The Wiggly 'Piggy Bank'
You may have been involved last year in The Wiggly Hedge Fund which raised well over £4000 in order to plant 4000 hedge plants – which equates to 500m of new hedge on our farm to support wildlife. This was an amazing success, so thanks to you - our customers for getting involved. You can follow progress here https://www.wigglywigglers.co.uk/pages/the-wiggly-hedge-fund as we map out where the hedging goes, and get the planting done in Winter 21/22. It’s a great achievement for Wiggly Wigglers to really support the farm as it goes on it’s regenerative journey to survive -and hopefully THRIVE.
If you’d like to play a part we'd be very grateful if you want to leave us a tip :) You will find this option in the Wiggly Checkout when you are placing an order.
You can read more about Lower Blakemere Farm’s regenerative agriculture adventure below and regularly on our blog. View all our Piggy Bank updates here https://www.wigglywigglers.co.uk/blogs/blog/tagged/piggybank
Our next step on this journey is The Wiggly PIGGY BANK.
The aim will be to transform a 15-acre steep bank on the farm into Woodland Pasture, greatly enhancing carbon sequestration, wildlife habitat, and grazing areas for our cattle. The area, previously known as The Hopping and Stocking (no idea why The Bank was called this), was an arable field 20 years ago and since then it was allowed to rewild. Initially this was successful, but over the past few years brambles have overtaken the area to the detriment of it’s diverse habitat. The PIGGY BANK will enable the farm to turn it into permanent pasture with three woodland areas within the field which will also give soil protection from water and wind erosion.
Instead of major mechanical clearance the primary cultivation and clearance of the brambles will be achieved by a small drift of perfectly porky piggies (!) who will moot and root the bank ready for seed. The PIGGY Bank. These will be free range Tamworths and will arrive 2023 (and of course these will be purchased and looked after by Phil, Monty and the farm).
Our aim at Wigglys will be to support the hedging, trees, fencing and regeneration of the 15 acres. Our aim will be to raise £4,000 to support this over two years and get the project started Spring/Summer 2023 so that we can all follow the progress over the next few years.
Hope you like the term PIGGY BANK – after all there will be a Bank FOR Piggies - as well as a Piggy Bank for pennies to help fund the project.
More about our farm’s regenerative journey.
Our son Monty has been back on the farm for several years after his degree at Harper Adams and he has been investigating how to improve our soil with the aim to help the farm become more resilient to more extreme weather events (which we have had in bucket loads…) and also to reduce our reliance on chemicals and fertiliser which is a huge challenge when our farm is a specialist seed producer (as obviously the seed can’t be contaminated with weed seeds etc).
Regen Ben says:
“Regenerative agriculture is a fairly new term in the world and is used to describe farmers who are literally regenerating their soils in order to provide a far more sustainable future and to leave farms in a far better condition in which it was acquired. You see the main asset of most farms is the soil and this is something that extreme care should be given to on the understanding that it is a living organism.
For about a 4000 years, ploughing has been the mainstay of agriculture, the problem is for 3920 years of this, the ploughs were pulled by animals who had huge limitations which meant ploughing was only a very shallow operation, this kept the soil biology in an aerobic situation and soils continued to function well. Over the past 80 years, with the anything but ‘green’ revolution, farms became larger which meant machinery got bigger, bigger heavier machinery pulling larger and larger ploughs deeper and deeper (In order to plough wider with a plough, you have to go deeper) This subsequently destroyed the living soil biology together with the invention of chemical fertilisers and pesticides."
So, the idea behind regenerative farming is making a transition between the soil destroying methods of farming to methods that increase soil health and provide a much more sustainable future for farming. There are 5 main principles in which we try and implement what nature has formulated well for well over 1/2 billion years.
Soil armour – keep soil covered at all times (mother nature puts plants on bare soil at every opportunity, which is why garden weeding is often a futile job)
Living roots – Incredibly unaware by most, but are you aware that roots put sugar-rich carbon into soils naturally that feeds the soil biology? and huge amounts too? In return, soil biology provides plants with the nutrients locked up in the soil.
Disturbance – Soil disturbance should be kept to an absolute minimum – nowhere in nature does mother nature plough, add synthetic fertilisers and hydrocarbon pesticides.
Diversity – Mixtures of plants and species wherever possible, this will reduce the pressure that nature places on a mono-crop system by trying to balance these unnatural environments by invading them with what we call are pests, weeds and diseases.
Animals – where possible integrate livestock and their manures in the system – nowhere in nature are animals devoid. (For those wondering about the ‘greenness’ of meat, liken it to the production of electricity, coal-powered vs solar-powered, both produce the same result but by very different environmental methods – this is the same for meat production)”
Obviously this is not a simple process and can’t happen overnight so we will aim to share the farm’s journey with you. The aim is to start by reducing our use of nitrogen fertiliser and use of the plough whilst increasing the organic matter and resilience of our soil… hedge planting and Piggy Banks are all part of this plan so thank you for helping us and we hope you enjoy being a part of the positive impact we hope to have on our part of the countryside.