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Animal-free Farming | Living With The Land | Part 6

what we eat is a fundamental part of who we are from farm to fork the decisions we make affect the world around us just consider 95% of our food comes from the soil so keeping it healthy is vital stock tree farming is about eating well without causing damage to the planet or its inhabitants such an approach is one way of thinking in a constellation of ideas for living with the land there’s several ethics behind what we do and it’s based really around sustainability which is it difficult was defined because the word is so overused these days but sustainability smart point of view really means that we can continue growing food here on this site forever conventional agriculture will tend to be bringing most fertility in through chemical fertilizers some of the large organic farms even some of the smaller organic farms will also be bringing fertility from outside the farm and that will often be in the form of manures – what we’re doing is we’re using the fertility from within our land and using it to its optimum value rather than importing somebody else’s land and that leads to a product which is animal free so stop free and certainly simple for vegans but simple for anybody who wants to eat food which is of a more sustainable type it’s important for us that animals light exploited in the name of food production this is a vital part of what we do but it is really about using land as a far better and more optimal way yeah in order to be stopped free we have to make sure that we can maintain fortuity in the long term this is very important those have to maintain your get matter to soil this is really important because fatuity long term it’s dependent on organic matter so we’re we’re growing specific crops which are feeding the ground some of them fix lighting from you from the air back in the soil lead following crops some take phosphate and potash and deeper down and recycle it so we’re using plants as a way of feeding the soil and this is within a rotation we have green manures are in a rotation we have very long rotations of up to nine years and there’s a sequence of different crops there they’re in a specific sequence in terms of avoiding pests and diseases and also be able to use the soil in the best possible way by diversity to us is really important because we rely on it primarily for pest control the greater number of insects you have on any one site unless any one particular insect will become problem so we’ve excluded all animal inputs completely from the farm we don’t have any animal inputs at all we have livestock in the soil we have worms and various sort bacteria and fauna and flora we use that to our advantage but we don’t use any products from livestock at all so we are allowed within all that stands to use manure from any source providing it’s reasonably ethical in the sense of the way animals are kept however we weren’t really comfortable with that concept of using manure from another holding to support our fertility so we developed a stock for your gate system which means that we can divert fertility from within our own farm without resorting to bringing in manure or fertility from a neighboring farm and if we’re bringing land from somewhere else which is effectively what you do if you bring manure for another fund you’re taking somebody else’s land to support your vegetable grain and we felt that was in the long term unsustainable and also unethical in the sense of the exploitation of livestock on those particular farm and we can continue to feed a lot of people by doing it this way and that’s the important factor is how many people we feed per hectare really rather than how much we produce at the end of day I’m concerned about the health and plan and I wanted to continue some beautiful world which is fantastic place I want to continue in this way and to improve and I think people have become more aware of these issues and people do want to do something about the future more


  1. Richard Hasting Author

    I like what you are doing, but I think that placing animals into the growing system is more sustainable than not. The animals can harvest solar energy, and recycle the carbon and nutrients better than we can. You are using a lawn mower to cut the grass. A sheep can do this without the petrol. Sepp Holtzer was once asked how to control blackberries. His response was classic. "Run a string of electric fence and place pigs into the area. In short time, they will eat all the blackberry crowns and solve the problem." A guy in the back of the room raised his hand. "But I am a Vegan, and I won't use any animals in my system. What do I do?" Sepp huffs a little bit. "Well then, you must do the pigs work. Next question?"
    Another fun story is  Bill Mollison was asked how to control a slug problem. "You don't have a slug problem!" He said. "You have a duck deficiency." 
    These are two giants in the Permaculture world, and they think that animals must be part of the system, or you are having to perform their functions for them. If you are against using animals in your systems because you think it is unethical to include them in your systems, then you will have to do the things that they are most suited at. I cannot eat grass and brush. A goat can. and a Goat can create fertility, land clearing, milk, baby goats, amusement, and cabrito. I'd like to see a human do all that for no pay..

  2. Jefferdaughter Author

    In nature, there are no ecosystems without animals. Beyond the sustainable production of food, fiber, and fuels, regenerative agriculture must mimic nature to be the most effective. That means restoring the natural relationships between animals, plants, and the soil food web. This means that we must reoccupy our ecological niche(s) in the ecosystem as well. Managing the land and animals is one way to accomplish this.
    Slightly off topic, few realize how key grazng and browsing herbivores are to the health of grasslands, savannas, and forests. Along with many other causes (acid rain, human-caused radiation, other pollutants of air, water, and soil, thoughtless exploitation of natural resources, etc) one factor causing the degredation of essentially all ecosystems around the planet is that the animals are mosty missing. The numbers of cattle, sheep and otehr livestock do not replace the vast herds numbering in the many millions, of large herbivores that co-evolved with the various ecosystems around the planet- the majority with the same basic digestive systems as cattle.
    I'll add vast flocks of birds, too. Geese, ducks, passenger pigeons… Sigh.

  3. Christine Beauchamp Author

    I applaud what you are doing!!!  These are beautiful sequences.  I also do 100 % veganic gardening, no animal manures.  My garden thrives. . and I only work it on weekends as I have a full time job currently.  When I retire, gardening will be my full time devotion.    Thank you for sharing your insights. .

  4. Daniel Ananda Alexander Author

    Although many vegans will agree that hosting companion animals (sheep, cows, etc.) on their land is not categorically unethical and their cohabitation even affords much pleasure (similarly to our communion with dogs), systemized animal participation is, however, far from indispensable – the work done by people such as Martin Crawford (world leading specialist) and Robert Hart (Vegan, forest garden pioneer) prove that you can produce tremendous amounts of food without animal input. – This is a fact. Nothing is as sustainable, worldwide, as primarily veganic, forest horticulture.
    It is only the vegans among us, overcome by our horrific treatment of animals, who seek to completely abolish all agricultural partnerships with animals. And understandably so; when you objectively examine our malicious history of egregious animal abuse. But many among us, perhaps more centered in the infinite, oneness of all (Seeing beyond the intrinsic crimes in human history); know Mother Nature is abundance; and it is how we interact and on what values our relationship with animals are based, which determines the righteousness of any endeavor. Do we possess animals to exploit and kill, (take), or, do we host animals in our forest gardens and agroforestry systems to dwell with us in harmony and communion, (share)? As seen in the ancient Jain tradition; it is being gentle and compassionate which is at the heart of the veganic ethos.

  5. Mrs. Garcia Author

    So instead of my animals eating my grass then providing products he uses fossil fuels to cut his? Plant earth naturally uses animals to disturb/till and fertilize, I'm baffled why suddenly it's "less sustainable".

  6. Carmen Schwering Author

    I'd like to point out that this type of farming does not exclude all animals, as some people in this comment section think. The farmer talks about biodiversity and how the insect population is balanced, and if he wanted to introduce some ducks to maintain the slug population it would still be a vegan farm. Every ecosystem has animals, the difference is that on a vegan farm the farmer lives in harmony with them instead of breeding as many animals as possible, feeding them crops he now has to grow too, taking their milk in a sort of factory and killing them prematurely for food. Instead on a vegan farm all the healthy crops are for human consumption which is super efficient, and the system is in harmony with nature and fully sustainable. 🙂

  7. chrnb Author

    If the horse manure is available anyway (free or almost free I guess) why not just take it?
    Alternatively, You could also just go to the Forest/seaside and basically just "harvest" organic matter, shits not that hard.

  8. Gina Bean Author

    It's farming. It's for human benefit. It's agreed that it uses soil livestock to achieve this benefit. How is it not animal exploitation? How using worm poops to fertilize human-grown vegetables exported for human consumption is ethically different from using cow manure?


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