Vegan organic gardening

Vegan organic gardening and farming is the organic cultivation and production of food crops and other crops with a minimal amount of exploitation or harm to any animal.[1] Vegan gardening and stock-free farming methods use no animal products or by-products, such as bloodmeal, fish products, bone meal, feces, or other animal-origin matter, because the production of these materials is viewed as either harming animals directly, or being associated with the exploitation and consequent suffering of animals. Some of these materials are by-products of animal husbandry, created during the process of cultivating animals for the production of meat, milk, skins, furs, entertainment, labor, or companionship; the sale of by-products decreases expenses and increases profit for those engaged in animal husbandry, and therefore helps support the animal husbandry industry, an outcome most vegans find unacceptable.[2]

Compared to organic farming as a whole, vegan organic farming is a minority practice. For instance, in 2019 there were 63 self-declared vegan organic farms in the United States,[3] and 16,585 certified organic farms.[4]

Veganic gardening

The veganic gardening method is a distinct system developed by Rosa Dalziel O'Brien, Kenneth Dalziel O'Brien and May E. Bruce, although the term was originally coined by Geoffrey Rudd as a contraction of vegetable organic in order to "denote a clear distinction between conventional chemical based systems and organic ones based on animal manures".[5] The O'Brien system's principal argument is that animal manures are harmful to soil health rather than that their use involves exploitation of and cruelty to animals.

The system employs very specific techniques including the addition of straw and other vegetable wastes to the soil in order to maintain soil fertility. Gardeners following the system use soil-covering mulches, and employ non-compacting surface cultivation techniques using any short-handled, wide-bladed, hand hoe. They kneel when surface cultivating, placing a board under their knees to spread out the pressure, and prevent soil compaction.[citation needed] Kenneth Dalziel O'Brien published a description of his system in Veganic Gardening, the Alternative System for Healthier Crops:

The veganic method of clearing heavily infested land is to take advantage of a plant's tendencies to move its roots nearer to the soil's surface when it is deprived of light. To make use of this principle, aided by a decaying process of the top growth of weeds, etc., it is necessary to subject such growth to heat and moisture in order to speed up the decay, and this is done by applying lime, then a heavy straw cover, and then the herbal compost activator…The following are required: Sufficient new straw to cover an area to be cleared to a depth of 3 to 4 inches.[6]

Before the term veganic was created, economist and simple living advocate Scott Nearing gave a speech at the 1953 World Vegetarian Congress in Sigtuna, Sweden with a title of "Food without Animal Residues."[7]


Soil fertility is maintained by the use of green manures, cover crops, green wastes, composted vegetable matter, and minerals. Some vegan gardeners may supplement this with human urine from vegans (which provides nitrogen) and 'humanure' from vegans, produced from compost toilets.[2]

Veganic gardeners may prepare soil for cultivation using the same method used by conventional and organic gardeners of breaking up the soil with hand tools and power tools and allowing the weeds to decompose.

Despite aiming at not harming animals, vegan organic farms certified as Biocyclic Vegan may still use pesticides against animals if preventative measures have failed,[8] for example Bacillus thuringiensis[9] which starves larvae to death.[10]


The Biocyclic Vegan Standard is an IFOAM-accredited organic standard for vegan organic farms.[11][12] It is awarded by BNS Biocyclic Network Services Ltd (a Cypriot company), and has accredited 12 farms in Europe.[13]

See also


  1. ^ "Different ways to garden veganically". Veganic Agriculture Network. 7 August 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Growing without cruelty - the vegan organic approach". The Vegan Society. Archived from the original on 2011-11-04. Retrieved 2011-11-20.
  3. ^ Seymour, Mona (2019). "Map of North American Veganic Farms". www.arcgis.com. Retrieved 2021-01-04.
  4. ^ "2019 Organic Survey". www.nass.usda.gov. Retrieved 2021-01-04.
  5. ^ Dalziel O'Brien, Kenneth, Veganic Gardening, 1986, page 9
  6. ^ Veganic Gardening, Kenneth Dalziel O'Brien, page 16
  7. ^ "World Vegetarian Congress 1953". www.ivu.org. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
  8. ^ "Biocyclic-Vegan Standards. Version 1.02" (PDF). BNS Biocyclic Network Services Ltd. 9 October 2017. p. 32. Only in case that the prophylactic and holistic measures taken have not been able to prevent the development of a situation critical to the crop (disease) and self-produced preparations are either not available or did not achieve a satisfactory result, the use of certain crop-treatment products as they are mentioned in the Green List can be permitted.
  9. ^ "The Biocyclic Vegan Standard. Annex B. Green List" (PDF). Biocyclic Vegan Standard. BNS Biocyclic Network Services Ltd. pp. 1–5. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  10. ^ "Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) General Fact Sheet". npic.orst.edu. Retrieved 2021-01-04.
  11. ^ "About us". BIOCYCLIC VEGAN STANDARD. Retrieved 2021-01-03.
  12. ^ "Organic Marketing & Export Network (O.M.E.N.) / PANHELLENIC BIOCYCLIC VEGAN NETWORK (BNS Biocyclic Network Services Ltd.) | Directory of Affiliates". IFOAM Organics International. Retrieved 2021-01-04.
  13. ^ "Location Chartres, Centre Val De Loire, France – Vegan-Farming.org". Retrieved 2021-01-03.

References and further reading

  • Growing Green: Organic Techniques for a Sustainable Future by Jenny Hall and Iain Tolhurst. Vegan Organic Network publishing, 2006, ISBN 0-9552225-0-8. Available in the US from Chelsea Green Publishing, ISBN 978-1-933392-49-3.
  • Growing Our Own: A Guide to Vegan Gardening by Kathleen Jannaway. Movement for Compassionate Living publishing, 1987. ASIN B001OQ7G8S.
  • Plants for a Future: Edible and Useful Plants for a Healthier World by Ken Fern. Hampshire: Permanent Publications, 1997. ISBN 1-85623-011-2.
  • Veganic Gardening- The Alternative System for Healthier Crops by Kenneth Dalziel O'Brien. Thorsons Publishing, 1986, ISBN 0-7225-1208-2.
  • Will Bonsall’s Essential Guide to Radical, Self-reliant Gardening: Innovative Techniques for Growing Vegetables, Grains, and Perennial Food Crops with Minimal Fossil Fuel and Animal Inputs by Will Bonsall. Chelsea Green Publishing. 2015. ISBN 1603584420.

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