This week, vegan farmer Joost van Strien will complete the very first certified vegan onion harvest at his arable farm in the Netherlands. The harvest marks the start of No Shit Food, a new sustainable standard that works exclusively with vegetable fertilizers.
At his arable farm Zonnegoed in Ens, the Flevopolder region, Joost is among the first few farmers whose work is both organic and entirely plant-based. His No Shit Food Movement was launched this Monday, 2nd of August, with the goal of making vegan veg a new standard in sustainable food.
The new vegan farmers
Consumers can already buy certified vegan vegetables in In Germany, Switzerland and Greece, under the BioCyclicVegan label. But ask for vegan vegetables in the Netherlands, and all you will find are raised eyebrows. Still, the benefits of growing without animal manure are considerable. Only a handful of farms work with these methods, of which Zonnegoed is the first carrying the BioCyclicVegan label. Pleased with the results they get from vegan farming, they are eager to do something about its relative obscurity. Enter the No Shit Food Movement.
New standard in sustainable cultivation
No Shit is organic, but not dependent on animal manure. By decoupling arable farming from both fertilizer and livestock farming, you make considerable progress when it comes to environmental impact: with No Shit cultivation is climate neutral, water use goes down, and it battles over-fertilization, salinization & desertification.
Plant-based cultivation is also interesting from a food security perspective. 80% of the available agricultural land is used to feed livestock, but animal products deliver only 20% of the calories. If everyone switched to a plant-based diet, we would only need a fifth of the agricultural land currently in use to feed the world. But then you also have to grow crops without animal manure.
Rooting for vegan vegetables
An eight-year study on vegetable cultivation, which was published early 2021, shows that soil fertility can be maintained perfectly with the help of green manure. The Zonnegoed farmers see the value of the No Shit way of working every day with their own eyes. “Soil structure and biodiversity are improving, and we see that crops grow well with less water. The harvest is equal to what we previously achieved with organic cultivation using animal manure.”
Anyone who thinks vegan vegetables are ‘the shit’ can follow the movement on noshitfood.nl, and help spread the word by sharing on social media. “Vegan cultivation has so many advantages, it’s just a really good story. The challenge we now face is that hardly anyone knows it exists. Farmers included. We hope to change that soon. We find it way too lonely at the top.”
You can read the Planty Organic research report here (in Dutch)