Not just a book for vegans
Graham Burnett has just released a great book combining veganism and permaculture. This book is a really comprehensive introduction to both topics interspersed with a great range of vegan recipes. It’s almost three books in one, but in a good way. I am not a vegan and after a 30 second browse of the book I bought a copy because it covers such a great range of learning, tips and some great recipes all geared towards how to embed permaculture and a vegan diet into your life. The whole book is based around zones starting with Zone 00 which looks at Personal Health and Effectiveness through to Zone 5 Walking on the Wild Side. That covers a massive range of topics interspersed with over a hundred tasty vegan recipes.
Why permaculture and veganism
The introduction covers the basics of permaculture, its principles of people care, earth care and fair shares and the links to systems theories. Then Graham gives his views on how permaculture and veganism cross over, he sees them both as having similar principles and highlights the Vegan societies compassionate concern for ‘Animals, People and Environment’. Whether you are looking at it from a moral perspective or a practical sense it is clear that we would be unable to sustain the scale of meat consumption in the future, as in UK alone 2.8million cattle, 8.5 million pigs, 15 million sheep and lambs, 80 million fish and 950 million birds are slaughtered for human consumption. This is clearly not sustainable. Graham also argues that a diet based less on meat is better for your well being, particularly if you are avoiding eating factory farmed animals. He also states that a permaculture system without animals is not desirable, it is more about the way we treat our relationship to animals that is key.
Zone 00 Personal health and effectiveness
This looks at how to have a healthy mind and body, by focusing on how to keep yourself healthy. He focuses on the mind and body and highlights yoga, Joanna Macy’s ideas, Stellas Window Box a technique for looking at solutions and much more as ways you can improve your well being. He finishes the chapter by going through the essential nutrients you need and what food you can get them them from in order to maintain a healthy body combined with a call to eat more seasonal and raw food.
Zone 0 focuses on your home.
It points out how you can reduce your ecological footprint through changing the ways that you run your home. He shows you how you can turn your actual kitchen into a garden where you can sow herbs, beans and sprouts and much more, as well as giving an overview of fermentation and preserving techniques for storing your produce.
Zone 1 takes you outside the home to the garden.
This is a comprehensive overview by Graham of how to design your garden. Graham is a Permaculture teacher and you can see he know his stuff as he outlines the SADIM process of Surveying, Assessing, Designing, Implementing and Maintaining your garden. He shows you how to build a garden zone map and put it into practice as well as maintaining and managing that space. There are also top 10 perennial vegetables and a comprehensive list of edible flowers.
Zone 2 a vegan organic vegetable garden.
This is not just for vegans though as it covers the following basics of gardening:
An overview of soil and how to find out what soil you have
Should you dig the garden
How to add fertility to your soil
An overview of green manures
Comfrey and its wonderful properties
Crop rotation and polycultures
Companion planting guide
Mycorrhiza, natures internet, a focus on mushrooms and their interconnectedness
A focus on helpful and not so helpful bugs and insects
An overview of weeds
A primer in seed saving
Then he goes over the actual plants, fruit and herbs you can grow in your garden, which is really a starting point for you. This book is not primarily about how to grow vegetables it is about applying permaculture to your life and garden and how to plan things like forest gardens. This section I found really useful and will definitely be returning to this as a reference tool.
Zone 3 covers main crops and staples.
Discusses where our staples comes from, via a discussion on Supermarkets, regenerative agriculture, buying local, farmers markets, community supported agriculture, ethical shopping ending with a discussion on what currently makes a staple diet and what could be used in the future instead. This is the section that crosses over with Transition in terms of looking at food supplies and solutions to help support a localised food supply.
Zone 4 developing a tree based culture.
This was an interesting chapter, as it focuses on moving towards a culture sustained by Trees rather than one dependent on animal products and unsustainable annuals. Graham argues that not only could trees meet our needs they could also help reverse the damage caused by plough based agriculture and oil based production. Also leaf curd could provide a really high source of protein to feed people and how you can go about creating this. This is a really interesting chapter and I learnt a fair few bits about the mighty tree that I did not know. It also contains a brief guide to planning and developing your own forest garden.
Zone 5 walking on the wild side
This concerns mainly foraging, with a range of recipes that used foraged plants. This is a short chapter but has the essential do’s and don’ts of foraging and a great section called “Well you don’t know where they have been do you?” which highlights how people are really alienated from the food production, in their views of how food is produced.
Zone 6 looks at the power of community
This is the one that really chimes with Transition and Graham dedicates a section to the Transition Movement. It also looks at how you can build community in simple ways through eating together, cooking meals over a fire and supporting each other to remain healthy.
This rounds off what is a great introduction to Permaculture and covers a load of the basics, it contains some really nice illustrations and a great further reading section, for those wanting to learn more. Graham isn’t one to preach about the veganism and this book does not do this. It is much more about giving people the ideas and techniques to really embed permaculture into their lives. The book does contain over 100 vegan recipes and I would challenge the most carnivorous among you to not find a recipe you wouldn’t like to try in person. Personally I will be trying loads of them out, and while I am not vegan I am trying to integrate more vegan food into my diet. Agedashi Tofu with Black Kale anyone 🙂
Here is a talk by Graham about Veganism and Permaculture.
Check out the book at Grahams website spiralseed.