People pledge for solar panelled pig pen

pic: Will Coldwell

Peppa and Pearl may just be a couple of Tamworth sows, but with a bit of help from the community they could soon be living in one of the most eco-friendly pig sties around.

Hackney City Farm has promised to fit solar panels on the sties, but only once locals have pledged to cut their own carbon emissions by the equivalent amount the panels will save in two months.

They hope that by encouraging people to join in, it will allow them to decrease carbon emissions, while engaging with the community.

Gustavo Montes de Oca, environment and enterprise officer for the farm, said: “It’s not about the money – it’s a way of turning social capital into funding.

“We want people in the community to feel part of it.”

So far people have pledged to cut 800kg of carbon, by promising to make small lifestyle changes such as eating less meat, making Christmas presents by hand or not leaving appliances on standby.

Once the target of 1671kg of carbon has been reached, the farm will fit the 17 panels, which will each be around a metre wide and will cover most of the roof of the pen.

Montes de Oca said: “We wanted them on the pig pen because visitors will see them right when they walk into the farm – they’ll think ‘heck’ they’ve got solar panels.”

All the energy from the panels will be used by the farm itself, which is very proactive in promoting alternative, environmentally-friendly living. They run a scheme allowing people to hire a bicycle for the same cost as their usual travel arrangements and also built a building out of straw to highlight agricultural wastage.

They hope they will be able to install the panels in the new year.

“Once we reach the target we’ll have a party,” says Montes de Oca, “a panels on the pig pen party.”

To pledge your support for the project, see here. Readers can also follow Hackney City Farm on Twitter or visit the homepage for more information.

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