Acclaimed garden designer Cleve West’s The Garden of Vegan is a heartfelt, knowledgeable discourse on diet, gardening, farming, ethics, environmental issues, and animal welfare. It is a persuasive call for adopting more compassionate and environmentally friendly vegan practices.
West, who went from a carnivore to a vegetarian to a vegan, faces personal challenges in a world that exploits nature and normalizes animal violence. A self-avowed nonconfrontational person, he’s an advocate for change who notes that, while changing his diet was easy and enjoyable, it is very hard to daily witness careless consumerism in the face of accelerating environmental destruction.
West is more enthusiastic than strident in his messages, but this is still a provocative book that challenges traditional dietary and consumer habits. It includes many ideas for incorporating vegan principles into daily life and expounds on the benefits of vegan gardening methods, which avoid animal and chemical fertilizers. These alternatives range from heavy use of compost, mulch, and green manures to planting beetle belts between crops. West argues that home and market gardeners can increase profit margins, reduce carbon footprints, increase crucial insect and invertebrate populations, and eliminate toxins and pathogens from food and water supplies.
West’s vision for new ways of farming and utilizing land includes reforesting and rewilding grazing lands to decrease soil erosion and soak up greenhouse gases. His detailed visions for more localized and self-sufficient farms, bio-energy producers, and environmentally conscious communities are thought provoking and inviting. Gorgeous color photographs of West’s garden designs attest to the success of his vegan garden principles, while tender livestock portraits from West’s wife, Christine, are meaningful illustrations.
The Garden of Vegan is reflective and inspiring in its examination of vegan garden principles and of vegan living as an important catalyst for change.
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