What is veganic farming and why is it so important in saving the planet? Before I get into the nitty gritty of it all, let me tell you a little bit about myself. I started out as an ordinary person for much of my life. Growing up on animal foods for the first 26 years, one day I had an awakening. Something inside me no longer wanted to be a part of the animal holocaust. I professed to love animals, but I knew what I was doing was contrary to my true beliefs. Not only do animal products—especially animal foods like the meat, dairy, eggs and honey—cause unrelentless suffering and death of billions of animals, they are also destroying the environment and our health. As a vegan since 2009 I knew there must be another way to be in the world. As Mahatma Ghandi once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” And that’s what I wanted to do.
From that point on, being vegan was the best thing that has ever happened to me. It not only improved my own health, it also made me a more compassionate and kinder person to the animals and the Earth. It is unfortunate though, that we all grow up programmed by our culture. Eating animal foods is nothing we’ve ever undertaken ourselves, it’s not our own free choice. We’ve simply been forced into it by our culture. Like little robots we soak up everything our culture teaches us. We don’t question eating animal foods or anything else for that matter. In fact we praise ourselves as if eating these foods doesn’t cause any harm. If anyone questions our eating habits, we are naturally offended and lash out or justify our practices. This leads into veganic farming…
Veganic takes organic farming one step further. It implements organic standards, using little to no pesticides, without the inputs of animal products like manure, bloodmeal, bonemeal or fishmeal products. You may be asking yourself right now, “Why not use animal manure to fertilize crops? In nature the trees, bushes, shrubs and soil mutually benefit from the excrements of animals. And it is healthy to be eating directly from nature.” When I think about it, I agree. There is nothing wrong with eating directly from nature. We’ve been eating this way for millions of years. I would love to be living from the Earth, rather than buying from supermarkets. Unfortunately, we don’t live in nature. We have homes and stores and live in cities.
In today’s society something is very perverse about organic standards. Organic certification allows the use of fertilizers like manure, bone meal, bloodmeal and fishmeal to be irrigated on crops. Most of the waste products come from animals that were raised on industrial systems known as factory farms. These are giant football sized sheds housing tens or even hundreds of thousands of animals in overcrowded, extremely filthy conditions, with a high occurrence of diseases, bacteria and pathogens such as E. coli and salmonella. Animals are administered growth hormones and antibiotics living in their own feces and urine and breathing all the ammonia. Ever hear of E-coli outbreaks in organic spinach? It is so because the waste products from these animals are allowed to be sprayed on organic crops.
“E. coli is an intestinal pathogen. It only gets in the food if fecal matter gets in the food. Since plants don’t have intestines, all E. coli infections–in fact all food poisoning–comes from animals.” ‒ Dr. Michael Greger, MD
I’ve heard of a fruitarian couple fertilizing their fruit trees with their own excrement. And I am still wondering if this is ethical or not, but it does get one thinking.
Green manure through plant matter is possible, as seen in the documentary film Making the Connection by Environment Films and The Vegan Society. I highly recommend watching that film. There are also countless books and resources on the Internet to learn more about veganic farming. In England and parts of the United States, veganic agriculture is starting to take off.
Not only is green manure used to maintain soil fertility, vegetable compost, crop rotation and mulching are also used. Other methods to maintain the soil in veganic farming includes hay mulch, wood ash or composted organic matter, including grass clippings or comfrey liquid, nettles and seaweed. There is however no one way to do veganic farming. There are many techniques and methods used, but it is rather the idea of working with nature that is the key. One thing to remember with veganic farming as is with the vegan philosophy; is to respect and care for all creatures while maintaining natural biodiversity and ecological sustainability. This is why it is essential to farm in this manner. This is so because it minimizes the impact on wildlife, both to smaller animals, insects and warms, while minimally working with the soil.
Instead of implementing monocultures, veganic farming uses polyculture techniques using a variety of plants in the same area to coexist and work with one another. Working in this way ensures that minimal to no chemicals are used.
I believe veganic gardens to be the future just like veganism is the future. As more of us switch our values to that of compassion and love, we will see more of us planting vegan organic gardens. One house in Los Angeles for example, is growing enough food to feed 20 or 30 people. Animal farming on the other hand is very resource intense and inefficient. For every pound of beef produced, 10 to 16 pounds of grains are wasted. This grain goes directly to feeding the animals, rather than starving people. This is why we have world hunger where according to the World Health Organization some 3.7 billion people are malnourished. We can contribute to the healing of our planet not only by veganic farming, but also by respecting and caring for all life—by being vegan. It is possible to create a world of peace and love. Veganic is the new Permaculture. Yes we can work to preserve our soils and forests and the environment. Isn’t it about time we start considering the impact of our food choices, and the effect it has on the planet and the animals?
Michael Lanfield is an animal rights activist, author, speaker and filmmaker from Toronto, Canada. He is the writer, producer and director of the documentary The Interconnectedness of Life as well as the book under the same name. His vegan message has spread to millions of people. He founded We are Interconnected Films in May 2013 to produce educational and enlightening books, films and other media. Michael is currently enrolled in The World Peace Diet Facilitator Training Program offered by the Author of The World Peace Diet, Dr. Will Tuttle. He maintains his websites www.michaellanfield.com, www.weareinterconnected.com and his YouTube channel www.youtube.com/user/tarve2010