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Lorenzo Costa
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Location: Italy, Siena, Gaiole in Chianti zone 9
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Hi Graham and all, I'm not a vegan, and have had issues with vegans in the past. Friends mostly that have this dogmatic view and aggressivness on asserting their ideas like if all the other meat eating humans were idiots. The thing I've understood in these years is there is many vegans that are shelf supermarket vegans and when you make them notice that they just pick from the shelf some packet that has a label on without knowing anything of the producers, they answer not everyone has acces to land and can produce his food directly. Ok it's true, maybe, because we can all do something to shift to a more sustainable way of living this planet, and start from producing even small quantities of food on a balcony.
In my view it could be a good compromise to have on my land, I have the fortune to live outside of a small city in Italy, some animals that could get me put of the market of industrialised meat or dairy production. I'm curious about veganism in a non dogmatic way, I think integrating our diets with very different food is the basis for a more healthy life and sustainable living.
The discussion of this week on your book has set me thinking of how much I can learn from every different view of our permanence on this planet. I think I'll go for reading the first chapter that is free for download on the editors site.
I very much like the fact your way of speaking about your ideas is not aggressive and you passionately bring the reader, or viewer of your videos, to curiosity. I had the first encounter with vegan permaculture doing the summary for the podcast with Helen Atthowe and was very interested in it.
I've started speaking with some friends, other vegan friends not the dogmatic ones of the first lines, on the fact of setting up a vegan garden on my farm. the idea, that started as a joke speaking around the dinner table, is to have a garden where I'll not use any animal produced compost or have any intentional input of animal products in the soil. I like the idea even just to see the difference in production, and my firends like the diea of having truely organic veganic food. What is so difficult even in their view is to find some vegetables that are prdouced in a veganic way. Yes today we can find packed processed food on supermarket shelves, but theres no use in that if we support highly industrialised food companies that have started to see veganism as a niche market that is growing. We have the fortune to be close to the countryside and the idea was to try and create a local based production of fresh vegetables.
I'm very interested in fact in the actual practical gardening side of the subject more than the diet point. I'll get there for sure, and I'm happy in the book you have shared even some recipes. I have this way of being in learning that always takes me to start from the beginning, so thats why I'm interested to start from the gardening and move on.
I guess I'll put the book on my wish list thats always more growing thanks to the permies community
 
Graham Burnett
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Location: Essex, UK - Zone 8
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Hi there Lorenzo - some very valid points raised in your post. To me the essence of permaculture is its attention to energy flows and cycles as well as personal accountability - it's as easy to lead an unsustainable, unaccountable vegan lifestyle based on imported, fossil fuel hungry, monoculturally grown, over packaged and over processed soya convenience foods, as it is to live as an unsustainable and unaccountable omnivore supported by the intensive factory pharm and the supermarket freezer counter. What's important is that we all develop an awareness of our own 'energy budgets' or the 'ecological footprints' of how we are living, and begin to work in our own ways to steadily reduce these.

Whatever we might think about veganism, I would suggest that if we are to create a sustainable future, we will all need to at least lessen our dependence on both animal products and the inputs they entail (at present some 85% of agricultural land use) and intensive monocultural farming in general, and start thinking about major re-afforestation programs and a movement towards a far greater percentage of our needs being met from home, market and forest gardens as well as the edible high protein and carbohydrate and other useful yields of trees.

Thanks for all your supportive words, Graham

 
Lorenzo Costa
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Location: Italy, Siena, Gaiole in Chianti zone 9
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Thank you Graham your words are as I said passionate and strong and inspirational. I've read your answers to the other threads this week and you have always been this way.
But lets get back to work
Of course we have to think about reforestation, and I find very interesting the review you wrote on Restoration agriculture by Mark Shepard, because thats one of the starting points. theres a lo of woodland on my land and I started thinking about it's potential starting from a problem. My partner is intolerant to gluten, and so for every recipe we had to search for the right ingredients, or swich to a different diet with less grain based food. By the way thats quite nice because you get to know other ingredients that you ingonred. Anyway in the woodland oaks are the majority so I started thinking about acorns, and there was a solution in front of me. Acorns are edible and gluten free!
it's just a matter of thinking it right. You have done more in a few days in intirguing me with veganism than any other person in years. It's true it all passes through the goal one has: share or impose an idea.
 
Scott Strough
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Location: Oklahoma
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Graham Burnett wrote:Hi there Lorenzo - some very valid points raised in your post. To me the essence of permaculture is its attention to energy flows and cycles as well as personal accountability - it's as easy to lead an unsustainable, unaccountable vegan lifestyle based on imported, fossil fuel hungry, monoculturally grown, over packaged and over processed soya convenience foods, as it is to live as an unsustainable and unaccountable omnivore supported by the intensive factory pharm and the supermarket freezer counter. What's important is that we all develop an awareness of our own 'energy budgets' or the 'ecological footprints' of how we are living, and begin to work in our own ways to steadily reduce these.

Whatever we might think about veganism, I would suggest that if we are to create a sustainable future, we will all need to at least lessen our dependence on both animal products and the inputs they entail (at present some 85% of agricultural land use) and intensive monocultural farming in general, and start thinking about major re-afforestation programs and a movement towards a far greater percentage of our needs being met from home, market and forest gardens as well as the edible high protein and carbohydrate and other useful yields of trees.

Thanks for all your supportive words, Graham

I find the biggest issue with animal husbandry is in management. I would not like to lose a very important tool in the nutrient cycle. Ironically, I am a de facto vegan permaculturalist right now. (although I am not a vegan, my farm doesn't use domestic animals at this time) I use a mower to simulate grazing and a compost pile to simulate a herbivore's rumen. As good and beneficial as they are, mowers require gas and thus taken in the long view are not sustainable, and a compost pile is not as efficient at recycling nutrients as a herbivore's rumen. Also I use natural pest control, but I know a properly managed chicken can do the job more efficiently.

Because of this, not only am I producing less food per acre than I could potentially, I also am regenerating soil health at a slower rate, and making less profit as a farmer. I can confirm that vegan permaculture is both possible and a vast improvement over conventional agriculture, but I don't think it is an improvement over standard permaculture principles. It absolutely isn't as sustainable nor as productive as when careful animal husbandry is included. I actually am looking forward to the day I can reintroduce animal husbandry in a carefully managed way.

Please remember the majority of prime agricultural land of the world, and all the deep fertile mollic soils associated, did not form in forest ecosystems. Rather they formed in the great fertile plains and savannas of the world. This is a direct result of the grassland/grazer symbiosis. It would be a major mistake to ignore this most important relationship.

I'll leave you with a few quotes that address this issue quite well:

“As the small trickle of results grows into an avalanche — as is now happening overseas — it will soon be realized that the animal is our farming partner and no practice and no knowledge which ignores this fact will contribute anything to human welfare or indeed will have any chance either of usefulness or of survival.” Sir Albert Howard


“The number one public enemy is the cow. But the number one tool that can save mankind is the cow. We need every cow we can get back out on the range. It is almost criminal to have them in feedlots which are inhumane, antisocial, and environmentally and economically unsound.” Allan Savory


"Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted & thoughtful observation rather than protracted & thoughtless labor; & of looking at plants & animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single-product system." Bill Mollison
 
Sheldon Nicholson
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Location: Canada
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Scott Strough your reply was of the highest quality. Thank you so much. Can I use what you wrote in the eBook I am writing? (with attribution of course)

Anyways. I have just released a section of that eBook as a blog post... its a section about "vegan gardening" on a large scale, and some of the problems associated with that. You can read the full post here:

http://sheldonfrith.com/2015/12/26/some-problems-with-veganic-farming-a-teaser-from-my-upcoming-book/

It is a very well referenced article, here are some quotes:

"veganic systems do not sequester as much carbon as systems with properly managed livestock.(5) If you are worried about Global Warming this is a big issue."

"Veganic farming is completely impossible without, at the very least, lots of harvesting machinery. Harvesting machinery kills animals. (6) Therefore farming on a large scale is not possible without killing some animals."

"Veganic farming might be a viable option for sustainable food production on small scale farms, with plenty of labour available, in the right climate, if all of the best techinques are used (permaculture design, thermal compost, no-till, etc). (2) "

"Most veganic farmers who are actually selling their food for money seem to be using tillage.(7) Tillage is the most environmentally destructive activity ever undertaken by humans. It releases carbon into the atmopshere. ( It destroys soil life. (9) It exacerbates soil erosion. (10) It reduces wildlife habitat. (11) It increases flooding and drought stress. (12) It creates compacted, anaerobic soils. (13) Not to mention that it kills animals. (14)"

"Veganic philosophy flies in the face of history, ecology and evolution. Animals, large animals, have been essential parts of every ecosystem on earth for hundreds of millions of years. (4) (15)"

Let me know what you think!

Thanks again Scott for that excellent comment....

 
Andrew Brock
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I eat a vegan diet and I agree with everything above. I believe it is short sighted and detimental not to utilize animals in farming. Many vegans hold on to the impractical belief that the world will one day be 100% animal product free, mainly from ignorance of permaculture. Nothing is ever 100%, and there will always be exploitation of some kind in the world as long as humans exist. The goal of veganism is to do "less harm" by not exploiting animals. If animals were used in agriculture in a "animal sanctuary" model then I believe this would be considered veganic. This is my plan. There really aren't vegan police, so if whatever you are doing isn't commototizing or exploiting animals, then that is veganic
 
luciano martin
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Andrew Brock I am also quite optimistic about this "animal sanctuary model", do you know if there is anybody actually doing something like that?
 
I child proofed my house but they still get in. Distract them with this tiny ad:
Composting Chickens Comic (e)Book - The Ulitmate Guide to Compsting with Chickens - Digital Download
https://permies.com/t/66064/digital-market/digital-market/Composting-Chickens-Comic-Book-Ulitmate
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