Radically Self-Reliant Veganic Gardening with Will Bonsall: PYP 224

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Will Bonsall is my new hero, and I say that without exaggeration. Check out the short video clip at the top of the Links section below to see half of the reason why.

The other half of the reason take a bit longer to explain – hence this full-length podcast episode.

Will is the visionary gardener whose half-century of experimentation and iconoclasm can help us save human civilization from collapse. His method, which he refers to as “gardening without borders,” takes into account all the inputs and outputs of a garden or farm, in contrast to the usual methods of conventional, organic, and permaculture production.

In addition to gardening, teaching, and seed saving, Will is also a novelist. His 2010 work, Through the Eyes of a Stranger: Yaro Tales Book One, takes his philosophy and imagines it in practice in a working, sustainable civilization. And Will assures me that book 2 will be out soon 🙂

In our conversation, we covered:

  • how organic gardening makes sense from an economic, but not ecologic perspective
  • the problem with the “cake mix” gardening that dominates suburbia
  • vegans are disconnected from the earth
  • the paramount metric of eco-efficiency
  • how can vegans be self-righteous about eating organic vegetables produced with animal manure?
  • why tofu is so inexpensive (hint: it involves killing pigs)
  • needing to take a hard look at inputs
  • the ocean of petroleum that skews our whole civilization
  • “there's no such thing as ‘away'”
  • the promise and limitations of permaculture
  • humans are parasites on the earth – at least be efficient about it
  • why we grow “band-aid species” in our gardens
  • the secret of sustainable food production: leaves and brush from hardwood forests
  • trees eat rocks and give us minerals for the garden
  • how veganic agriculture can accommodate large human populations on this planet
  • the fictional, non-Utopian land of Esperia and its Vine Laws
  • why our civilization should mandate hyper-local self-sufficiency
  • the importance of seed saving, and the origins and current status of the Scatterseed Project
  • Will is promiscuous with email, and here's the proof: wabonsall@gmail.com
  • never mind political elections – we get to vote every day at the checkout counter
  • and much more…

Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots.


Will Bonsall's Essential Guide to Radical, Self-Reliant Gardening

Direct from the publisher

On amazon

Will's Farm in Maine

Through the Eyes of a Stranger: Yaro Tales Book 1

Seed Savers Exchange

The Land Institute

The Humanure Handbook (we didn't talk about it specifically, but you'll see how it's relevant)

A 3-hour veganic gardening workshop hosted by Amie Hamlin of The Coalition for Healthy School Food:

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The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.

It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.

You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website, WillRidenour.com.


This post may contain amazon affiliate links. I may receive amazon gift certificates from your actions on such links.

2 Responses to “Radically Self-Reliant Veganic Gardening with Will Bonsall: PYP 224”

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  1. Olga Lightle says:

    Howard, I am amazed at how much Ive learned over the last couple of years just by listening to your podcasts and the smartest & most real guests ever! Thank you! The interview with Milton Mills is one of my favorites. Im only sorry it has taken me this long to write a comment. It is evident to me that this is your passion, to learn the truth about “really” living life and to be willing to share with people like me, so that I can continue to grow and share as well! Bless your Heart! Gratefully yours, Olga in Illinois

    • Howard says:

      Wow, Olga, what a beautiful message to wake up to this morning!

      Thanks so much for your generous words. I’ll pass them on to Dr Mills – I know he’ll be pleased 🙂

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