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Welcome to the Vegan Organic Network (VON) Newsletter!

A call to counter the false solution of regenerative grazing 

Proponents of regenerative agriculture misrepresent vegans as advocating ecosystems without animals They posit that animals fulfil integral functions in their ecosystems and that without them, an ecosystem can only be unhealthy and an agricultural system can only be unsustainable. Nobody is disagreeing with them, but we don’t need to commodify animals for animal life to be present. In fact, grazing is wiping out the diversity of animal life to make way for a few species we have decided to subjugate and profit from.

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Indian Creates Vegan Wool From A Wasteland Plant

Intrigued at the sight of hummingbirds using a fibre from a flowering plant to keep their young ones warm, Tamil Nadu-based Gowri Shankar's curiosity about this plant piqued as he was looking out of his window one day. Shankar identified the plant as Calotropis and began to research about the plant's fibre. Five months on, he created an alternative to wool that is wholly plant-sourced and vegan.

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Watch now, for some twenty-four carrot advice from Swedish Veganic Farmer Peter Albrecht, Aranya Austin Permaculture designer and Wildlife Film Maker Piers Warren, answering gardening questions sent in by the audience.

Perennial vegetables: A neglected resource for biodiversity, carbon sequestration, and nutrition

Perennial vegetables are a neglected and underutilized class of crops with potential to address 21st century challenges. They represent 33–56% of cultivated vegetable species, and occupy 6% of world vegetable cropland. Despite their distinct relevance to climate change mitigation and nutritional security, perennial vegetables receive little attention in the scientific literature. Compared to widely grown and marketed vegetable crops, many perennial vegetables show higher levels of key nutrients needed to address deficiencies. Trees with edible leaves are the group of vegetables with the highest levels of these key nutrients. Individual “multi-nutrient” species are identified with very high levels of multiple nutrients for addressing deficiencies. 

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One Tasmanian's 54-year obsession to catalogue all of the world's edible plants to end malnutrition

When agricultural scientist Bruce French was teaching agriculture in Papua New Guinea, his students had a strong message for him.
They were sick of being taught about western plants and wanted to learn more about their native produce.
"I knew nothing about those, so I had to learn them," Mr French said. "And I just kept going. What about the next country, and the next country?"
In the five decades since, Mr French has created a database of more than 31,000 edible plants, which is almost every plant from every country on earth.
 

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Critique of Montana Outdoors proposed “Green'' Grazing article

For every example of “green grazing'' out there I can show you 100 examples of where livestock production is destroying and degrading our natural landscape.
As a BLM botanist and biologist and in researching dozens of books on western landscapes,  I saw first hand the bogus arguments that “Good grazing”' was good for wildlife. It’s like saying that city dumps are good for wildlife because ravens and gulls love them. You can always point to some wildlife that benefits from habitat destruction or degradation, but it’s the big picture that is important. And the “good grazing’ misses the big picture.

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Farmers Storm Mexican Dam

Thousands of farmers stormed a dam in Mexico’s northern border state of Chihuahua Tuesday, using firebombs, sticks and rocks to drive back National Guard soldiers, who opened fire with tear gas and live ammunition, killing two protesters. The farmers are demanding Mexico stop diverting water to the United States from the La Boquilla Dam, which they say has left them unable to irrigate their crops amid a searing drought. This is Abel Alvarado, one of the protesters.

Abel Alvarado: “It is a reaction from citizens who are defending their homeland. Water is everyone’s heritage. Water doesn’t belong to anyone. Water is for everyone in Chihuahua, for all Mexicans.”

Under terms of a 1944 treaty, Mexico owes the United States nearly a half-billion cubic meters of water, to be paid by October 24.

Not-so-nice nitrogen

The main causes of nitrogen loss from soil are nitrate leaching and nitrous oxide emission. Both processes are favoured by the above-mentioned state of nitrogen saturation, as well as by an ample supply of water. The water is required by the microorganisms that carry out the reactions, so in a completely dry soil the nitrogen losses should theoretically be nil. Water is also necessary (in the case of leaching) to transport the nitrate downwards and in the case of nitrous oxide production by denitrification to fill the soil pores and create the necessary anaerobic conditions for the denitrifying bacteria.

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Cleve West Veganic Gardening Tips for September

  • Nip tops off tomatoes to divert energy to last few trusses.
  • Take hardwood cuttings of blackcurrants, redcurrants etc and gooseberries.
  • Harvest crops and store, dry, freeze or preserve where possible.
  • Apples - Once fruit starts falling naturally it’s often worth picking unblemished fruit for winter storage. Discard rotting fruit.
  • Get squash and pumpkins off the ground and ripen in the sun if possible. 
  • Cut beans at ground level and compost stems and foliage.
  • Harvest dried beans for winter use. 
  • Protect brassicas from birds.
  • Sow overwintering green manures where possible (eg field beans, winter tares, Hungarian rye.)
  • Keep strawberry plants tidy to discourage slugs and pot up runners.
  • Sow overwintering leaves like mizuna, rocket (undercover but for planting out).
  • Order/plant bulbs
  • Divide perennials
The Garden of Vegan by Cleve West and other Veganic Books

WILL BUYING HONEY SAVE THE BEES?

Because honey is profitable, the honey industry has created the misconception that stealing honeybees’ food source somehow benefits them. In reality, the honey industry harms not only the honeybees, but also other species of bees and pollinators. In the US, the honey industry is particularly damaging, as honeybees are a non-native and invasive species. Here are answers to common questions and misconceptions about honey:

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Do you want to be an Organic Farmer?

Being an organic grower is an incredibly fulfilling job, nourishing people and planet. But it's also fraught with risk, underpaid, and incredibly hard work! Is it for you?

Join us on Wednesday 23rd September 4.00 pm at Woodbank Community Food Hub, Stockport.

Interested in organic food production but not sure if it’s for you? Come and find out more and meet growers and trainees in this honest and pragmatic talk and Q&A Session (booking is necessary).

Please note only veganic methods are used on the course.

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Food Justice Film Festival 2020

Free #FoodJusticeFilmFestival with award-winning films and panel discussions with the filmmakers, farmers and activists. 

Featured Films:

Gather (Sep. 24) 

Invisible Vegan (Sep. 25) 

Dolores (Sep. 26) 

Urban Roots (Sep. 27)

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  • Vegan Organic Network (VON) are an educational charity, founded in 1996, the only U.K based organisation solely dedicated to veganic farming and growing.
  • VON created the first Stockfree Veganic Standards.
  • We network with farms around the world and support veganic farmers and farmers in transition.
  • Encourage vegan companies to source veganic ingredients for their products.
  • VON are co-organising the international conference on Plant-based organic farming, which will be held in the European Parliament in Brussel’s in October of this year, where we hope to influence government policy makers who will be invited to the conference.

Registered charity no. 1080847  
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