Veganic Gardening & Farming
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A Visit to Tolhurst Organic Farm
In September of 2019 we had the good fortune to visit Tolhurst Organic Farm in England, about an hour and a half west of London. Our day started out with a nice visit with Tamara, Director of Business Development, and Iain (Tolly) Tolhurst. According to the Tolhurst Organic website, “Tolly is the owner and “main brain” at Tolhurst Organic. He designs all cropping plans, gets the seeds, breaks than mends the machinery, and fights with the weather.” We then spent about three hours with Tolly and learned a great deal about veganic, or stock-free agriculture. We were so impressed by the size of the operation, and so interested to learn all that we could.
The farm has three main sections: a walled garden (the wall is hundreds of years old), and then two big open fields. At the edge of one of the open fields stands Lin’s VegShed, a self-service shop, open 24 hours a day, with an “honesty-box” payment system. Lin Tolhurst was one of the co-founders of the farm, and it was her dream to have an on-farm shop. Very sadly, she died suddenly before the shop was built. While visiting England, we found that the grocery stores may have had two or three items available that were organic, like apples, oranges, and grapes. So we were thrilled to be able to buy organic vegetables from Lin’s VegShed.
Interested in learning more about veganic agriculture and eco-efficient farming? Sit down for this almost three hour presentation with Veganic Farmer Will Bonsall, and enjoy!
With gratitude to, and in memory of George Eisman, who helped to plan this event at the very end of his life, a life of great purpose. It was one of his greatest desires for veganic agriculture to take off and for vegans to understand this missing link in the vegan movement. I am also grateful to Claire Holzner, George’s partner, for her loving involvement in this effort at a time of deep personal sorrow.
We also want to recognize the efforts of our video producer, director, and editor, Wilton Vought, of BhaktiGarden. Wilton donated his time so that others may learn and is a pleasure to work with. You can support his efforts to videotape this and other social justice movements here.
How can we eat and farm better, using natural ecosystems as our model? Join veganic farmer Will Bonsall, author of Will Bonsall’s Essential Guide to Radical, Self-Reliant Gardening to learn about innovative techniques for growing vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds with minimal fossil fuel and animal inputs (just click on the video above). Realizing that livestock are not a NET producer of fertility, Bonsall turns directly to the pasture and even more to the forest to provide the materials to build, not merely maintain, his soil’s tilth. By focusing on high levels of long-lasting humus, he avoids the need for imported materials to feed the soil and adjust the pH. Learn how to become eco-efficient by eliminating off-farm inputs like fertilizers, minerals, and animal manures by practicing plant-based agriculture. Topics include compost making and using green manures plus several other ways to build soil fertility, intensive planting, improving soil drainage, avoiding pests and disease problems, and more.
Whether you’re looking to minimize outside inputs, become as eco-efficient as possible, or gain a new market of vegans, veganic permaculture can save on expenses and result in new income streams. The underlying principles and practice of Bonsall’s system are highly applicable, and, the market for veganic products is wide open in this area. There is a company in Canada selling cereals, breads, and grains grown veganically, and this is a significant part of their marketing.