VEGAN ORGANIC AGRICULTURE & HORTICULTURE

Veganism remembers man’s responsibilities to the earth and its resources and seeks to bring about a healthy soil and plant kingdom and a proper use of the materials of the earth. (The Vegan, Autumn 1962)

Vegan Organic (stockfree/animal-free) Agriculture & Horticulture is the organic cultivation and production of food crops and other crops without harming or exploiting any animal.

Animal-free agriculture does not use any animal products whatsoever such as blood meal, fish products, bone meal, animal manure, or any other animal-origin by-product matter, with an emphasis instead placed on the use of green manures.

Vegan organic also excludes artificial chemicals and genetically modified material.

Forest Gardening

Forest gardening is a low-maintenance sustainable plant-exclusive food production and agroforestry system based on woodland ecosystems.

It incorporates fruit and nut trees, shrubs, herbs, vines and perennial vegetables which have yields directly useful to humans.

Intermixing with companion planting, these can grow in a succession of layers, to build a woodland habitat.

Forest gardening is a prehistoric method of securing food in tropical areas.

In the 1980s, Robert Hart coined the term “forest gardening” after adapting the principles and applying them to temperate climates.

As a result, the use of diverse, perennial edible species, based upon the structure of native woodland from the tops of trees down to the ground, and to the roots under it, seven layers are generally identified

  • canopy trees – standard large trees
  • smaller shade tolerant trees, from dwarf stock, for fruit and nuts
  • shrubs and bushes such as currants and gooseberries
  • herbaceous  layer of perennial herbs and vegetables
  • groundcover plants
  • underground layer – root crops
  • vertical layer of climbers and vines, beans etc, trained to climb up the trees and bushes

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Urban Gardening

Urban Gardening (or urban agriculture, urban farming) refers to the cultivation, process, and distribution of food in or around a village, town, or city.

Urban agriculture can reflect varying levels of economic and social development.

In the global north, it often takes the form of a social movement for sustainable communities, where organic growers, ‘foodies,’ and ‘locavores‘ form social networks founded on a shared ethos of nature and community holism.

In receipt of formal institutional support these networks can evolve to become integrated into local town planning as a ‘transition town’ movement for sustainable urban development.

In the developing south, food security, nutrition, and income generation are key motivations for the practice.

In either case, more direct access to fresh vegetables and fruits, through urban agriculture can improve food security and food safety.

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Community Gardening

A community garden is a single piece of land gardened collectively by a group of people.

These gardens provide fresh products and plants.

They promote labour, develop neighbourhoods, foster a sense of commonality and a connection to the local habitat.

They have publicly ownership and access, and are managed as well as typically owned in trust by local governments or not-for-profits.

They can provide fresh fruit and vegetables, a place for wildlife, improved play areas, an outdoor classroom and safe, well-maintained public spaces.

Community gardens often bring different cultures and age groups together.

This improves individual and community confidence and bridges the divide between ethnic, political and socio-economic groups.

UK residents have relied on these gardens as an important source of food for hundreds of years.

The Second World War, saw the setting up of allotments on inner-city sites to provide affordable fresh fruit and vegetables to the local area.

They began in the late 1960s with a renewed interest in green spaces in cities.

When residents transformed vacant sites into green spaces they created gardens that included vegetable plots and flower gardens.

As these spaces evolved, they also addressed social and health problems.

While food production is central to many community and allotment gardens, not all have vegetables as a main focus.

Restoring natural areas and native plant gardens are also popular, as are “art” gardens.

Many gardens have several different planting elements, and combine plots with such projects as small orchards, herbs and butterfly gardens.

Open spaces, a place to grow vegan organic food, healing centres for people with mental and physical disabilities, as well as providing for recreation, exercise, therapy and education, community gardens are an immensely valuable resource to neighbourhoods.

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