What is the Biocyclic Vegan Standard?

The Biocyclic Vegan Standard is a certification that tells consumers that a farm’s produce has been cultivated using purely plant-based, organic practices. This means the farm excludes the following:

  • any inputs of animal origin
  • slaughtering of animals,
  • all forms of commercial livestock farming,
  • and agri-chemical inputs (synthetic fertilisers, pesticides, fungicides, etc.).

In addition to the Biocyclic Vegan Standard telling consumers what harmful practices a farm has excluded, it also tells them that this farm engages in positive practices that:

  • close the loop on organic cycles,
  • protect and regenerate the health of the soil,
  • build up the levels of humus in the soil*,
  • and promote biodiversity and wildlife.
Biocyclic Humus Soil

*Watch Dr. Johannes Eisenbach’s excellent talk on the creation and benefits of humus soil.

To get a better idea of what farming under the Biocyclic Vegan Standard looks like in practice, why not check out the many inspiring examples of Biocyclic vegan farms listed on their website. Not only do they showcase how this method of farming works for growing every different kind of crop, but also how to successfully grow at different scales, and in different climatic zones. For examples that we think are most to relevant to Scottish and UK farmers, read our own case studies on Zonnegoed in the Netherlands and Bio-Farmland in Romania (with hopefully many more to come in future!).

How does the Biocyclic Vegan Standard help…

Biocyclic vegan agriculture contributes to climate change mitigation in a number of ways. Being based in part on organic principles, this kind of agriculture bypasses the intensive fossil fuel use required to make synthetic fertilisers and other agri-chemicals. Instead, it relies on sustainable, locally generated sources of fertility like green manures and compost. Furthermore, its vegan principles mean that it is not implicated in animal agriculture – either through livestock farming or animal inputs – which is a significant driver of climate change for several reasons. Lastly, the development of Biocyclic humus soil (which is encouraged with the Biocyclic Vegan Standard) is a very effective means of capturing and storing carbon in the soil.

Promoting biodiversity is not only important for helping the local ecosystem and wildlife to thrive, but also because it helps to protect a farm’s crops, often preventing common issues from developing in the first place. Biocyclic vegan farms are characteristically high in biodiversity, thanks to practices like minimal tillage, crop rotations, mixed cropping, natural borders and the inclusion of other natural habitats, which these farms consistently include.

By not including farmed animals, animal inputs and chemical fertilisers, Biocyclic vegan agriculture avoids the excessive application of nutrients – particularly nitrogen – to the land. As a result, nutrient runoff from the land is significantly reduced, improving the quality of groundwater and helping to mitigate eutrophication in downstream water courses and/or coastal waters. Additionally, one characteristic of Biocyclic humus soil is that its molecular structure is physiologically stable which helps reduce the leaching of nitrate even further.

Preserving and regenerating soils to a healthy, fertile state is at the heart of Biocyclic vegan agriculture. Supplying the land with plenty of organic material principally from green manures and mature, plant-based composts helps with retaining moisture, preventing soil erosion, building humus soil, and sequestering carbon. The exclusion of chemical inputs and the encouragement of crop rotations, minimal tillage and year-round crop cover also contribute significantly to a better soil biome.

A Biocyclic vegan farm is in the interest of domesticated animals as no animals are used for production either during their life (e.g. eggs, milk, honey) or at the ‘end’ of their life where they would usually be slaughtered. The exclusion of animal derived inputs too, is important, as this means that Biocyclic vegan farms are not indirectly relying on and supporting animal agriculture. Many different species of wild, free-living animals, ranging from the large to the microscopic, also stand to benefit from the organic management and the natural habitats included on Biocyclic vegan farms.

Farming according to Biocyclic vegan principles substantially lessens the risk of creating or spreading zoonotic diseases, since animals are not used for production. For the same reason, this also helps combat the looming threat of antibiotic resistance, because a significant percentage of all antibiotics are fed to farmed animals. Another benefit is that no pollution is created because the runoff of agri-chemicals and animal manure and slaughterhouse waste is eliminated. Farming without pesticides, herbicides, etc., is also a good precautionary measure for public health. Lastly, with particular attention being given to ensure that the soil is healthy, it can be expected that Biocyclic vegan produce will be packed with nutrients.

A large-scale shift to veganic farming, as exemplified by Biocyclic vegan agriculture, can improve food security by improving the soil fertility and thus the productivity of land in a sustainable manner. This is especially important for ensuring that food can still be grown on large tracts of land across the world where soil has been or is currently degrading, whilst simultaneously not relying on fossil fuel based fertilisers. The efficiency of plant-based agriculture also means that such a shift could free up massive amounts of land (previously occupied by animal agriculture) which could be used to grow food directly for human consumption.

If you are interested in becoming certified with the Biocyclic Vegan Standard you can contact them at this page here, or email us and we can forward along your enquiry. For more detail of what the certification entails, read the complete guidelines to the Biocyclic Vegan Standard here.

Why do Farmers For Stock-Free Farming endorse the Biocyclic Vegan Standard?

We support the Biocyclic Vegan Standard for a number of reasons. Firstly, from our experience of supporting our first farmer to transition from beef and dairy farming to veganic cereal farming we realised that the Biocyclic Vegan Standard takes into account the difficulty involved in such a transition and that it cannot simply be done overnight. The rules for their conversion process reflect this understanding, which for instance, allow forage/fodder material from up to 40% of the farm’s area to be sold as animal feed in the first 5 years since becoming certified. This provides some financial leeway as the farmer adapts to their new farming practices and secures new market outlets for their veganic produce.

Secondly, we believe that the Biocyclic Vegan Standard is helpful in distinguishing a farm’s produce and agricultural methods as being both beyond organic practices and based on vegan principles. Having the Biocyclic Vegan Standard label informs consumers that the product has been produced according to very high ethical and environmental standards, which can appeal to consumers regardless of whether they are themselves vegan.


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