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Welcome to the Vegan Organic Network (VON) Newsletter!

Indigenous banana cultivation dates back over 2,000 years

Findings dispel the view that Australia’s first peoples were 'only hunter gatherers'
The evidence of cultivation and plant management dates back 2,145 years and was found at Wagadagam on the tiny island of Mabuyag in the western Torres Strait.
"Our research shows the ancestors of the Goegmulgal people of Mabuyag were engaged in complex and diverse cultivation and horticultural practices in the western Torres Strait at least 2,000 years ago.

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Apply to become an Oak Guardian

The trees will be given for free to community groups that want to plant them with an awareness of trees as sentient and with some form of acknowledgement of the dead. Be they humans who have died during Covid 19, or the 95 % of all native ash trees dying or killed by ash dieback, or the trees destroyed for HS2.

Learn more

To build a new world, we need less ‘machine mind’ and more ‘garden mind’

As gardeners we spend a lot of time observing the sun, the seasons, the soil and the cycles that life moves in. We attract wildlife to do the work of maintaining equilibrium. We encourage diversity. We begin by creating a rich soil. We work with the plants, finding them the conditions they need. Life wants to grow, and, through trial and error, it finds many different, quirky ways to do so in whatever conditions it finds.

This is also what it is like when humans get together to create something; a play, a piece of music, an experiment, a vaccine. We don’t start with a business plan and a structure chart. We start with a spark, a clue, and then mess around until something emerges.

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Jason with Michael Smith - Green waste to power and soil remediation

Growing in partial shade

If you want to grow fruit and veg in deep shade, you might be out of luck (or try mushrooms?) In partial shade – perhaps there’s a few hours of sunshine on the spot for most days in the Summer – your options are improving.

When you look in a gardening book for a particular plant, it often advises ‘choose an open spot with full sun’. That’s true if you want the best yield, but what we lowly readers want to know is, will the yield and flavour be acceptable when growing in more shady spots? Here are some tips, some of which we’ve tried in our garden in Southampton in the UK.

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British hedgehog now officially classified as vulnerable to extinction

The recognition of the vulnerable status of the hedgehog is, however, an opportunity. It will give impetus to those of us campaigning to protect the habitats that the hedgehog needs to thrive, and increase the awareness of the importance of connecting those habitats. 

This has been central to the campaign Hedgehog Street – which we run in partnership with  People’s Trust for Endangered Species. All over the country people are working in their gardens to help wildlife – and we are encouraging them to connect those gardens with small 13cm square holes. 

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The Herbal Path Course 2020

Announcing new dates for The 2020 Herbal Path Course:

Sat 26th Sept - Fri 2nd Oct 2020

with Guest Fernanda Botelho showing us local plants and making preparations (see link) and

Introduction to 7 main Plants and their Planetary Rulers over the 7 days of the course with Maureen Robertson (see link).

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Introducing our new Rewilding Network

Rewilding in Britain is gaining momentum - white storks have returned and are breeding in Sussex, pine martens are breeding in England and Wales, white tailed eagles have been reintroduced to Scotland and England and rewilding is being debated in parliament. These are all massive achievements. But our nature in the UK is still faring worse than in most other countries.

We must catalyse change and support rewilding and nature recovery across a much bigger scale. To do this, we need to develop a new central rewilding communitynetwork to bring together the hundreds of people who are rewilding their land, or considering a rewilding approach.

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The Amazon is a Man-Made Food Forest, Researchers Discover

Most of the edible plants in the rainforest were planted by humans over 4500 years ago, new study finds. Modern farmers should look to these ancient forest gardeners for the key to sustainable food production.
Ancient humans were practising a form of agriculture known as horticulture or permaculture in the Amazonian rainforest 4500 years ago, which researchers have concluded is responsible for the overwhelming abundance of edible plants we now find there.

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Support making ECOCIDE an international crime

Mass damage and destruction of ecosystems (ECOCIDE), committed over decades and permitted by law, has led to global climate and ecological crisis. Treaties, agreements and civil lawsuits have all failed to prevent this. It is time to change the rules.

Sign the Petition

 Veganic Gardening Tips for June

  • Water well in dry spells - especially beans, cucumbers, marrows, leeks and celery.
  • Watch out for potato and tomato blight, as well as mildew, in warm, damp weather. Find out how to prevent it here.
  • Hopefully you’re enjoying many harvests, read here on how to store produce to enjoy it for longer.
Veganic gardening books

‘Plan bee’ for cities: new report sows seeds for insect-friendly urban areas

Creating oases in our cities isn’t just beneficial for human health. New research published by the scientific journal PLOS One, suggests that urban gardens, parks and roadside verges play a vital role in boosting bee and other pollinator numbers thanks to their diversity of blooming plants and absence of pesticides.

The report – titled, A Plan Bee for Cities – identified urban community gardens as particularly beneficial to insects due to the diversity of seasonal flowers. Researchers found that pollinator numbers in the urban gardens they studied were comparable to rural sites they looked at – and significantly higher than other green spaces such as parks.

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Mexico Bans Monsanto’s Roundup Herbicide

Mexico announces a plan to be 100% glyphosate-free by 2024

Mexico is breaking free from Monsanto’s grip on its soil.

Glyphosate is the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, and one of the most controversial chemicals in the world.

It’s currently the subject of thousands of lawsuits claiming it causes non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

Farmers and landscapers who administer the weedkiller to their crops and lawns are the most exposed, but almost all of us consume trace amounts of glyphosate residue left on our grains, fruits and veggies and secondhand through meats and dairy, unless we eat all organic.

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Peat-free woodchip compost for growing media

Iain Tolhurst 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 medium based on woodchip compost, evaluating its performance in comparison to other growing materials. The trial involved comparing four different media 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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Online Vegan Permaculture Design Certificate Course, Autumn 2020

Do you seek to live compassionately without the unnecessary exploitation of people, animals and the environment? Are you concerned about climate change, peak oil and future generations? Are you interested in changing how we interact with other species, ecosystems and our human communities? Then this full online permaculture design course led by Graham Burnett, author of The Vegan Book of Permaculture is for you!

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Shumei Natural Agriculture Learning Course (Basic) with Vegan Lunch

By the end of this course you should be able to...

  • Describe the key concepts of Shumei Natural Agriculture
  • Understand the role of soil and composts/catch crops
  • Understand the importance of seed saving in Natural Agriculture
  • Understand the attitudes towards pests and weeds
  • Understand the concept of purification
  • Recognise how people’s thoughts would affect plants
Read More

VegfestUK Summerfest Online

VON has taken part in VEGFEST many times and it’s an incredible experience with talks and panels, #animalrights 🗽, #fitness#health zones, 🛍, #food#music and 🖼 #art all under one roof! This year because of covid it’ll be virtual so you can enjoy it from your armchairs! @vegfestuk Summerfest is FREE and great whether you’re a new vegan or just want to find out more about veganism. Details are below:

Registration for the FREE online event VegfestUK Summerfest Online 2020 (August 14th trade day; 15th & 16th open to the public).

You can register here:

Share with your friends and family using the Facebook event page:

An update on what you can expect at the event can be found here, with many more announcements to follow:

Hope to see you there! 😉

  • 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  
Join/Support Vegan Organic Network
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