Are worm castings vegan?
No. Strictly speaking, worm castings are not vegan because they are derived from worms, which are classified as animals.
However, some vegans do use worm castings, depending on where they come from and how the worms are treated. Why? Read on.
As worms, insects and bees are crucial for good soil and healthy plants, it has been accepted that vegan gardening can include natural animal derivatives and soil nutrients such as worm castings.
Some vegans will use worm castings based on different reasons.
For example, they believe worm castings are naturally produced because the worms are not hurt in the process and are simply doing their usual business when they produce "poo".
Or they may use castings based on what the worms are fed, whether they are treated well, or whether the castings are from big profitable companies.
If you've ever tried organic gardening in a pot, you will find that growing plants completely naturally without animal derivatives in a pot is not possible, unless chemical fertilisers are used.
So worm castings often becomes the go-to organic fertiliser because the alternatives such as blood, bone and fish fertiliser are just not kind to the earth at all. (You can read our Study here)
The Origins of Planthood's Worm Castings
Here is our honest take on worm castings. We don't mind using worm castings as long as it is kindly sourced. The castings produced by our worms are given a cruelty-free diet without inputs from the meat industry.
Our worms castings are locally sourced in Victoria where we are based. They are from a one-man operation and he is super passionate about worms. His operation is small because it’s his hobby.
They are really high quality because he cares for them exceptionally well.
He must have a registered business in order to sell to us, although we genuinely sense he is not motivated by the profit but rather by his love of worms.
Are worm farms cruel?
Some people believe all worm farms and breeders are cruel - which is a view that we can sympathise with, however we believe there's more to this.
There's a big gap between how worm farmers treat their worms - some are cruel but some actually love their worms - just like you would love your pet dog and keep them in an enclosed protected space (i.e in your home and not in the wild).
Some customers have expressed that they don't wish to buy from worm breeders. Unfortunately, all suppliers are “worm breeders” in a sense because you simply can’t collect the castings efficiently from a garden - it would be mixed with the soil and unable to be separated.
Our Sourcing Ethics
We have looked all over the state to find the most natural worm castings and have strict sourcing criteria.
We are focused on finding passionate local suppliers who have the means to make sure all their worms are cared for well, fed the best food (without blood, bone or manure from the slaughterhouse or the meat industry) and given plenty of love!
Worm castings are the only ingredient we use that is animal derived (not strictly vegan) but is not present in all our soils.
Since the word "vegan" means no animal ingredients and no animal-derived ingredients, we do not use worm castings in our soils labelled vegan. So, our vegan soil allow you to go truly vegan with your gardening, if you wish.
Check out our Kindly Sourced Worm Castings here.