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Welcome to the Vegan Organic Network (VON) Newsletter!


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How can farmers thrive on their land without using animals? We will have critical conversations with expert panellists and farmers in transition from all over the world–and together we will push the needle ever further in the direction of solving this question. The imminent concerns around food, the economy, the animals, and climate will take all of us working together to reframe the vegan proposition and bring farmers and ranchers to the marketplace of ideas.

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Tolly Rambles on...

The reality of prices for farm products is that today’s price for cereals crops is in real terms less than half the price it was in the 70s. So, farmers have had to double yields in order to stay in business. This lowering of food prices has been at the expense of farm incomes and the wider environment. Loss of biodiversity, declining soil health, increased atmospheric carbon and farmers’ wives taking jobs at supermarket tills is the end result of a cheap food policy that this country has been pursuing for a century.

From 2021 farm support incomes will change, the payments will no longer be linked to land area but will be dependent on farmers delivering public goods. You may well be wondering what exactly these public goods will be? Carbon capture in soil, reinstatement of biodiversity, clean air and water, re-afforestation, rewilding, public access, improved animal welfare, crop diversification, maintenance of cultural and archaeological features, soil protection in winter and a host of other “public” interest features.

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Watch latest instalment of VGQT

Bees Love Cannabis! Researchers Discover Hemp Could help Restore Bee Populations 

Hemp attracts bees in droves, a new study finds.
Researchers tested several strains and found bees – both wild and domestic – love them all, especially the taller varieties.
It’s an unusual finding considering cannabis doesn’t possess the sweet nectar or bright colors typical of flowers that attract pollinators.
The researchers speculate it’s something to do with the plentiful pollen found in hemp flowers.

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Vegan start-up VeganNation recently announced that it has secured a 10-year lease to preserve 15,000 acres of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest. The initiative comes as record-breaking fires continue to burn in the Amazon region, likely caused by farmers attempting to clear the land for cattle ranching. VeganNation—which is aiming to create the world’s first online vegan ecosystem—will open the land to preservation groups and activists in an effort to protect it from deforestation and wildlife poaching. 

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The Wonder Plant That Could Slash Fertilizer Use

An indigenous Mexican corn gets its nitrogen from the air.

For thousands of years, people from Sierra Mixe, a mountainous region in southern Mexico, have been cultivating an unusual variety of giant corn (maize). They grow the crop on soils that are poor in nitrogen—an essential nutrient—and they barely use any additional fertilizer. And yet, their corn towers over conventional varieties, reaching heights of more than 16 feet. 

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New test for gene-edited crops will help organic and non-GMO food sectors keep new GMOs under control

In September, a group of non-governmental organizations, non-GMO food associations, and a food retailer announced that the first-ever public detection method for a gene-edited crop had been successfully developed and published. The gene-edited crop is an herbicide-tolerant canola, called SU Canola, developed by U.S. biotechnology company Cibus.

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From seed to harvest, the food that arrives on our plates is far from its natural form. Whilst the majority of the population trust in farmers, supply chains and environmental regulations, we are often exposed to a toxic concoction of chemicals. This has the potential to affect our mood, health and bodily functions to a far greater extent than ever imagined.

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Gardening Tips for January-By Piers Warren author of The Vegan Cook and Gardener

  • Plan which seeds you want to sow this coming year but bear in mind most seed companies are already seeing a higher demand than they can handle - so check out their websites in advance for ordering advice.
  • Parsnips and other root crops can become inaccessible in frozen ground. So regularly dig up a few and leave on the surface covered with straw or leaf-mould for easy access on an icy day.
  • You can still plant bare-rooted fruit trees and bushes on a frost free day.
  • Sow tomato and aubergine seeds in a heated propagator.
  • Stake Brussels sprout plants that look vulnerable to wind rock.
  • Prune autumn raspberries down to ground level.
  • For an early crop, sow seeds indoors such as lettuce, spring onions, spinach, turnips and cauliflower.
VON Book Shop

The Three Sisters Planting Technique – The Most Efficient Way To Grow Food

Companion planting is all the rage these days, but did you know this practice goes back thousands of years? 

The three sisters garden is one of the oldest and most well known companion planting styles.

Believed to be named by the Iroquois well before colonials landed in America, this style of companion planting works by growing three crops together in a symbiotic relationship.

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It’s No Longer Survival of the Fittest, But an Extension of Generosity to Others

“The hubris of humans is thinking that we’re smarter than nature, right? And thinking that all this technology is going to save us. None of this technology will save us unless it’s invested in the natural systems.”

Paul Stamets is a world-renowned mycologist, author, and entrepreneur, helping people understand the benefits of medicinal fungi and the importance of nature’s ecosystems.

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Intro to Agroforestry

Join our short presentation and Q&A on our agrofrestry project at Kindling Veganic Farm, with Helen and Chris.

Wednesday 3rd February 2021 - 7:00pm
Wednesday 3rd February 2021 - 8:30pm

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Soil and Habitat-Building Techniques on a Closed-System Organic Orchard and Vegetable Farm with Helen Atthowe

In this workshop series, we will look at the evolution towards agroecology of 35-year certified organic Woodleaf Farm and 17-year organic Biodesign Farm: How Woodleaf and Biodesign Farms went from managing only crops to instead managing a web of below and above-ground ecological relationships. We will discuss the difference between "carbon farming" and "nitrogen farming" and methods to optimize soil microbial community diversity and abundance.

Wed, January 27, 2021

10:30 PM – 11:30 PM GMT

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Commercial Growers short courses

Interested in establishing an organic food business? Our 4-day commercial growers course or one day sessions are run by experienced growers.

Each year we run a 4-day Commercial Organic Horticulture Course - offering people an amazing training opportunity to learn how to set up an organic food growing business from local growers themselves.

It's ideal for finding out about organic farming business practices and the next steps if you are thinking of setting up a growing business.

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The Vegan Organic Network
Our mission is to be a world-wide movement of veganic farmers, growers, producers, consumers and supporters, which will raise awareness, influence policy and educate people about the principles and benefits of veganic agriculture.
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