|Vegan organic gardening - Veggie organic gardening - aims to produce organically grown foods
and other crops whilst minimising (preferably erradicating) the
exploitation or harm of any living creature. It is therefore a method
of farming without the use of animal products or byproducts. Vegan organic farming is similar to organic horticulture but does not allow the use of materials such as blood, fish and bone meal or animal manures because the production of these is viewed as either harming animals directly, or is associated with the use of animals for meat, milk or leisure activities.
While just about all veganic gardeners try to maintain a healthy
soil environment, and prefer to rely on compost, green manures, and cover crops, as much as possible, to maintain soil ecology and good
levels of plant nutrients, some veganic gardeners are not strictly
organic, and may utilize pesticides and industrially-produced plant
nutrients, in addition to using organic techniques such as compost,
green manures, and cover crops.
Soil fertility doesn't originate from animals; it comes from plants
at the bottom of the food chain. When grass is filtered through a cow
most of the nitrogen is lost in her urine. Instead, take the grass that
would go to feed a cow and put it directly into your compost pile -
you'll get the nitrogen you need in addition to other nutrients that
aren't found in manure. Using the grass and other plant-based materials
yields more organic matter than manure.
Soil fertility is maintained by the use of green manures, composted vegetable matter and minerals, often supplemented with the addition of human waste such as urine, which provides nitrogen and 'humanure' produced from compost toilets.
Although some veganic gardeners avoid the potential health risks of
using human waste. Such wastes may technically be considered 'animal
products', however the many vegan organic growers (including the Vegan Organic Network) do not consider their usage unacceptable as there is unlikely to have been exploitation associated with their production.
|Benefits of Vegan Organic Gardening - It reduces food safety risks such as E. coli and the human form of Mad Cow Disease (Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease) which can be spread through bone and blood meal
|It decrease dependence upon slaughterhouse and fisheries
by-products by eliminating the use of bone, blood, feather, and fish
meals and manure
|Preserves water and soil quality, reduces waste, feeds more people
|Veganic Gardening - The Kenneth Dalziel O'Brien Veganic Gardening Method - is a distinct system that was developed by Rosa Dalziell O'Brien, Kenneth Dalziel O'Brien, and May E Bruce, although the term was originally coined by Geoffrey Rudd.
The Kenneth Dalziel O'Brien system employs very specific techniques
based around the addition of straw and other vegetable wastes in order
to maintain soil fertility. Unlike other stockfree systems, gardeners following the Dalziel O'Brien system do not use soil covering mulches, instead employing non- compacting surface cultivation techniques using a special wide-bladed hand hoe called a ' scrapper '.
Kenneth Dalziel O'Brien published a description of his system in
Veganic Gardening, the Alternative System for Healthier Crops,
published in 1986 by Thorson's Publishing Group. ISBN 0-7225-1208-2
Many veganic gardeners do not hesitate to use mulches. They
generally prefer natural materials but will use commercial materials on
|Growing Our Own - Kathleen Jannaway (Movement for Compassionate Living publishing) - a practical guide to vegan organic gardening
|Veganic Gardening- The Alternative System for Healthier Crops - Kenneth Dalziel O'Brien (Thorsons Publishing, 1986, ISBN 0-7225-1208-2 ) - a full exposition of the Veganic gardening system.
|Vegan Organic Network Vegan Organic gardening - the basics
|Centre for Vegan Organic Education (US-based)
|Earthly Origin of Commercial Materials Eductional Org photos
|Why vegan-organics? - Also called stock-free farming, vegan-organics is a system which
avoids all artificial chemical products (synthetic fertiliser,
pesticides, growth regulators), genetically modified organisms, animal
manures and slaughterhouse by-products (blood, fish meal, bone meal,
|To preserve soil fertility, vegan-organic growers insist on
green manures, composts made of plant-based materials, mulches made
from plant-based materials, and every other long-term method which is
ecologically viable and which does not rely on any form of animal
|Generally it is inspired by principles which favour
biodiversity, reduced working of the soil, and the use of perennial and
native plants. The aim of increasing energy efficiency while reducing
environmental impact is reflected in the importance of buying and
selling produce locally and thus reducing the use of machinery for
|Prevention is the cornerstone of the fight against competing
organisms (pests). The idea is to seek an equilibrium between
cultivated and wild areas, by developing favourable habitats for
natural predators, such as hedges for wind-breaks and ponds. So
competing organisms are viewed as indicators and not as enemies that
should be fought. The system focuses explicitly on tolerance and
accepts as a first principle that part of the harvest goes to nature.
Repellents may nevertheless in some circumstances be used: in the
Stockfree Organic Standards, their use is restriced to cases of
|The vegan-organic system is therefore not completely animal-free!.
On the contrary, by nourishing the soil and reducing the amount it is worked, an active fauna enriches and improves the soil: above all the earthworm.
|The Stockfree Organic Standards, produced by VOT, are the definitive guide to all aspects of vegan-organic growing. These apply strictly only to those who wish to become registered organic growers,
while others may use them as a guide.
|Lack of animal manure
Some farms have no nearby source of sufficient manure and so opt for a
plant-based alternative. If the organic standards were more restrictive
and only allowed the use of manure from organic farms, then there would
be an even greater scarcity of suitable manure; yet this would
encourage the development of plant-based alternatives.
|Organic from start to finish
Many organic farms use manure from non-organic farms. Although
generally composted, traces of hormones, antibiotics, genetically
modified organisms or other contaminants could still be present. As for
fertilisers originating in abattoirs, many growers are uncomfortable
with their use, and some scientists have reservations as to the
possible transmission of prions (the agent in the disease BSE and its
human form, vCJD) when using these fertilisers (eg by inhalation).
|No more dependence on conventional agriculture
Whether it is the manure from conventional dairy farmers, or the
powdered feathers from the industrial-scale chicken farmers, the use of
these fertilisers seems to legitimise and support conventional farming.
|Increased self-sufficiency in fertilisers
Many farms try to minimise inputs by using above all green manures and compost which they make themselves.
|Eliminate intermediaries - Standard organic fertilisers rely on the transformation of plants into
compost by the manure produced by animals. At each stage there are
nevertheless losses, from volatilisation (ammoniacal nitrogen), from
leaching, or from the energy required for the biological functions of
the animal. Since all manure ultimately comes from plants (apart from
mineral fertilisers) some prefer to shorten the chain by eliminating
the stage of transformation by animals, instead composting the plants
directly. In the case of green manures, mulching and chipped branch
wood (also known as ramal), even the stage of composting itself is
|Aiming for efficiency rather than for productivity
Productivity is a measure of the yield per hectare, which does not take
into account the energy required to produce and transport the inputs.
The environmental impact of farming depends on an assessment of the
total energy required to produce a given quantity of food.
|Ethical and health
|Vegetarians and vegans - Those who choose not to eat animal products also would like to choose
to have their food grown in a way which does not rely on the farming of animals.
|Health concerns - Vegan-organic methods avoid the hazards associated with food production
involving animal wastes, hormones, aggressive chemicals, genetic engineering and other environmentally damaging systems, so will be of interest to all those concerned with sustainable healthy living whether or not they are
vegan or vegetarian.
|Reduce the environmental impact
The use of alternatives to animal manure (compost, green manures,
mulching and chipped branch wood) improves the soil and avoids the
necessity of raising animals. Raising animals demands high inputs in
terms of water, fodder and land, and so leads towards monoculture and
the use of heavy machinery and thus to the degradation of the soil
(compaction, erosion, loss of biodiversity, and leaching). Land
liberated from grazing and fodder production could be used to produce
renewable fuels, organic soil improvers, natural fibres and
construction materials, thus reducing dependence on fossil fuels and
clear-felling of forests.
|Nature as model
Biodiversity and the use of decomposing plant matter to feed new plants
are the very basis of natural growth. The best example is the forest
where fertility comes from the accumulation of plants on the surface,
without working the soil and (almost) without the addition of animal
|World peace and justice
|Fighting world hunger Worldwide, 38% of total grain production is fed to animals. Developed
nations import vast quantities of grain to feed animals, often from
very poor countries where people do not have enough to eat. So avoiding
animal products favours the economical use of land, which can be used
directly for growing food to feed people.
|World peace and environmental justice If agriculture continues its present course across the planet, it is
predicted that there will be wars over water resources, conflict over
land rights, farmers increasingly dispossessed and marginalised, a
widening of the gap between affluent and poor, increasing
intensification of animal farming, depletion of the quality of soils,
damage to the oceans, devastation of rain forests and many other
negative factors. Vegan-organics points a way out of these problems. It is not just an
alternative eco-friendly agricultural method, it is an holistic system,
marrying ethics and pragmatic solutions for tackling world hunger,
animal exploitation and environmental degradation; it spells hope for
the lessening of conflict and for making a better world.