We were pleased to host a presentation by inspirational farmer Iain Tolhurst of Tolhurst Organic. We were inspired by his way of growing that puts nature and biodiversity at its centre. We’re also thrilled at how many people have contacted us since the event to tell us how much they enjoyed it!
The video of Iain’s talk is available on the brand new BCCF YouTube channel (with apologies for the missing minute at the beginning due to technical problems). Iain’s talk is around 40 minutes, followed by a Q&A session after. For anyone who is interested to know more, we have pulled together some resources we hope you’ll find useful:
So what is ‘veganic’ farming?
As described by the Vegan Organic Network, “‘Veganic’ is a combination of two words ‘vegan’ and ‘organic’. It’s a guarantee that food is grown in an organic way with only plant based fertilizers, encouraging functional biodiversity so pesticides are not necessary. No chemicals, no GMO and no animal by products in any part of the chain. Veganic food is resilient to the largest problems facing humanity i.e. environmental destruction, pollution of the sea and air and soil erosion.”
This is achieved “through wide crop rotations, systematic mixed cultivation, a careful and diversified tilling of the soil, the planting of hedges and flower strips as well as the creation of habitats within the growing area. It includes arable crop growing and small scale market gardening.”
For those curious about why veganic growers don’t use animal manure, you might find the Vegan Organic Network’s article ‘Answering a frequent question: isn’t manure natural?’ an interesting read.
How can I use ‘veganic’ methods in my garden or allotment?
The Garden Organic website has a list of green manures, with details of sowing times and soil types. Green manures are plants grown to benefit the soil, giving better drainage or water retention, suppressing weeds and attract beneficial insects and other predators.
The VON has pages on its website dedicated to advice for gardeners and farmers, as well as a wealth of articles on subjects such as seed saving, growing techniques and wildlife. It also has details of veganic growers both in the UK & Ireland and further afield.
If you’d like to connect with other people interested in veganic growing, the Vegan Organic Network has a Facebook community page where you can follow their work, as well as a public page for discussion.
Tolhurst Organic has a website, a Facebook page and an Instagram account. You can find details of farms walks and other events (although these are currently affected by COVID-19 restrictions). For a perspective from the US, Seed the Commons is a San Francisco-based organisation which works to create ‘sustainable and just food systems’ without the use of animals. Their website has a wealth of information and their Facebook page frequently runs or posts links to veganic events.