Animal-based fertilizers, like manure and blood meal, often come from animals that were not raised organically. They may have been exposed to chemicals, GMO feed, hormones, and antibiotics. Veganic growers can maintain fertility on their own holding using completely organic plant-based techniques, ensuring that the entire cycle of agriculture is 100% organic.
There are growing concerns about chemicals used in food production and contaminants found in the food supply. Choosing to grow food organically is a step in the right direction, because substances like pesticides, herbicides, and GMO’s are not intentionally added to the farmland. Unfortunately, these substances can still make their way to organic fields. While organic farmers are permitted to use animal-based fertilizers like manure, blood meal, and bone meal, these fertilizers may be contaminated with substances that are contrary to the aims of organic agriculture.
For example, when farm animals are fed pesticide-tainted food, certain pesticides bioaccumulate in the bodies of the animals, resulting in animal-based fertilizers that still contain pesticides. Bone meal has been implicated in the spread of mad cow disease, causing some people to become wary of bone meal used in vegetable agriculture. Antibiotics that are given to farm animals can be found in the animals’ manure. The University of Minnesota conducted studies in 2005 and 2006 that show that some of these antibiotics are actually absorbed by vegetables, causing concern about antibiotic resistance.
For farmers and gardeners who would like to grow cleanly-sourced organic food, the fertility in veganic agriculture is maintained using plant-based techniques, with minimal use of off-farm inputs. This can be cheaper and less energy intensive than importing organic animal products from neighbouring farms, and by producing your own sources of fertility, you can ensure that the production cycle remains completely organic.