Five Penny Farm is owned and run by Jyoti Fernandez, her husband Dai, and two friends Kerri and Oli. Jyoti was the host on my visit. Born in the United States,she combines the energy of an American with the deep thinking of a European. Her whole way of living is directed towards a minimal impact communion with the earth’s resources. When everyone came to Five Penny, now over ten years ago, it was just 40 acres or so of empty fields. Now, its not only the the location of two self built, wooden family houses with their own solar and wind powered electricity generation, self contained spring water supply and their own ‘composting’ system for excrement, but is the site of a vibrant mixed small holding involving pigs, chickens, goats, dairy cow(s) along with poly-tunnel and vegetable and fruit fields. Environmental activism at its absolute stunning! In between times Jyoti and Dai are raising four children, and Kerri and Oli raising three. I guess the compensation is that it also means seven pairs of helping hands – everyone contributes here, all have their allotted roles to play in running the farm.
And….still not finished, the farm is the location of a multi-purpose ‘barn’ built by the Peasant Evolution Producers Co-operative, a network of local smallholders, food processors, woodland managers and craftspeople and in which Jyoti is a prime mover. They clubbed together to build the barn as a shared resource, when none of them individually had any chance of acquiring its astonishing range of facilities, and under its timber frame it now provides the where-with-all for the processing of meat, dairy, juices and preserves, plus the odd party.
The afternoon I was there, Jyoti – and live-in volunteer and fellow American, Terise – were busy using the filling line to bottle of the cider output from the previous years apples, which itself had been made using the shared apple press and fermentation vessels of the barn. The pragmatic destination for the brew was to be the Glastonbury Festival in the upcoming June. A more than useful income stream.
Having said that, dealing with a repeated bubble lock in the filling line did result in the occasional leakage of brew so that the atmosphere in the barn was pretty well soaked with alcohol. As a result a degree of inebriation surely unavoidable just from being there! It was a good afternoon!!!
[Double clicking on any of the images below will open up that image up in a slideshow format. You can then run the slide show using ‘left’ and ‘right’ buttons. Personally I prefer to go also to full screen having opened the slide show – F11 on my PC, don’t forget to get out of full screen is the same button , not ESC!]