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Welcome to the Vegan Organic Network (VON) Newsletter!

Working with nature's abundance. Learning all about veganic growing on a farm tour at Tolhurst Organic 
The enthusiasm of Iain Tolhurst, known as Tolly, is delivered in tsunami waves of knowledge throughout the tour. This level of sustained enthusiasm is no mean feat. His work over many decades as a livestock-free organic producer, meaning no inputs from farmed animals at all, has been pioneering, and he has had to test and develop many approaches the hard way, without a guidebook to follow.  This means constantly taking risks and accepting that certain things will ‘fail’ as part of that learning process, over and above the standard perils of any gardener battling with our unpredictable weather as well as the consequences of climate change. For many this would have been overwhelming to breaking point.

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Veganic -FarmStart

Want to become an organic farmer? This part-time, year-long course could be your gateway into farming or commercial horticulture.

Sunday 22nd November is the deadline for you to get your FarmStart application forms into us.

Please email for more information and the application form.


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The global movement to restore nature's biodiversity | Thomas Crowther


A practical guide to Green Manures and Cover Crops

Green manures are a well known way to add humus to soil to increase fertility so that chemical fertiliser use can be reduced.

A green manure is a crop grown to improve the crops. Once grown, they are usually incorporated into the soil shortly before sowing the next cash crop. With rising nitrogen fertiliser prices and an ever-increasing requirement to farm in an environmentally sustainable way, green manures are fast becoming a viable way to cut input costs, add fertility and improve the soil.

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Natural debate: Do forests grow better without our help?

When Susan Cook-Patton was doing a postdoc in forest restoration at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Maryland seven years ago, she says she helped plant 20,000 trees along Chesapeake Bay. It was a salutary lesson. “The ones that grew best were mostly ones we didn’t plant,” she remembers. “They just grew naturally on the ground we had set aside for planting. Lots popped up all around. It was a good reminder that nature knows what it is doing.”

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PlantAge Biovegan

Veganic farming means that we implement the guidelines for organic farming and go one step further: For ethical and ecological reasons , we consciously refrain from using animal fertilisers such as manure, horn meal, liquid manure and other slaughterhouse waste.

We use
compost, mulch or other vegetable fertiliser such as malt germ pellets or grass clover . Also, green manure and crop rotation are important and natural ways to give the plants everything they need to grow.

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Lively lupins

Lupins are of great potential interest to the vegan organic grower. The foliage is not dense but the long roots fix nitrogen and break up and aerate the ground bringing up nutrients from deep in the soil. They are of special use to those working light sandy soils as they like these conditions and the roots stabilise the topsoil overwinter, helping to prevent rain and wind erosion. Typically, lupins fix 25% more free nitrogen than clovers and 28% more than peas and beans. This is a very hardworking green manure!

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Piers Warren's Gardening Tips for November

It might feel like the garden is starting to sleep for a few months but there’s still plenty to do…

Garlic, onion sets and shallots can be planted out now, protect with fleece if you are in a frost-prone area.
Support Brussels sprouts plants with canes as they will be getting top-heavy now.
Prune fruit bushes including blackcurrants, redcurrants, whitecurrants and gooseberries and now is also a good time to take hardwood cuttings from these.
Plant out new bare-root fruit trees and bushes.
Dig up Jerusalem artichokes and store the tubers in boxes of compost. Cut up the stalks and add to your compost heap. 
Sow broad bean seeds under cover.

VON Book Shop

Willow Mulch for Fruit Trees 

Wouldn't we all love to find a magic remedy to help our fruit trees become healthier and more pest and disease resistant? Well, scientists in the UK may have discovered that magic remedy and it comes in the form of single-source willow mulch.

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Farming for a Future

Our panel will discuss how farming can create carbon sinks and revive nature as well as answering questions sent in by the audience.

Thursday November 26th
7pm-7.45 UK Time

Streaming live on Facebook and Youtube

Send your questions to:

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  • By supporting Vegan Organic Network you enable us to:

  •  Teach people how to grow food the veganic way

  •  Support farmers  converting to veganic farming

  •  Encourage food companies to source their ingredients from veganic farms

  • Veganic for the…

    Climate Soil Animals People  Environment
    The Vegan Organic Network is the only organisation in the UK working for vegan food to be grown the veganic way.

    Registered charity no. 1080847  
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