take and bottle ocean water, or a concentration of ocean water, and teach people how to dilute it, and use it as a complete fertilizer? Without actually calling it that, of course, because all states have defined “fertilizer” as NPK.

JANSEN. Well, we’ve begun doing that. Dr. Murray used straight ocean water when he began his farm here in Fort Myers in the ’50s. When I bought it in the early ’70s, he had changed to crystals, because the ocean became so polluted around the United States, he couldn’t use it anymore. You have to go out 10, 20 or 30 miles to be sure to get good water. In the Gulf, you can’t get clean water even in the middle of it. On the other shore, on the Atlantic, you can go out 30 miles and you’re in blue water, so there are ways to do it. We are now taking a boat out 30 miles and have a machine that extracts and concentrates the ocean water. So presently we have got it to the place where one gallon makes 100 gallons of fertilizer. But we call it “solution,” we don’t call it fertilizer.

ACRES U.S.A.  This concentrator — how does that work?

JANSEN.  I wish I could tell you — we had it built for us, told them what we wanted.

ACRES U.S.A.  Reverse osmosis?

JANSEN.  No, not at all. The content is not heated or anything else, but the men in the factory figured out a way that they could do it for us and salvage all the elements without injuring them, so that’s what we do, and maybe one day I’ll understand it!

ACRES U.S.A.  But that’s the potential right there.

JANSEN.  Yes, and I’m sure that Dr. Murray would be very happy with what we’ve been able to do already, because he had to take ocean water straight — then it became toxic, and he quit it. The farm I bought from him had a big tank on it, but he didn’t use it anymore, and we got rid of it because I couldn’t get the ocean water either. He would have liked to use ocean water because he states in his book that a cubic foot of ocean water has five times more aerobic bacteria than the soil does, and we would like to believe that you could take our ocean water and put it in your soil and it would increase the aerobic action in your soil, not destroy it.

ACRES U.S.A. Yet agronomists will argue that if you’re using ocean water, you’re putting way too much salt on the ground — you’re going to destroy your acre.

JANSEN. It would be true, in a sense, if you had absolute solid clay. You would have to be very careful to use it very sparingly, maybe once or twice a year as a maximum, but on sandy loam and sandy soil it’s wonderful.

ACRES U.S.A. So what you’re basically doing is delivering the nutrients to the plant, only nature has decreed that the mix is going to be just perfect, and the uptake depends on the plant.

JANSEN. Yes, and of course we dilute the ocean water we market, and on the label are certain suggested dilutions — as farmers know, you need to check your soil and see what content you have in there.

ACRES U.S.A. What potential is there for using this sea solids approach or diluted water approach on golf courses and sports turf? There are a lot of people who are highly concerned about toxicity on the golf course, and you notice that many athletes die of Lou Gehrig’s Disease, Alzheimer’s and things like that well before their time.

JANSEN. Well, as Albrecht told us and proved, when you give nutrition to a plant and it’s totally nutritious, then bugs aren’t interested in it, so there’s no need for toxic pesticides. The bacteria and the insects are not interested. Their job is not to eat live flesh any more than the vulture’s is to eat live animals walking around. The vulture’s job only comes in play when the animal is dead and begins rotting — then the vultures come and eat it. Such is the case with insects. Phil Callahan points out that insects have antennas to pick up signals from dying plants. When they get that vibration, they eat it, whether it looks alive or not. We have them propped up with our chemicals, so corn looks beautiful, but it’s empty — there’s no nutrition inside, and so the insects eat it. One of the proofs of this is with my tomatoes that picked up 56 elements — for years here in Florida, when I shipped them to all the big markets, the big chain stores like Winn-Dixie and Publix — I promised them that if any tomato didn’t last a month on the shelf, I’d replace it, because they’re so full of nutrition, they last,  and they did. I never replaced a tomato in my 20 years of growing vegetables. They last a month, easily.

ACRES U.S.A. The same could be said for cucumbers, etc.?

JANSEN. Yes. They all have their lifespan, but it’s way beyond what they have when they’re processed chemically.

ACRES U.S.A. This also works in the flower trade?

JANSEN. Yes — my herbs — the gourmet cooks were amazed at how my herbs lasted, weeks beyond any they had ever bought before. And the salt — you mentioned before that maybe the salt would kill soil — Dr. Murray told me he believed that sodium was the number one element in the ocean for a reason. He believed the reason was that salt is very drawing — it’s the first thing that goes up in the plant, and then it pulls up all the heavy elements, and that’s the only way they’ll ever get up into the plant. There has to be a drawing power to pick up iron and copper, whatever — it has to have help, and that salt helps it get into the plant. He believed that most of the iron we’ve got in the garden soil never gets to the plant if there’s no salt there, and that nature has put it in the ocean, ready to go. I haven’t been able to prove it — he hoped I could someday, and maybe one day I’ll get to it. But it works, that’s all I can say!

ACRES U.S.A. But the focal point of what you’re doing now continues to be wheat grass, and of course this is of maximum interest to most farmers because of a move to bring cattle back out of feedlots and grow them on grass. This interest of farmers in grass and in finishing cattle on grass has its own reason for being, with or without sea solids, and one of the reasons would be that cattle finished on grass are not going to be contaminated with E. coli escaping the colon, is that correct?

JANSEN. Yes, with one caveat. Grass is nature’s most abundant food in the world, and yet it can survive on no nutrition or on total nutrition. It’s interesting. Florida grass is so deficient in nutrition that cattle ranchers here, which is the second largest group of cattle ranchers in the United States, have to be careful that they don’t leave the cattle on one field too long, because they’d die of starvation. They have to move them to new grass — hoping that there will be enough nutrients there in the new grass for a short time to keep the cows alive. It’s unbelievable to me, being from Nebraska, that you have to keep trying to find a little bit of nutrition, that the grass is gorgeous — it’s 2 feet, 3 feet high — but like my father said when we came here, “Look at this grass! And look how skinny the cows are!” He couldn’t understand it.

ACRES U.S.A. Of course when we say “grass for cattle,” we imply that this is going to be nutritious grass. People often wonder why grass in Mississippi looks so beautiful, is so cosmetic, yet cows are starving on it, whereas in the High Plains, the grass is 2 inches high, and the cattle are getting fat on it.

JANSEN. It’s because of nutrition.

ACRES U.S.A. But if grass receives a diet of these 92 elements, we would change the entire situation, wherever it is.

JANSEN. Yep. That’s why I’m putting an emphasis toward growing grass for people, and getting the juice for them to drink, so they’ll have one food that is totally nutritious for them. It’s stated in books that eight ounces of wheat grass a day is enough for you to live on, without anything else to eat, and still be in total health — eight ounces of juice a day will keep a person alive and healthy. So that’s a big difference from all the food we buy and all the toxins we eat.

ACRES U.S.A. That might be some sort of an answer to this matter of 50 percent of the population becoming obese.

JANSEN. Surely.

ACRES U.S.A. You see people walking through the supermarket who are axe-handle wide and still hungry.

JANSEN. They’re starving to death — the heavier they are, the closer they are to starvation, because their body has a hidden hunger and is saying, “What can I eat to get some nutrition?” And it repeats it over and over, so they reach for everything they see, hoping maybe there’ll be some nutrition in it.

This interview appeared in the September 2003 issue of Acres U.S.A.

Donald Jansen is the founder of OceanGrown, LLC. Carrying on the work of Dr. Maynard Murray, who taught Jansen the chemistry and technology of nutritious foods, he has tested and grown a wide variety of herbs, fruits and vegetables in ocean solution (both soil and hydroponics). He has lectured widely on nutrition and health as it relates to plant growth and the assimilation of vital nutrients. 

Maynard Murray’s book  Sea Energy Agriculture is available from the  Acres U.S.A. bookstore.