The Garden of the Vegan

The Garden of Vegan: How plants can save the animals, the planet and our health by Cleve West, book review

Cleve West's The Garden of Vegan is a personal, thought-provoking argument for taking the step from being a wildlife-conscious gardener to living and gardening as a vegan. Reviewer Mark Diacono is a writer, grower and cook.

The Garden of Vegan: How plants can save the animals, the planet and our health
by Cleve West
Pimpernel Press
£20
ISBN 978-1910258477
Buy it here

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The Garden of Vegan is a personal, persuasive take on why an animal-free diet might be for you and for the wider world. Issues are met head on, delicacies rarely sidestepped. Unpulled punches are intended to affect, in the hope that readers engage differently with the many environmental and health impacts associated
with what we eat.

West is the man for this task. An inspiring garden designer, long-term allotmenteer, and one of the nicest people you could meet, West has taken a journey he hopes to encourage us on; from wildlife-centred gardener and vegetarian to vegan activist. His passion is clear, and while the book is not an invitation so much as suite of arguments intended to draw you into the vegan corner, the design and the use of illustrations and visual punctuations is excellent, and the inclusion of gardens and recipes helps break the discussion of often intense issues into more digestible segments.

There are frequent statistics and figures, connections made from impacts to causes, and so on: these – as with most conclusions from statistics – may be arguable, but the connection between how we eat and the hugest issues that face us is undeniable. What West does is offer a strongly made, thoughtfully composed case in response to this, to garden and live within vegan principles.

The Garden of Vegan has its eye more on changing your world view; as West says, this book hopes to ‘inspire those with a natural predisposition to wildlife and environmentally friendly gardening to go just one step further’.

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Of course, each reader is likely to bring their own, perhaps strongly held, starting point; I suspect those at either end of the spectrum will find little to shift their view, but if you are between the two poles and inquisitive, this challenging, deeply personal book is an important read.