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Welcome to the Vegan Organic Network (VON) Newsletter!

Brexit, our Agriculture and Biodiversity: The First Shoots of Havoc Appear

It has come to light that in 2020, Bayer, together with the National Farmers Union (NFU) secretly campaigned to allow the use of neonicotinoids on crops in the UK.[3] Over 1,200 farmers signed a petition to George Eustice asking him to bring back these toxic chemicals. The Farmers Weekly further reports that the case was fought out at the European Court of Justice last June.

The mainstream media now report that the UK government has given farmers the go-ahead to use one of the neonicotinoids called thiamethoxam on British sugar beet crops. 

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Tolly’s Ramble on… some good news and some not quite so good news

This time last year we were looking into our crops from the fields and from our storage and wondering how we were ever going to sell it all. 2019 had been a very productive growing season and crops were heavy. We had had two very good growing seasons which is an unusual occurrence as they generally only come along once every 3-4 years as a rule.
Customer demand had increased a little, but not enough to mop up the extra production. Then Covid and lockdown happened, and we were completely overwhelmed by a huge surge in demand from local people for our produce. So much so that we had to temporarily close Lin’s VegShed and our website, whilst we organised ourselves to deal with what was actually a rather lovely problem.

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Watch latest instalment of VGQT

Regenerate with Hemp! 

Agriculture is a leading cause of the climate crisis but it can be part of the solution. It’s time to shift farming to not only build healthy soils but to also sequester carbon through the use of regenerative agriculture, which has the potential to reverse climate change. Hemp couldn’t be a more perfect crop to lead the way in this regenerative movement!

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40 farms unite to forge vast network for Breckland wildlife

More than 40 farmers, covering more than 100,000 acres of Breckland, have forged a new network aiming to bring landscape-scale benefits to the region's unique wildlife.

The Breckland Farmers Wildlife Network, believed to be the largest farmland cluster in lowland UK, brings together collaborators ranging from vast agricultural estates to small family farms.

The question remains as to when will all life be considered equal; wildlife, livestock, cats, dogs, rabbits and chickens. It would be great if this area and all places were no kill zones.

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Peat-free woodchip compost for growing media

Field Lab Report
This report documents a field lab run as part of the Duchy Originals Future Farming Programme (now Innovative Farmers) that was held at Iain Tolhurst’s holding (Tolhurst Organic) in 2014. Iain has experimented with composting woodchip and using it as a growing media for transplants for a few years. The field lab trial explored using growing media based on woodchip compost, evaluating its performance in comparison to other growing materials. The trial involved comparing four different mediums in which cabbage and leek transplants were raised. Crop performance (growth, health, yield, quality of end product) was assessed throughout the growing period. 

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Even more reason to go veganic!

Can you have too much compost? Compost is the best thing for your garden – if you believe what you read so how can you have too much? The truth is that too much compost, especially manure compost, is harmful to your soil and plants.

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How To Set Up A Low Tech Mushroom Farm

  • Why Mushrooms are a great crop to grow
  • Why they’re perfect for small-scale local food production
  • How many mushrooms can be grown in a small unused space
  • Why low-tech mushroom farming is the easiest method
  • Some ideas for generating income from mushrooms

Ok, if that sounds like something you want to learn more about, let’s get stuck in!:

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

Prune autumn-fruiting raspberry canes down to ground level.
This is a good month for maintenance: check your greenhouse for any repairs needed, wash algae/mould from the panes of glass/polycarbonate; clean out your shed and organise seed trays and pots and make repairs to any raised beds and paths around the plot.

To find out what to sow, plant and pick, go to:

VON Book Shop

Soil Regen Summit 2021

March 15-18                                                            

Join some of the world’s most knowledgeable experts in Regenerative Agriculture in this free, virtual, 4-day event. If you’re a farmer or someone with a passion for the planet, then this event is for you! We’ll be covering a diversity of subjects like agroforestry, soil biology, market gardening, mycology, carbon sequestration, human health, ecology and so much more!                                                                                            This might not all be veganic, but we would love to hear some feedback if you attend.   

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Learn Veganic 7-week online gardening course 

Would you like to boost your self-sufficiency and grow your own food while having a positive impact on your health, the earth, and animals?
Join us to learn veganic gardening, online starting March 10th!
You'll learn:

  • 5+ ways to garden veganically
  • How healthy soil = vibrant plants
  • Permaculture for greater resilience
  • Strategies from backyards to balconies
  • How to fertilize with local plant materials
  • Composting in any space
  • How to create biodiversity hotspots
  • How to plant once and harvest for years

Book here:

Intro to Agroforestry Invitation to a talk about Volunteers on Farms

We will be hosting this event called 'Volunteers on Farms' on the 4th March from 7-8:30pm. In this talk we'll be exploring the dynamic between how we involve volunteers in creating a sustainable food system, and how we maintain an honest relationship with those who give their time for free while we strive to create a farming system which gives farmers and workers a paid livelihood.
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How to Grow the Veganic Farming Movement 

Calling farmers, activists, academics, consumers and everyone who wants to see a serious movement to transition to sustainable and humane farming systems. Join Seed the Commons on March 12th for a half-day of presentations and discussions on the state of the veganic movement in Europe and North America and ways to build the movement for a widespread transition to plant-based ecological farming.
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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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