Ahimsa- Compassion. Reverence for all living creatures. Avoidance of harm or violence.
The Ahimsa Project focuses on vegan horticulture, stockfree growing, plant-based recipes, permaculture, heirloom plants and modern transcendentalism. Welcome to the garden.
Where are you located?
Central Florida/USDA Zone 9b. When this blog began we were west of Chicago, IL/Zone 5b and are originally from Metro Detroit/Zone 6b.
What is stockfree?
Stockfree methods are also sometimes referred to as animal-free agriculture, vegan organic and veganic. In this method, animal products are not used including blood meal, animal manure, and bone. Instead, soil fertility is built using cover crops, composting of green materials and crop rotation. One does not need to follow a vegan or plant-based lifestyle to garden this way though many do. It is a method that works toward a more sustainable future and focuses on creating systems that are earth-friendly, ethical and beneficial for the environment.
You mention permaculture. Doesn’t permaculture involve animal exploitation?
Just as there are many ways to garden, there are many ways to apply permaculture principles. Some permaculturists use animals and some do not. Permaculture without animals has been gaining in popularity for quite some time.
Where can I learn more about gardening without animal products?
The Vegan Organic Network and Vegan Agriculture Network are organizations that focus on animal-free agriculture. Additionally, a list of further reading for those who would like to learn more can be viewed on our resources page.
What is transcendentalism?
American transcendentalism was a philosophical and social movement that developed during the 1800’s in New England. Simply put it was a belief in individualism, idealism, and a deep connection with nature. Some influence came from eastern religions especially the Upanishads. Transcendentalists believed that everything is connected and happens for a reason. They believed in the inherent goodness of man. That in nature we can see the essence of life. They stressed the importance of self-reliance and encouraged free thought based on personal values.
“We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.” -Thoreau
“We live in succession, in division, in parts, in particles. Meantime within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence; the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related; the eternal ONE.” -Emerson
“What extracts from the Vedas I have read fall on me like alight of a higher and purer luminary.” -Thoreau
How does transcendentalism apply to a plant-based lifestyle and/or veganism?
Transcendentalists believed in a connection with all living things. This carried over to their treatment of animals. Many followed a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle at one time or another including Emerson, Thoreau, and Alcott. Also significant was the short-lived Fruitlands community founded by Alcott where animal products were avoided and manure was not used to fertilize crops.
It is calculated that if no animal food were consumed, one-fourth of the land now used would suffice for human sustenance. And the extensive tracts of the country now appropriated to grazing, mowing, and other modes of animal provision, could be cultivated by and for intelligent and affectionate human neighbors. -Amos Bronson Alcott
“One farmer says to me, ‘You cannot live on vegetable food solely, for it furnishes nothing to make bones with;’ and so he religiously devotes a part of his day to supplying his system with the raw material of bones; walking all the while he talks behind his oxen, which, with vegetable-made bones, jerk him and his lumbering plow along in spite of every obstacle.” -Thoreau
What do you mean by modern transcendentalism? Is transcendentalism even still relevant?
Living by transcendental values in our current times involves finding a balance between modern living and nature. Between materialism and simple living. Solitude and society. Seeing the connection between ourselves and the natural world around us. Technology is a wonderful thing, but in many ways screens are taking us away from what is essential. Many of the things Thoreau wrote about in Walden still apply today.