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Vegan organic (or veganic) agriculture is the organic production of food and other crops with minimal animal inputs. Vegan organic agriculture is the organic form of animal-free agriculture.
Animal-free farming methods use no animal products or by-products, such as bloodmeal, fish products, bone meal, feces, or other animal-origin matter because the production of these materials is viewed as either harming animals directly, or as associated with the exploitation and consequent suffering of animals. Some of these materials are by-products of animal husbandry, created during the process of cultivating animals for the production of meat, milk, skins, furs, entertainment, labor, or companionship. The sale of such by-products decreases expenses and increases profit for those engaged in animal husbandry and therefore helps support the animal husbandry industry, an outcome most vegans find unacceptable.
Vegan organic farming is much less common than organic farming. In 2019, there were 63 self-declared vegan organic farms in the United States, and 16,585 certified organic farms.
The veganic gardening method is a distinct system developed by Rosa Dalziel O'Brien, Kenneth Dalziel O'Brien and May E. Bruce, although the term was originally coined by Geoffrey Rudd as a contraction of vegetable organic in order to "denote a clear distinction between conventional chemical-based systems and organic ones based on animal manures". The O'Brien system's principal argument is that animal manures are harmful to soil health rather than that their use involves exploitation of and cruelty to animals.
The system employs very specific techniques including the addition of straw and other vegetable wastes to the soil in order to maintain soil fertility. Gardeners following the system use soil-covering mulches, and employ non-compacting surface cultivation techniques using any short-handled, wide-bladed, hand hoe. They kneel when surface cultivating, placing a board under their knees to spread out the pressure, and prevent soil compaction. Kenneth Dalziel O'Brien published a description of his system in Veganic Gardening, the Alternative System for Healthier Crops:
The veganic method of clearing heavily infested land is to take advantage of a plant's tendencies to move its roots nearer to the soil's surface when it is deprived of light. To make use of this principle, aided by a decaying process of the top growth of weeds, etc., it is necessary to subject such growth to heat and moisture in order to speed up the decay, and this is done by applying lime, then a heavy straw cover, and then the herbal compost activator…The following are required: Sufficient new straw to cover an area to be cleared to a depth of 3 to 4 inches.
Before the term veganic was created, economist and simple living advocate Scott Nearing gave a speech at the 1953 World Vegetarian Congress in Sigtuna, Sweden, with a title of "Food without Animal Residues".
Vegan organic growers maintain soil fertility using green manures, cover crops, green wastes, composted vegetable matter, and minerals. Some vegan gardeners may supplement this with human urine from vegans (which provides nitrogen) and 'humanure' from vegans, produced from compost toilets.
Farms certified as biocyclic vegan use preventative methods to manage insects. If these fail, however, the label allows them to use insecticides such as Bacillus thuringiensis, which starves larvae to death.
The Biocyclic Vegan Standard is an IFOAM-accredited organic standard for vegan organic farms. It is awarded by BNS Biocyclic Network Services Ltd (a Cypriot company), and has accredited 21 farms in Europe as of February 2022[update]. The German Environment Agency awarded the German biocyclic vegan association some 60,000 euros for the promotion of the biocyclic vegan standard from 2021 to 2022.
As of February 2022[update], 19 farms in the United Kingdom and Ireland are certified vegan organic by the Stockfree Organic label. Farms wanting to obtain the label are certified by the Soil Association, and the label's requirements are determined by the Vegan Organic Network.
Only in case that the prophylactic and holistic measures taken have not been able to prevent the development of a situation critical to the crop (disease) and self-produced preparations are either not available or did not achieve a satisfactory result, the use of certain crop-treatment products as they are mentioned in the Green List can be permitted.