In this book ‘Beyond Organic – Our Future is Plant-based’, Dutch agriculture and food author Theo Grent addresses the complex relationships between food and natural resources and argues that a transition towards more plant-based diets would benefit the conservation of biodiversity, land, water, energy, climate, human health and animal welfare simultaneously.
Meanwhile, the benefits of livestock industry curtailment are matters for political consideration: less livestock farming, less animal feed to be imported, and a more extensive agricultural sector. The protein production for human consumption should be plant-based; livestock should get a limited and supportive role.
The issue of the livestock industry needs to be approached from a different angle: bottom up, not top-down. This book stimulates the agricultural and food sector in its much-needed transition. Our only future is plant-based!
Excerpt from the Preface
Innovative European farmers concluded that organic certification is no longer trustworthy and decided to convert their farms to an even more sustainable organic food production system, including certification: the ‘Biocyclic Vegan Label’. Converting to ‘plant-based’ means more than a trend to these pioneers. They bring into practice that it is possible to grow healthy crops without animal inputs. In their opinion growing green manures in a crop rotation program and addition of digestate, compost and chipped branch wood, are essential to replenish organic matter lost through cropping and to encourage high levels of microbial activity.
This book encounters the provocative idea that growing green biomass to feed plant and soil life can equally be part of a diversified land use as organic livestock systems. Although this idea continues to stimulate disbelief, a number of progressive organic farmers has already proved that we don’t need livestock to create soil fertility and biodiversity. The exclusion of livestock in our agricultural system is a logical step, for it embraces ‘beyond organic’ for all those looking for sustainably produced ‘safe’ food. Our future is plant-based!
‘Beyond Organic’ shows how to grow organic crops without the need to make use of bred animals. The book tells us why abolishing all livestock and products derived thereof is possible and even preferable.
The term “fertility” should be applied to the soil and plants together. The fertility of animal- derived products originates from the plants the animals ate. Organic matter is captured in aerial parts of plants that are later returned to the soil. This means that the soil derives its capacity for producing life from plants as much as plants derive their capacity for growth from the soil.
Farm animals offer no necessary products that cannot be produced more efficiently and humanely using plants. If everyone in the world eats a plant-based diet and food economies are organized more fairly, the food produced will be enough for everyone.
The simple math of animal-protein production speaks volumes. We still insist on the gross inefficiency of cycling our plant production through animals before considering it “food.” Feeding meat-producing animals rather than directly feeding humans means we waste upward of 90% of the calories otherwise available for our consumption.
Most humans are locked in false inhibiting concepts: they believe that meat, dairy, fish and eggs are necessary for health. The opposite is true: animals yield nothing that cannot be gathered more efficiently from plants, not even fertilizer. On the contrary, the second population explosion of deliberately-bred animals compete with humans for plant foods and vital diminishing resources, and their increasingly cruel exploitation threatens just retribution.
If the affluent western diet is adopted by people in developing countries, we will need at least four terrestrial globes to sustain it. It is arresting that our society attempts to mitigate this impossible situation by building more factory farms. A depraved scenario!
Only time will tell, but banning the production and consumption of animal-based protein could be to the benefit of generations to come. One day, modern nightmarish industrialized livestock farming will be a thing of the past of which we will say: what were we thinking?
Theo Grent supports the global agriculture and food movement for more sustainable production methods. He regularly publishes works on the enormous potential of biological products in conventional, regenerative and organic systems. In his view, change develops best on its own (bottom up), without the need to incite people (top-down).
His books ‘The Biological Approach’ (2001), ‘Plant Protection New Style’ (2010), and ‘The Regenerative Approach’ (2019) have been bestsellers. In ‘Beyond Organic’ (2021), the author shows us how to grow healthy organic crops, without using animal products. The key for change is in the hands of farmers. This book acts as a how-to guide: locally, within nature and its circular course.
To contact Theo directly, call: +49 (0)174 533 4500 or email him via email@example.com.