Headshot of Jimmy Videle smiling towards the camera. Wearing a grey hoodie with the hood up - and glasses.

Is Veganic the Future of Farming? “We grow plants using plants” – Jimmy Videle – Sentientism Ep:192

Find our Sentientist Conversation here on the Sentientism YouTube and here on the Sentientism Podcast.

Jimmy Videle is a farmer, naturalist (in the sense of working to understand nature scientifically), and researcher. He is the author of The Veganic Grower’s Handbook: Cultivating Fruits, Vegetables, and Herbs from Urban Backyard to Rural Farmyard and the co-founder of NAVCS-Certified Veganic. His writing has appeared in many publications including CounterPunch, Countercurrents, and LA Progressive.

00:00 Clips!

01:01 Welcome

03:08 Jimmy’s Intro

– 20 years in farming

– A naturalist… observes and scientifically tries to understand nature “my passion”. Over 10,000 hours of field research “a lot of time outside”

– Author of The Veganic Grower’s Handbook “how to grow… without the products of animals or having any animals on the farm”

04:50 What’s Real?

– German Roman Catholic mother, Italian Catholic father

– Church every Sunday, communion at 5-6 yrs old

– 12 yrs old heading toward confirmation

– Only child, parents divorcing, a tough patch at high school “It’s probably a little easier if you have siblings… I went into my own little bubble… I always felt very comfortable alone”

– Attending weekly catechism, dad asks if Jimmy still wants to go… “Dad… I really wanna just play baseball… this was our religion!”

– “When you’re really worried about what people are thinking about you you spend less time delving into the bigger questions… at that time it was the purpose of… ‘I want people to like me'”

– Music scholarship to college in California… meeting lifelong friends… hippy influence… “this idea that love could rule all… the biggest moment – flash of my life… wow love”

– “The idea of god… I was never totally comfortable”

– Having to confess sins “I didn’t have any… I’d have to make something up… in #Catholocism you’re always sinning… only being alive means you’re sinning… it’s really bizarre… If I didn’t say something then there was this silence… impending, doomful silence”

– “I always believed that there was god… but I always had a tough time with this god… always judging us… always making us feel bad… like victims… and we’re only going to be saved when we die… when we have a chance… to go to heaven”

– In my 19-20”s “I realised that wasn’t going to be my path”

– Exploring eastern religions & #daoism “we choose our path… but guiding supernatural principles…”

– “Moments where I could predict something that would happen tomorrow… maybe it has something to do with this stream of consciousness that exists which daoism talks a lot about”… #buddhism, first nations religions

– The #iching & “Animal Spirit Guides” by Steven Farmer “Maybe nature is also telling me something… nature has a message and all I have to do is listen and learn”

– “I have my hands actually in the earth… I’m feeling something that most people don’t”

– “Every living thing that has died is part of that life consciousness that then exists”

– Living on top of some of the earth’s oldest rocks “I also want to believe that that rock has knowledge from 4 billion years ago”

– “For me… a bacterium is as sentient as I am”

– “Maybe all of that knowledge is there for the taking”

– “Maybe it is all natural… maybe there’s nothing mystical about it at all… start thinking about what it is to be a wolf or a deer or a hemlock tree… how can we see the world then?”

– “To even believe that we are the only sentient being on the planet… it’s as arrogant as we can get”

– Gods as personalities vs. god as nature

– Epistemic and ethical risks of supernatural worldviews

– “What I believe now… #animism… the original religion… maybe it’s the way nature looks at the world… every living being has a breath or a soul… anima… when you die, that soul becomes something else…”

– “I don’t put a lot of weight into it because I can’t prove it… try to look at the world from a science perspective”

– Colonial views of indigenous people as “savages”

– Lightning as “alive”… providing nitrogen from the atmosphere to plants

– Risks of mis/disinfo, conspiracism, authoritarianism, human dominance, speciesism, patriarchy “maybe this is why religion has taken over”

32:03 What and Who Matters?

– JW : Nihilism, relativism, divine command ethics vs. “taking the perspectives of others seriously”

– Moral scope choices: In-group humans only, anthropocentrism, sentiocentrism, biocentrism, ecocentrism

– Working in a restaurant, being a foodie, eating everything – then meeting a vegetarian girlfriend

– “She was taken out hunting… she shot herself a deer when she was 11… when she bit into the meat… she bit into a bullet… that was it… ‘I’m done’”

– Travelling together in Texas and coming across a factory farm slaughterhouse “the cows were up to their knees in their own manure… what am I looking at… there were thousands… a trail of manure enriched water… right into the Gulf of Mexico…”

– “I became vegetarian instantly… I don’t need to eat animals any more”

– Still eating eggs and drinking milk “I felt I needed the protein… that’s what people tell you… that’s what the billboards say… magazines say… your parents say… what god says!”

– The Christspiracy film by Kip Anderson (Jimmy’s college roommate) and Kam Waters

– Working in the corporate world “not really liking it but also realising I needed to make a living”

– Growing own food and being in nature on the weekend

– Becoming a farmer. Still raising chickens and goats for eggs and milk “I loved my goats… [but] there need to be babies for you to have milk… where do these babies go?… what do you do with the male goats?… we would take them away to auction… this horrible place… sold off to the first person who would pay $15 dollars to then turn them into a barbecue… that stuck with me”

– “People just don’t know… Why aren’t we taught this as kids?”

– “Instead of pledge allegiance to the flag… why not pledge allegiance to the planet?”

– “There’s so much of humanity that makes absolutely no sense to me… when I look at nature it all makes 100% sense… this is why I’ve decided to live this way”

– City life vs. rural life

– Going back to omnivorism while travelling

– Hearing from Kip about veganic farming “not using manure or blood meal or bone meal… that sounds great dude but it absolutely can not work!”

– “Ten months later I was vegan and I started my own veganic farm”

– The Vegan Organic Network

– Taking a vegan 30 day challenge as part of promoting Cowspiracy in Montreal. Watching Earthlings

– “When I stopped eating dairy, when I stopped eating eggs I realised everything I believed about this animism worldview… we need nature to survive… now made 100% sense”

Ian Tolhurst’s UK veganic farm

– Manure as a low-nutrient waste product… but using it as fertilizer!

– JW: The risks of an ecocentric “circle of life… life consumes life… now I’ll have my cheeseburger” worldview

– JW: “What’s the difference between cutting a chicken and cutting a tomato plant?”

– “The living part of the tomato is the seed… the tomato plant will live and die in its own way”

– Are predators doing wrong? Vs. hunters “not even close”

– A pack of eastern wolves that run through Jimmy’s farm “they’re just patrolling their land… sniffing when a deer pees… to see if they’re healthy or not”

– “The wolf knows which deer needs to be taken away from the system… if they kill the strongest male or the most fertile female… in maybe a year there will be no more deer”

– “They’re killing a sentient being… but it’s not that they’re doing it in some kind of malicious [way]”

– Without plants there would be no sentient animals

– “Are plants sentient? The plants themselves understand… this nature… they require the carbon dioxide we breathe out and the carbon dioxide from the composting of their own leaves… I believe they understand their role.”

– Mycorrhizae and intra-plant/funghi communication “they understand what they need”

– “Are plants sentient? Absolutely they are”

– “Is a carrot alive when you eat it? Yes it is… If we were really intelligent… we would let a few of our carrots… go to seed… every one carrot produces over 7000 seeds”

– “Of course you’re eating a living being… of course it matters… but it’s absolutely not the same thing as taking a permanent life.”

– JW: If plants were sentient would their interests be radically different? “It helps the tomato for us to consume it and spread the seeds far and wide… it still doesn’t feel pain when you remove the tomato because it’s evolved for that to be a good thing for it – whereas for an animal it’s a bad thing to be cut…”

– “We can choose to just eat plants… and I do believe that plants require us to eat them in a certain kind of way”

– “We have taken ourselves out of being natural… we don’t even use our own manure… our own urea”

– “We as a species do not make sense… so for us to start telling the rest of the world what sentience is is pretty arrogant… we created all of these words… chickadee, robin… that’s not their name”

01:09:03 A Better World?

– Sentientist Politics, Economics, Law, Culture, Language… and Sentientist Agriculture

– Veganic Agriculture “we grow plants using plants” instead of fish/bone/blood meal etc.

– Using plant-based compost, cover crops to nourish “a living soil”… living matter… soil organic carbon

– “Producing as much as possible in a small amount of space”

– Our little farm… a nice mix… was basically as productive as any kind of [US] conventional farm… and a US farm has a longer growing season than a Canadian farm”

– Jimmy’s Veganic farm shown to be 41% more productive than organic agriculture at cheaper prices “the reason why it’s not more expensive is because we don’t use any inputs… pesticides… we don’t even fertilise our fields”

– Using grass directly as fertiliser instead of feeding it through cows to destroy nearly all of its value then using it as manure fertiliser

– “Our little veganic agriculture plot was 4000% more productive than any animal agriculture”

– Animal agriculture is so radically wasteful “but nobody knows that”… feed conversion ratios

– Soy as the highest calorie and protein producer per acre of any plant crop or livestock operation “If we want to produce… for the entire world to eat… it’s soy… or any kind of bean”

– “The only reason why we’re told that we need to use manure is because the [animal agriculture] industry has put a stranglehold on agriculture since the very beginning… the only way they could convince all of us…”

– “Regenerative agriculture basically is the last gasp of animal agriculture… they know the writing is on the wall… they know this is where it’s going but they’re holding on ‘til their last breath”

– “billions of wasted dollars funnelled in for what? – for killing innocent animals”

– JW “If animal agriculture as a food system didn’t exist today and you came forward and suggested it… people would think you were absolutely crazy”

– Could we do even better than veganic farming by removing the organic constraints and using improved technologies like GMO?

– “Let’s start today and end all functions and components of animal agriculture… and all the crops we raise to keep the animals… now we’re down to about 10% agricultural land”

– Heirloom seeds  – some hundreds of years old. Consider “what a seed knows… all the knowledge from that year is stored in the seed… it knows how to combat diseases… to combat insects”

– “We screw that whole system up when we spray pesticides”

– “The way most plants are produced… long rows… one crop… nothing else”

– “Here we’ll have cabbages… and wild flora… all of those plants have all the information from the mycorrhizae”

– Farmer suicides by pesticide in India often exacerbated by poor GMO crop yields

– The health risks of pesticide residues

– How to get veganic agriculture systemically adopted “It can’t all be put on the weight of the farmers… it’s already hard enough… we’re some of the lowest paid people on the planet”

– “I’m not a socialist… but what I do believe in… look at it like universal healthcare… a universal food growing programme… taxes to support the farmers using the best veganic methods… we basically become government employees… a publicly funded system”

– “Take away all of the subsidies from animal agriculture… and funnel all of that money into understanding the best possible way of growing our food… we don’t need to open up any more agricultural land… or open up marginal land”

– “It’s just about convincing government… which I will never figure out how to do… they are so greedy… so into their own self-interest… protecting their own business”

– Increasing land prices “we can’t have small farms”

– The average age of farmers in Canada is 61 “In ten years there will be no more farmers in Canada… no one wants to get into it”

– “Stop doing wasteful, destructive, exploitative practices of agriculture, stop killing all these sentient beings, stop raising all the crops that are used to feed those animals…”

– “Create the best possible system… like government says they’re trying to do for everything else… energy, electric cars… do it for agriculture!… it’s the second most important thing us humans need to do every day which is eat… it’s not that complicated… an essential service”

– Jimmy’s Boilieu Biodiversity Reserve project (3,500 acres) and his Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign

– The Monarch butterfly and bees

– “Our farm, because of our no spray philosophy… companion plants… native flora… the bees were there in great abundance. The butterflies were there”

– “In order to have a biodiverse system you must have every level of the faunal chain as well as the floral chain”

– “Our little half acre could feed all those 13 families and we could still protect 3500 acres”

– “How we feed the cities… I don’t know… that’s for you all to figure out”

01:41:32 Follow Jimmy









https://veganorganic.net/ (UK)

https://goveganic.net/ (Quebec) and their twice-a-year Learn Veganic course

Sentientism is “Evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” More at Sentientism.info.

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Thanks to Graham for the post-production and to Tarabella and Denise for helping to fund this episode via our Sentientism Patreon.

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