Other Vegan Views articles
Grassroots News Vegan Views 98 (Autumn 2003)

Vegan Organic Network/Trust (VON/VOT)

Peter White of VON/VOT was approached by the editor of the Vegetarian Society's Vegetarian magazine for information for a grow-your-own article. Various Vonnies put this together and the result was an excellent article on vegan organics in the Autumn 2003 edition, complete with photographs.

The Vegan society approached VOT to update the Vegan Society information sheet on Growing Vegan Organically, and this has now been done.. They have also persuaded VOT to write the Grow Vegan column in the Vegan magazine from now on.

Things are still progressing with getting a stockfree organic agriculture, education, research and development centre. They are still appealing for donations, so please send what you can to them - see www.veganorganic.net. Since VOT is a charity, they can claim back basic-rate income tax if you pay this and are a UK citizen, using the UK government's Gift Aid scheme.

As reported in VV97, VOT were awarded £3,600 by the Cyril Corden Trust to buy equipment to produce a stockfree organic farming video. The equipment has been purchased, including a digital camcorder, a tripod and two radio microphones. Filming started in September.

Now in it's 4th year, the annual vegan-organic farm visit at Tolhurst Organics (advertised in VV97) took place in September. It was organised by Graham Cole who writes the VV Vegan Organic Growing column. There was record attendance; 24 people turned up this year for a very educational talk.

Plants for a Future

Their Cornish site, the Field, has been going from strength to strength lately. A legacy injected great energy into the site which is still being built on today. Two new volunteers, Simon and Jane, are now regular volunteers and there has been a string of volunteers coming for a week or so.

They have been talking with the Workers Educational Association, Bodmin and St Austell College to organise a number of courses which start in 2004 (see future VV magazine events page for details).

This winter they will regenerate their 4-acre coppice woodland at their Blagdon site which has not been managed for 30 years. They intend to cut it right back so that in ten years time they will have a productive hazel coppice. The new planting of 20,000 trees will be cleared of undergrowth, trees will be maintained, and fences will be fixed to give the trees a helping hand. They will also need to do some re-stocking to replace losses and fill out some of the spaces. These trees were planted five years ago and there have been very few losses; the alders have done very well but deer have been munching many of the other trees. They are getting some professional foresters in to do the work in December and January; volunteers are also needed for this. Also at Blagdon they plan to recreate the native hedge, landscape the new car park area, and create a new visitors' centre garden in the spring.

PFAF are considering the future direction of the charity and the Blagdon site. The past five years at Blagdon have been very mixed, with a string of successful events but many problems, so the site cannot continue in its current state. Web: www.pfaf.org.

Ancient Woodlands Project, Yorkshire

Louisa, who runs the project, had a volunteer week in early September offering free camping on the site, which went well. She tells us that she hopes to have other volunteer events, although maybe weekend rather than week-long ones in the future. Web: www.woodlandproject.org.uk.

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Cross-reference: Growing Fruit & Veg