Veganic Gardeners Question Time 24th February

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Veganic Gardeners’ Question Time

Kerri Waters – Viva! Farmers Coordinator will host an entertaining evening with some twenty-four carrot advice from herbalist Keith Robertson, permaculture teacher Aranya and veg grower Piers Warren.

Please send your questions to: events@veganorganic.net

Thursday 24th February

7pm-7.45pm UK Time

Free tickets

Event line up:

Kerri Waters – Viva! Farmers Coordinator

Kerri Waters is a PhD researcher and project coordinator for Viva! Farming – an organisation helping animal farmers transition to alternative forms of farming. Her interest in farming and food grew when she worked for Defra during her studies at the Rural Payment Agency processing subsidies for farmers. It was here that she first understood the financial and political problems the farming community faces in today’s modern food system. Driven by a passion for food, she has worked as a chef in kitchens across the UK and France and studied French cuisine in Paris. She became vegan in 2016 after realising the environmental impacts of animal agriculture and meeting the love of her life – a cairn terrier called Rufus. Since then, she has campaigned for a better world for animals and a fairer food system. She is currently conducting doctoral research looking at a just transition for animal farmers beyond animal-based agriculture.

Viva! Farming:  https://vivafarming.org.uk/

Keith Robertson:

Founder of the Scottish School of Herbal Medicine at Drimlabarra Herb Farm on the Isle of Arran. Established in 2000, the farm is run on Veganic/Stockfree lines combining vegan (100% vegetarian) and organic philosophy.

We are in effect, a Vegan sanctuary and retreat centre, dedicated to researching planetary health via herbal treatments, diet, cooking and raw food and practical hands-on green living. Our interest lies in community building and cooperation. People can participate through interactive learning including attendance at workshops, individual consultations, apprenticeships and open day visits.

Scottish School of Herbal Medicine Courses:

10 month Home Help Correspondence Course.

Apprenticeship in Herbal Medicine 56 days of immersive medicinal plant study from May 3rd to June 27th 2022. Starts now by Distance Learning Course.

Celtic Herbal Medicine Intensive 22nd to the 31st August 

see www.veganherbal.com  for details.

Piers Warren:

Conservationist, author and keen grower of organic fruit and vegetables. He is the founder of Wildeye – The International School of Wildlife Film-making. Writer of several books and co-author of The Vegan Cook and Gardener.
More about Piers https://wildeye.co.uk/piers-warren/The Vegan Cook & Gardener https://veganorganic.net/product/vegan-cook-and-gardener/

Aranya: is one of Britain’s leading permaculture teachers, having taught nearly 100 two-week permaculture design courses (PDCs) since 2005. He’s author of the popular ‘Permaculture Design – a Step-by-Step Guide’, translated into 5  languages, and launched an online course last summer based on the design process described in the book. He’s currently finishing a second book, about the application of systems thinking and patterns in permaculture design, due to be published in 2022. He’s been gardening for 35 years, loves growing food and is especially interesting in low-input systems like forest gardening and no-dig.

Aranya’s website: https://www.learnpermaculture.com

Veganic Gardeners’ Question Time hopes to inspire and bring new ideas to foragers, growers and gardeners alike.

Now more than ever it is vital that we engage with how our food is grown.

Tune into our show and become part of the growing revolution which can not only transform your garden plot but also change the way the world grows its food.

A Vegan Organic Network production.

Veganic Gardeners Question Time November 1st

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Veganic Gardeners’ Question Time

Giles Bryant – World Healing Project, Founder will host an entertaining evening with some twenty-four carrot advice from date farmer Jamie Jones, permaculture teacher and veganic grower Piers Warren.

Please send your questions to: events@veganorganic.net.

Show will include footage from VON at COP26

Free tickets here

Event line up:

Giles Bryant – World Healing Project, Founder.

Giles has been a keen gardener for 30 years.  He has planted community orchards, forest gardens and medicinal herb areas at a variety of projects.  He runs the World Healing Project, promoting wellbeing for people and the planet, and has just released an 8-year project, One World, which features musicians and singers from around the world.  http://www.gilesbryant.com

Ellen Mary: Horticultural radio show host, TV presenter, writer and of course vegan. Travelled all over the world to discuss the benefits that nature provides to our wellbeing – specifically gardening.

Piers Warren: Conservationist, author and keen grower of organic fruit and vegetables. He is the founder of Wildeye – The International School of Wildlife Film-making. Writer of several books and co-author of The Vegan Cook and Gardener.
More about Piers https://www.pierswarren.co.uk/veganic/

The Vegan Cook & Gardener https://veganorganic.net/product/vegan-cook-and-gardener/

Meghan Kelly: Learned veganic permaculture to become more self-sufficient while sticking to her vegan values. She has practiced veganics for over 10 years in community gardens, concrete jungles and up in the hills. She runs the Learn Veganic online course  and co-founded the Veganic Agriculture Network .

Our website: https://learnveganic.com/
Our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LearnVeganic

Email: hello@learnveganic.com

Veganic Gardeners’ Question Time hopes to inspire and bring new ideas to foragers, growers and gardeners alike.

Now more than ever it is vital that we engage with how our food is grown.

Tune into our show and become part of the growing revolution which can not only transform your garden plot but also change the way the world grows its food.

A Vegan Organic Network production.

Rich Hardy From Undercover Journalist to Vegan Farmer

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Visit to Rich Hardy in Cornwall where he shows us how he’s turned half an acre of land into a small scale 100% veganic veg box scheme

Free tickets

Rich Hardy, Lazy Meadow Farm

From Undercover Journalist to Vegan Farmer

For two decades I lived a double-life.

And with the help of a hidden camera, some water-tight cover stories and a little luck I traversed the globe working undercover to document the damage factory farming was doing to the planet and the billions of suffering animals used to feed and clothe us. My images and testimony helped shape some pioneering legislation and were used by global animal charities to generate hard-hitting media exposés. But while it helped create change and promoted vegan lifestyles, it came at a bit of a personal cost.

Burnt out and in need of a change I turned to growing. Partly to help heal my soul a little after what I had witnessed but also as a challenge to the cruel factory farming model that growing food needn’t involve animal suffering or be so destructive. So, with my partner Pru, and taking an activist-inspired approach, we’ve set up a vegan farm in Cornwall that is half-way through its first season. Using veganic techniques and operating under a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model we harvest weekly and deliver veg boxes in and around Falmouth, Redruth and Truro.

Cherry and Dan from VON went to visit Rich on his land this summer to see how he was getting on in his first year as a veganic farmer.

Free tickets

What is Veganic Permaculture? Interview w/ Tony Martin

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Since our recent trip to Farm Dirt in Houston we started learning about sustainable, nutrient rich compost which is free from all animal byproducts that are in conventional and organic compost. This led us to veganic farming and permaculture. But what in the hell is veganic farming and permaculture?

“Veganic growing is but one aspect of a dynamic culture. Our commitment is to peace and justice for people, animals and the environment in a sustainable balance. To achieve this we must change our lifestyles and introduce a philosophy which will continue to maintain our unique planet. We are motivated by our awareness of the great unease in society that we are moving towards a world that can no longer sustain life in the natural way it has always evolved.” -Tony Martin

Tony Martin has always been interested in gardening since sampling real food grown in his grandparents garden when he was a kid. After growing food for 13 years in a 5th of an acre garden in Derbyshire UK he decided he needed a bigger play space and 15 years ago brought 5.5 acres of Welsh hillside where he planted over 12,500 trees and hundreds of fruit bushes. He has recently taken over as editor of the Vegan Organic Network’s magazine Growing Green International (GGI).

The Vegan Organic Network Aims:

-To educate the public about how their food is grown.

-To network with growers locally and around the world.

-To specify the methods and standards for veganic growing and to enable growers to become certified using these standards.

-To support veganic demonstration, education and research centres.

-To encourage veganic cultivation on a small scale as well as commercial growing.

-To support farmers who want to convert to veganic growing and individuals who want who want to learn how to grow veganically.

-To campaign for a veganic standard label on produce.

Growing Fresh Produce Under the Sea: A Most Surreal Experience

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By Colleen McDuling – Science Correspondent to the Vegan Organic Network

It sounds like something out of a science fiction novel or film, but there really is an undersea farm. Situated 40 meters off the coast of an Italian town called Noli in the Italian Riviera, and at a depth of around eight meters below the surface of the sea, Nemo’s Garden is the brainchild of an Italian father and son duo.

Back in 2012, Sergio Gamberini, a passionate diver and an equally passionate gardener,  was walking along the shore with some friends. Gazing out over the ocean, he pondered, “Would it be possible to grow basil under the sea?” And the idea was born. After much experimentation, a pilot undersea garden was set up. By 2018, Gamberini and his son, Luca, and their team were successfully growing a multitude of fresh produce: Basil, Thyme, Sage, Mint, Oregano, Rosemary, Liquorice, Black Cumin, Marjoram, Tomatoes, Strawberries, Lavender, Calendula, Stevia, Aloe Vera, Lettuces and Radishes.

However, in 2018, the fiercest storm ever recorded in the history of the Mediterranean struck. It was a disaster. Nemo’s Garden was almost destroyed. In 2019, the undersea garden was rebuilt. But then came the pandemic where the team was not even allowed to travel to the site. The team never gave up and Nemo’s Garden is now a thriving undersea venture where plants grow prolifically and healthfully.

But how are they doing this? And what is the science behind it all?

It’s quite simple, really. Below the surface of the sea are six transparent domes called biospheres. One might expect that they would be filled with sea water, but that is not the case. Only the lower part is filled with sea water, the remaining portion of each biosphere is filled with air! These biospheres are anchored to the sea bed by strong chains, screws and other reinforcing devices.

In the middle of the six biospheres is the “Tree of Life”, an apparatus that holds the monitoring cables which are connected to each biosphere and which feed data to the control tower on the shore. Each biosphere is monitored 24/7 for humidity, air temperature, carbon dioxide, oxygen, pressure, sea temperature and light. Webcams are available so that the interior of each biosphere may be monitored and there is a webcam on the ocean floor to monitor the external aquatic environment. There are intercoms for the diving gardeners to communicate with one another as well as the control tower on the shore.

The rationale for this uniquely novel way of growing plants is that since these plants are grown in a controlled environment, there is no need for any type of agrochemical. Plants, being delicate, need constant temperatures, water, light and protection from harm. Unfortunately, in conventional terrestrial farming practices, this is not always possible. In these biospheres, all of these factors are carefully controlled. The sea provides a constant temperature, a lot of water, the right pressure, the right humidity in the biospheres and the right level of light filtering in from above. But what of the salt? Well, evaporation of the sea water occurs, condensation (minus the salt) forms on the inside of the domes, and this is how the plants get their water. There are no insects, terrestrial snails and slugs, small mammals or anyone else usually found on land, living in the sea. And so the plants are free from predation. Although, a few crabs and one or two octopi, have been known to visit the plants out of sheer curiosity. Finding them not to their liking, they have graciously exited the domes.

Most of the plants are grown hydroponically, and thus, by definition, are not strictly veganic. But this method of growing fresh produce fits in perfectly with the ethos of veganic farming. No harm is done to the environment, no agrochemicals are used, no manures are used and most certainly no artificial, chemical fertilizers which contain animal products are used. Those who have tasted the fresh produce say that their flavour far exceeds that of conventionally grown crops. Indeed, the team have used their basil and other ingredients to make a delicious Italian pesto!

Sergio and Luca Gamberini are hoping to make this way of growing plants scalable. After all, the conditions on Earth are deteriorating. And some areas of the Earth are simply not suitable for growing fresh produce in any significant amount. Thus far, this appears to be a sustainable way of growing much-needed and nutritious food for Earth’s burgeoning population. And it is all solar powered!

For those of you who are interested, please go to Nemo’s Garden on the internet. There you will see their website and many reports of this. There are videos on YouTube, Vimeo and other similar platforms describing this novel and revolutionary way of growing our food. You might even see seahorses gliding up the anchoring chains. And there is a livestream on their site which is also accessible on YouTube. But be warned, watching the livestream is mesmerizing and you might not get anything done for the rest of the day. Seeing fish swim around whilst these plants are growing is indeed surreal. And if you are lucky, you might see the divers enter the biospheres to do their gardening – without their scuba breathing apparatus which they take off once they are in air.

Yes, it is surreal. But who knows? This could be the future of growing at least some of our much-needed vegan food. Only time will tell. We wish the Gamberini duo and their team the very best in this sustainable and novel horticulture endeavour.