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Cabbage Hill's 100% animal-free fertilizers align backyard gardens with vegan values

Tomatoes, chickpeas, spinach, raspberries... All are excellent options for vegans, but they come with an unfortunate provenance: food crops are generally grown using synthetic or animal-based fertilizers, including blood and bone meal, fish emulsions and manure from meat and dairy farms. Taking into account what plants are fed, vegetables aren't necessarily vegan.

Nor are the fertilizers consumers buy for indoor plants and to grow fruits and vegetables. After discovering plant food is made with animal byproducts, landscape contractor Elin Riley decided to make her own — a product she could feel good about using for herself and her clients. She established Cabbage Hill Fertilizer Co. to produce and market vegan fertilizers for home gardeners.

The brand's product range includes an all-purpose version plus tailormade recipes for vegetables, houseplants and acid-loving plants, each containing a blend of macro- and micronutrients derived from plants and minerals. Riley is currently raising funds to get organic certification and roll out her products nationwide. She believes it will be the first line of vegan, organic garden fertilizers sold in the US.

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Shining a light on an inconvenient truth, products like Cabbage Hill Fertilizer will appeal to vegans who want to align their purchases with their values. While some won't mind if the fertilizer they use for their plants is made with blood or bone meal, many vegans are likely to feel uncomfortable being part of a system they vehemently oppose and about bringing slaughterhouse by-products into their homes and gardens.

On a larger scale, farmers worldwide are going vegan, too. Movements like veganic, stock-free and biocyclic vegan farming are picking up steam. Farmers using these systems completely eliminate animal products from their farming practices. Motivated by the fact that animal agriculture is a leading driver of greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, river pollution, and animal suffering, they're proving that growing fruits and vegetables can be a purely plant-based endeavor.