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Farming Freedom: Grow Veganic!

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Farming Freedom: Grow Veganic!

Contents

Salutations!

As you read… 

What are your thoughts on this overall? Do you have any other ideas or input? 

Your expertise is different from mine…

How would you go about making progress in veganic farming? What focus areas are more or less important to you? 

What is veganic (vegan organic)?

Definition of veganic

: Growing plants using practices that are both vegan and organic.

Synonyms: Stock-free farming, animal-free agriculture

man farming using veganic methods

I first saw this term advertised on One Degree‘s[1] Veganic bread. I assumed it meant the ingredients were vegan and grown organically. Organic? Yes. But after some reading, I discovered veganic also referred to a vegan growing process

Vegan growing wasn’t something I’d thought much about. I knew about manure use, but not the full extent and impact of animal use in growing plants. Plants – in my foods and fabrics – are grown with manure, fish emulsion (ground fish), blood, feather, and bone meal. Yeah…we’re not wearing or eating the fertilizers, but using plants grown with animals is financially supporting the industry that abuses and destroys both animals and the environment. Thankfully, vegan and sustainable growers are implementing their own growing techniques. 

I started researching veganic growing techniques

Attempting to eat veganically without having my own place to grow, I contacted organic stores and farmers in search of food grown veganically. Struggling in my search, I researched farming to understand what was involved. 

I’m now investigating the strengths, struggles, and needs of current farmers searching for how to support other current, new and transitioning veganic growers.

I’m connecting with a variety of veganic farmers and discussing things like growing techniques and sustainability, along with farmers’ backgrounds and how they came to veganic farming. In addition, we discuss networking and the effects of business and government policies on their farming practices. Conversations are ongoing.

WHAT WOULD YOU ASK VEGANIC FARMERS?

Learn more about veganic farms in the US

1. La Colina Linda (LCL) Farm

In southern Illinois, 2013, one acre began its transformation from a commercial hayfield to La Colina Linda (LCL) Farm – thanks to Kathy Ward and Jeri Kinser. 

Kathy, a “recovering sociology professor,” researched civil rights movements and investigated anti-domestic violence and women’s empowerment activity in Bangladesh. As a professor, Kathy volunteered with her students at a nearby learning center and community garden, both directed by Jeri.

The community garden led to La Colina Linda, now an OMRI certified organic, regenerative, veganic, four-season farm. La Colina Linda is interwoven with their vegan gluten-free baking, catering and farm-to-table business operated from their home. Kathy and Jeri live with their rescue dog Rosie and their mini Aussie Kali.

Kathy encourages everyone to: 

“Buy from us! Read more about what we’re doing. Talk with us! … I’m very much about teaching people how to cook vegan, eat vegan, the ethos of all that…that’s the thing I miss about not being at the farmer’s market is talking with people.” 

2. Flow Farm

“Community relationships, engagements,” as Mark Epstein at Flow Farm named it. 

Garden clubs, students, and researchers all visit the farm. Community engagement is central to Mark’s vision.

“I want to sell our food directly to people that eat it. Families. And I want those families to come and visit the farm, and to have a relationship with the soil and what we’re doing here. Because it really is this community project. Feeding people is this community.” 

Mark is farmer and owner of Flow Farm with his wife Jules Latham. Mark, previously in finance, and Jules, an environmental attorney, began farming as a hobby. Their two sons have grown up on the now 15 acre farm in Pinehurst, North Carolina.

Mark’s a lifelong vegetarian and former Earth Save board member, but veganic farming was new terrain. “Just always learning, AL-WAYS LEAR-NING…you have to be open to…that you’re sitting in the space of unknown.” Starting out in 2004 Mark says, “I didn’t even know what we were doing…there weren’t any good roadmaps back then.”

That’s changed. Mark describes Will Bonsall’s Essential Guide to Radical, Self-Reliant Gardening as “absolute required reading…some people may find it a little too homesteady and preachy and stuff like that. But it’s required reading because it really sets the space so well.” Other amazing growers “just didn’t quite see that there was a necessity to go further towards veganic and to really establish those practices. And that’s why Will Bonsall is so amazing.”

3. Khadigher Farm

Will Bonsall began homesteading in 1971 forming Khadigher Farm in Farmington Maine.

After considering subsistence livestock, he realized that “veganic just made more sense.”

“I just realized the efficiency of it, labor and efficiency. At this point, I wasn’t thinking of the eco, you know, the land use. This is just going to be so impractical and so much drudgery. Could I avoid it altogether?”

Khadigher Farm is both Will’s homestead and home to his beloved Scatterseed Project, protecting seed diversity within the growing community. “I’d love to get this established more permanently. I’d like to be able to die…I’m feeling in pretty good health. I don’t see that eminently happening, but at my age one never knows.”

To support Scatterseed and sustain his legacy, Will conceived E.V.E., a “for profit, non-profit” selling specialty veganics (kimchi, sauerkraut, cider…). Marketing’s a new adventure. “I’m 72 years old and I’ve just finally decided what I want to be when I grow up, you know, and it’s kind of like, like I’ve got to, kinda, got to go back to school.”

When first starting out he says “I figured a lot of things out by accident…I’ve made so many mistakes by doing it my way…if I were starting over again, I perhaps would be a little more open to looking around.” He’d love a diverse community of veganic growers. Adding with his quirky, candid, and lighthearted charm: 

“Even if they’re bashing something I’m going to say ‘yeah, Will Bonsall does…, but this is much better.’ I’d love that! That’s great! Let’s be bickering between ourselves over which form of veganic is the best.”

While not so much veganic bickering, conversations are happening. Nation Rising hosted Transitioning to Veganic Farming featuring several veganic farmers. 

4. Hygieia Homestead

One featured farmer, Mark Gillen and his wide Dr. Janet J. Allen began creating their Hygieia Homestead in 2007.

They built a passive solar, earth berm home, and transitioned 55 acres of conventional eastern Michigan farmland to Certified Organic. But, Mark acknowledges “we used to use animal manure regularly, whenever we could get it for years.”

Around 2015, not wanting to exploit animals for fertilizer they switched to veganic. Just like Will experienced, the veganic transition was not just a relief ethically, but also less effort. Manure required extra equipment and ”you’ve got to worry about all the safety issues…it’s safer for the farmers, the workers, the food.” With increasing government safety regulations, he adds “their big bugaboo is manure.” Remove animal inputs and you “eliminate that whole hassle.” Veganic is “not as hard as you may think.” 

Hygieia Homestead grow produce for their farm stand, restaurants, local stores, and donations. They sell seed garlic throughout the US. Janet, previously a nurse, has written several vegan books. Together, they teach whole food, plant-based lifestyle, and sustainable farming classes within their community.

a veganic farm

How to contribute towards veganic farming

What to do? Grow and do all things veganic!

1) EAT VEGANIC 

Grow your own 

At home or through a community garden (like the one where Kathy and Jeri met).

Buy from a veganic farm near you. 

Find Veganic farms near you!

2) TALK WITH YOUR LOCAL FARMERS

Ask your farmers if they grow anything without animal inputs. If they don’t but seem interested, give them more information and support them in transitioning.

3) CONTACT YOUR FAVORITE COMPANIES

Ask whether they source any ingredients and materials (fabric too!) grown veganically. 

Example Email: 

Hello! I love your {something you like}. Are any of your ingredients grown veganically? I know this term is unregulated at the moment, but I’m interested in finding companies like One Degree Organics and Vegan Wines that have products that are animal friendly from the agricultural growing practices to final production. 

Also is all your packaging compostable? Is the ink vegetable ink? Is the glue vegan? Here’s an example: georganics. I truly appreciate your efforts at being a vegan and environmentally conscious company and am happy to be a future customer and promoter of your brand. Thanks for all you’re already doing!

4) SHARE YOUR SKILLS AND SUPPORT VEGANIC ORGANIZATIONS

What do you want to do? What’s your specialty? 

Volunteer

  • Get your hands dirty growing veganics
  • Organize the veganic community
  • Campaign to change government policies
  • Share your expertise

Need some guidance? Get in touch! I have endless ideas.

OR 

Contact a veganic organization below 

Campaign And/Or Lobby Government For Policy Changes To Encourage Transitioning Towards Plant-Based Farming

Events, Resources, And Networking For Veganic And Veg-Curious Growers 

5) SOCIALIZE VEGANICS

Veganics has been a bit of a recluse…get veganics out there! 

You can discuss veganics with:

  • Friends
  • Baristas and bartenders
  • Unrelenting solicitors
  • Family
  • Hairstylists
  • Community groups and organizations
  • Teachers
  • Landscapers
  • Your next one night stand or an overly flirtatious stranger

– You never really know where a minor introduction creates a major impact –

fruit grown through veganic farming

Veganic Feedback is Fruity

What have I missed? How can we run, climb, cliff jump, dance, wiggle our way to something a little better? (How can we campaign, organize, network, code, research, support, etc. to improve the living conditions of all?)

Again if you’ve read this far…

Feedback is Fruity! 🍒🥑

Make your thoughts fruitful!

Footnotes

[1] One Degree does use “ethical organic honey” in two clearly labeled products. They also do not use sustainable packaging. But…they do support veganic farmers, stating on their website, “Our farmers use sustainable, veganic farming methods, and look after the soil, water, and resources they need so the crops they grow can thrive, year after year.”

A penny for your thoughts

This post may contain affiliate links (see full disclaimer here). We only ever promote brands that we love and believe in and always avoid using Amazon wherever possible. If you make a purchase after clicking, we may receive a small commission to help us write more helpful articles like this one!

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