So we had a thought: why not create a free community space -- out of local, natural and recycled materials -- where people from all backgrounds (inc. yourself!) could meet, attend free workshops & courses, eat & drink, dance & perform music, play table tennis & pool, relax & take some time out, share skills & stories, all without a single penny changing hands.
There was only one problem - we had no money to do so, only our insuppressible enthusiasm, a lot of imagination and an old pig shed!
That was when you inspiring bunch of crowdfunders showed up. After one of our founders, Mark Boyle, spent a week with Crowdfunder's MD Phil Geraghty in Schumacher College, we decided to let The Happy Pig be a place where, if it were meant to be, it would be created by the people, for the people. If people didn't share our passion for creating free spaces, then its time had not yet come. But if they got as excited about it as we were, together we could create something that would serve people and planet for decades to come.
The response was one that we could not have imagined!
Having been featured in everything from The Sunday Times, the Guardian and RTÉ News to Permaculture magazine and Positive News, not only did we successfully raise the funds required to build The Happy Pig -- through the generosity of those who really got behind our campaign -- we were invaded by an army of volunteers who came here to learn how to create inexpensive buildings from local, natural materials.
Thanks to our supporters, crowdfunding has enabled us, thus far, to build the structure of The Happy Pig which, as you can see in the video above, is a total transformation of the old pig shed. And all for 11% of the cost of a conventional build!
This time, funds will go towards the interiors -- flooring and insulation, woodburner and boiler, plumbing, internal doors, bunk beds, fitting the kitchen and bar, the dorm room, the teacher's bedroom and the bathroom. The time we spend on it is a labour of love and given freely (on top of 6 months of our time, we've also donated about £3,000 ourselves so far), so every penny you donate goes towards the build.
Once we have finished the interiors -- which we cautiously expect to be early autumn -- we have very exciting plans for the place. We want The Happy Pig, within the context of the whole project here, to become a place where people can freely explore Wild food, forest gardening, gift economics, art, free education, home-brewing, music and language, philosophy, bee-keeping, circus shenanigans, herbalism, perennials, natural building, no-dig annual vegetable production, writing, coppicing, storytelling, bushcraft, off-grid living and much more. We want to bring some of the world's best teachers, thinkers and speakers here, so that everyone can get involved in the ecological, social, commmunity and spiritual issues concerning us. Based on a permaculture demonstration site, visitors can also discover how they can "close the loop" in everything they do, and help us explore how we can merge all of this into a more holistic and healthier culture.
So if this idea excites you, or inspires you to want to support it, we greatly appreciate all contributions towards it, however small or big.And remember: as well as playing a huge role in making this project happen, and the fact you'll be able to come and visit here and attend events (or just a little break) entirely for free once it's done, we have many fantastic new rewards on the right to choose from!
For more information about some of these rewards, go to:
Mark Boyle: http://www.moneylessmanifesto.org/Fergus the Forager: http://fergustheforager.co.uk/Paul Kingsnorth: http://www.paulkingsnorth.net/ and http://dark-mountain.net/Earthwise Yoga Centre: https://earthwiseyoga.wordpress.com/Bliss Festival: http://www.blissfestival.org