The Vegan Cook and Gardener

Graham Burnett | Tuesday, 5th November 2019
Veganism as a lifestyle choice is very much in the news right now. Reducing our intake of animal products is a powerful and positive step towards a more compassionate way of living, and can greatly reduce our ecological impacts. Yet even a plant-based diet has a high carbon footprint if too heavily reliant on processed foods and industrialised agricultural systems.
Author: Piers Warren and Ella Bee Glendining
Publisher: Permanent Publications
Publication year: 2017
RRP: £19.95

It is timely therefore to see the publication of The Vegan Cook and Gardener by father and daughter team Piers and Ella. Packed full of beautiful photos, the first half of this gorgeous and highly readable book is a compact yet thorough guide to growing vegan-organic fruit, vegetables, herbs and salads all year round, using permaculture strategies such as applying Zone and Sector planning, working with nature by building fertility with green manures and forest gardening techniques. The authors’ practical experience succinctly undermines any arguments for the necessity of captive animal products to provide manures or feed the soil. But as with any sensible vegan-organic gardeners, they welcome and indeed rely upon the presence of wildlife, bacteria and worms to maintain a balanced and healthy growing ecosystem.

Part 2 is all about what to do with your veganic abundance, chock full of tempting, delicious and seasonal plant-based recipes. Dishes like Artichoke and Broccoli Pizza, Spinach and Pea Gnocchi, Raspberry Truffles or Redcurrant Shortbread dispel any lingering myths that the vegan diet is unimaginative and boring, or else too complicated, fussy and full of exotic imported ingredients. Preference is given to sourcing ingredients from your own garden or allotment and local organic veg-box schemes, with supermarkets and processed ingredients used only as a final resort.

The Vegan Cook and Gardener is above all a practical guide, with permaculture theory and vegan philosophy kept to a minimum. Current western expectations for meat and dairy to be available on the table three times a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year are globally unsustainable by any standards – Piers and Ella show that another way is not only possible, but can provide opportunities to live abundantly whilst doing the least harm to our fellow Earth Citizens, both human and non-human – Be well fed with not an animal dead!

Graham Burnett is the author of Permaculture a Beginner’s Guide and The Vegan Book of Permaculture and runs Vegan Permaculture Courses. For more information see www.spiralseed.co.uk

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