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Newsletter, Issue No. 3, Winter, 2016
Courses and Workshops at Red Pig Farm 2016

We are pleased to announce that we will be offering a variety of courses and workshops throughout 2016 here at Red Pig Farm.
The courses are for anyone interested in natural building, mushroom growing and biodiesel. We are also offering the courses as rewards as part of our Buzzbnk crowdfunding campaign to help set up the infrastructure for Red Pig Farm. We start the campaign in April and will advertise it through this newsletter and on our website nearer the time. This is an excellent opportunity to support land workers as well as learning a new skill!

The first course, roundwood timber framing, begins in May. Led by Sara Tommerup, participants will learn all the basic skills involved in roundwood timber framing and be part of the construction of a wood drying shed from start to finish.
The other courses are straw bale construction; mushroom cultivation, biodiesel, natural plasters, and how to build rocket mass heaters and cob baking ovens.
All the courses are listed below with links to the full description on our website. Feel free to contact us for more information.

Work Weekend - from tree to soil
The next upcoming event is our work weekend, 12-14th of February, where we will focus on coppicing and thinning the woodland. Red Pig Farm's woodland is due to a good thinning and as we need to build the top soil layer for our growing areas, the bountiful brash will come in useful as woodchip for soil building. Just let us know if you are coming.

We welcome you to join us here on the edge of the Black Mountain!
RoundWood Timber Framing Course

May 2nd-6th
May 25th-29th

We will build a simple wood shed from start to finish. The course will include all the basic joints when working with roundwood timber framing such as mortise and tenons, braces and rafters. We will prepare the ground, construct and raise the whole structure over 5 days. A great introduction and jumpstart into working with roundwood - a low impact appropriate building technology! Read more...

Cob Bread Oven

June 11th - 12th

Learn how to build a baking oven out of earth. Great fun to cook in, especially worthy of bread baking. Nothing compares to the loaves baked in a wood fired mass oven. Read more...

Building with Straw Bales

August 12th -14th

This course focuses on straw bale building systems. We will fill in our timber frame building with standard straw bales. You will learn all the tricks and tips for working with this renewable material. The course will also cover the theory of load bearing straw bale construction, the suitable plasters and rendering, wall compression, wall and sole plates as well as roofing and foundation details. Read more...

How to make Biodiesel

August 6th
September 16th

Come and learn how to make your own biodiesel and build your own small scale biodiesel production unit. Red Pig Farm has been producing its own biodiesel for over 5 years with a 300l capacity processing unit. We'll also show you how to make the most of the waste glycerine. Read more...

Fungimentalism - Mushroom Cultivation Course

September 9th-11th

This three day course will provide you with a background in fungal biology and the basic practice of mushroom cultivation. By the end of the course you will have everything you need to begin growing your own mushrooms at home, including the mushroom spawn to get you started! Read more...

Natural Plasters

October 7th - 9th

Learn how to make and apply your own natural clay and lime plasters. We will be working indoors on our straw bale structure. The course will cover scratch and finish coats, carvings, pigments and washes. Come and enjoy this primal and deeply satisfying art! Read more...

Rocket Mass Heater
October 22nd - 23rd

Learn how to construct a mass heater made out of recycled materials, fire bricks and cob. This mass heater will also heat water and be given an up-to-date design and finish worthy a 21st century home. The Rocket stove is an affordable and democratic technology that everyone can build, empowering us to be in control of our own heating bills. Read more...

Equality in the Countryside

The Landworkers’ Alliance and The Land magazine have joined forces to produce a rural manifesto which aims to challenge the elitism that dominates rural policy. The manifesto is also supported by the Family Farmers Association.

The manifesto was launched on Wednesday 6th January at 1.00pm in the Old Library of Oxford Town Hall at the Oxford Real Farming Conference. It includes 46 action points, on matters such a housing, land ownership, agriculture and rural employment. These all have the common aim of making Britain’s rural land and resources more accessible to a wider constituency of people. The full manifesto can be downloaded here.


  • The Land Registry should not be privatized. The register of who owns which land should be completed, and made easily and freely accessible  on line. A cadastral map for each municipality should be made publicly available at council offices, as it is in countries such as France and Spain.
  • The sell-off of county farms should be halted  (except where county farmland can be sold for development and the proceeds used to acquire more or better land). Local authorities should be re-empowered to acquire land for rent to small-scale farmers and new entrants where there is a proven need.
  • Common Agricultural Policy direct subsidies should be capped at €150,000 per individual farmer, releasing an estimated £4million. The ceiling should be lowered progessively over time to a level that supports a wider range of thriving family farms.
  • Much organically produced food and animal feed is not labelled as such because the costs of certification are too high for small-scale producers. The burden of labelling and certification should instead be borne by farmers who employ chemicals or other ecologically suspect practices, rather than by organic farmers. In other words, food products that have been produced using artificial fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides or genetically modified materials should be clearly labelled as such.
  • Increase investment in council housing and social housing in villages.
  • Measures should be taken to ensure that recently introduced  government support for self-build housing is focussed on affordable housing, and not luxury housing.
  • All  rural local authorities to set targets within their area for the reduction of carbon emissions through renewable energy generation, including solar, wind and micro-hydro — especially community schemes; and through energy saving measures such as insulation of buildings.
  • Support should be provided for the creation of “village service stations” in rural settlements that combine retail provision of food and essential goods with post-office and banking services, car-hire and minibus services, etc
  • Include land management (horticulture, arable crops, animal husbandry, forestry etc) as a subject at secondary schools on a par with academic subjects.
  • Reintroduce the fuel duty escalator, a ratcheted annual increase of carbon tax on petrol and diesel, including red diesel, with the proceeds earmarked for public transport provision.
Landeilo Station Hub - Update

At the end of November the Station Hub for Llandeilo had been completed, but news on the planning application was pending. The hub has been overwintering in a farmer’s barn. However, as we approach the end of January planning permission has been approved.

The approval was made by Carmarthenshire County Council. This means we are another major step closer to installing the Hub and getting it up and running.

All being well, the site will be prepared by a local, family business – Ian Thomas Construction. Meanwhile Network Rail will be coordinating protection of the railway whilst work is underway. The hub will be transported to the site by lorry in two sections.

As soon as the hub is in, we will contact those with an interest in use/management  of hub. Launch date tbc. The Station Hub was designed in Wales by D.S. Bamford.  The project was commissioned by the Heart of Wales Line Forum and funded by the Welsh Government Minister for Transport and the Economy, Edwina Hart.

Want to be involved? Contact us  here

Community Land - Get it, Keep it, Profit!

Tuesday 1st March 2016
9.45am – 3.30pm,  Fee: £10 (Lunch Included)

Venue: Ffarm Moelyci, Tregarth, Gwynedd, LL57 4BB

Growing Together and the Community Land Advisory Service (CLAS) will be jointly hosting this informative event about accessing land and developing enterprises to help sustain it.

Come together with other projects and experts from the field to learn more about:

  • Differences between Leases, Licenses and different tenancy options
  • Exploring different options to fund land purchases (shares, crowdfunding, loans and private investment)
  • Governance - What legal form you should choose when acquiring land and why
  • Developing enterprises that generate income from the land
  • Ways the Community Land Advisory Service (CLAS) and Growing Together can help your project on this subject.

What you can expect:

  • A site tour of the main facilities of this 300+ acre North Wales Hill farm, where you will have the opportunity to discuss the enterprises Cwm Harry are developing on the farm (shop, café, growing spaces, training facilities, community kitchen, rural office space, green energy systems and much more).
  • Presentations from other groups that are developing their ideas or have already accessed land and are building enterprises from the ground upwards.
  • Opportunities to participate in workshops relating to acquiring land & enterprise development.
  • Opportunities for 1:1 sessions with CLAS or Growing Together advisors
Registrations for this event are now ‘live’- click here to book your place.

Don't forget to check out the website for many other events taking place.


13th & 14th of February - Volunteer Work Weekend: Come and join us working in the woods for some coppicing and thinning. Bring food to share if you can.

19th - 22nd February - Coppicing and forestry weekend Tinkers Bubble. Contact for more information and to book.
23rd & 24th February - Nanodairies: Making them Happen. A conference on the benefits of small-scale commercial dairy farms of up to 40 cows or the equivalent of sheep or goats. Venue: Monkton Wyld Court, Charmouth, Dorset, DT6 6DQ
1st March - Community Land - Get It, Keep It, Profit! 9.45am – 3.30pm, Fee: £10 (Lunch Included) Venue: Ffarm Moelyci, Tregarth, Gwynedd, LL57 4BB

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