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Veganic farming (also known as stock-free farming) is an alternative method of farming that began in the mid 2000s, when crop contamination concerns became more prevalent in traditional farming. While organic farming removes the dangers of most contamination issues, veganic farming eliminates the crop’s exposure to animal fertilizers as well.
Veganic farming is more common in England and Europe than in the United States (US), mainly because of land availability. In the US, more livestock farming is possible and therefore more animal fertilizer is available. In Europe, where the majority of their meat is imported, “green fertilizer” is used as an alternative for their crops.
In the United States in particular, the traditional, mainstream farming techniques use animal fertilizers from factory confinement farms as well as slaughterhouse byproducts, such as bone meal and blood meal. In addition, using fertilizers from livestock that have consumed non-organic food laced with hormones and antibiotics, these additives bio-accumulate in the animal and are present in their manure.
Farmers are taking into serious consideration the salmonella and e-coli outbreaks that have contaminated crops in many parts of the world. Motivated by the need to protect their crops and environment, organic farmers have taken further steps to protect their produce and support their vigilant consumers. Organic farming restricts pesticides, herbicides, genetically modified ingredients, chemicals and synthetics.
In addition to the organic farm contributions, veganic farming eliminates animal fertilizers from their crops in a belief that they will remove any disease causing bacterial threats. They take it a step further and do not even use organically approved pesticides. Veganic farming uses crop rotation techniques and organic composted plant matter or “green manure” to support the healthy growth of their crops.
Animal manure has been used successfully in farming for centuries. The organic farmer’s argument for using animal fertilizer maintains that the animals should consume only an organic diet and chemical additives should not be permitted. They believe that problems arise when composting is processed improperly and raw manure is exposed to crops. They also express that produce can be contaminated anywhere from the field to transportation to packaging. Animal compost lasts longer in the soil and releases less carbon back into the air than green manure.
Meeting the standards set by the Soil Association Certification Ltd. in England is the appropriate means to certify farmers for veganic farming. In addition, Certified Naturally Grown, based in Stone Ridge, New York, USA has established guidelines for using veganic farming methods and conversion from organic to veganic farming. The communication paths for veganic farming continue to be established so farmers and consumers can exchange knowledge, provide information and preferences. The desire for healthier living is enabling the success of this and many new avenues of healthy and conscious farming of our food.
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