Vegan-Organic – The New Paradigm

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“Animal products, both meat and dairy, in general require more resources and cause higher emissions than plant-based alternatives” states a report by the United Nations Environment Programme which has hit the early June headlines. *

The report provides further evidence of the huge environmental impact of meat and dairy products, a fact which has already led to initiatives such as meat-free Mondays and a big increase in the consumption of vegetarian and vegan alternatives.

VON (Vegan Organic Network – an international network of farmers, growers, gardeners and anyone interested in food, growing food and the future of food) has a particular interest in the report.

“Once again we see official acknowledgement of the problems caused by livestock farming” says representative Sally Ford. “One look at the picture on page 80 of the report should be enough to convince most people that we need a new paradigm. We don’t claim to have all the answers, but growing vegan-organically is clearly the way forward for a world where abundant animal manure is soon going to be a thing of the past. Vegan-organic growers (or stockfree organic as they are known in the trade) have been successfully producing food all around the world for many years, with zero animal inputs. Fertility is built up and maintained by careful crop rotation, use of green manures, composting and mulching. These techniques can be used anywhere from gardens to field-scale production. Global sustainable food production is our goal and we hope that the UN and other major organisations will soon be promoting vegan-organic techniques worldwide.”

One of the pioneers of stockfree organic produce is Iain Tolhurst whose award-winning Oxfordshire farm produces healthy food for 400 local families each week. His was the first UK farm to be awarded the VON Stockfree Organic certification. Seewww.tolhurstorganic.co.uk

Information about the VON standards and the support and advice the charity offers can be found at www.veganorganic.net  and a wealth of information about commercial stockfree organic growing at www.stockfreeorganic.net

* “Assessing the Environmental Impacts of Consumption & Production – Priority Products & Materials.” is available online at:http://www.unep.org/resourcepanel/documents/pdf/PriorityProductsAndMaterials_Report_Full.pdf

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