Wilma and Betty, Oxford Sandy and Black piglets arrived at KTCF at six weeks old in summer 2018 full of squeaks and energy. Named after the two charismatic matriarchs from The Flintstones they have been growing ever since.
Wilma and Betty proved to be an instant hit with staff, volunteers and visitors alike. They came to us at the beginning of our Summer Play Scheme, which meant we could introduce our excited Young Farmers to them, and at the same time get the girls used to human interaction. The kids took 30 minute shifts in pairs in the wallow with the piglets, playing, cuddling and caring for them, and as a consequence the sisters have grown into two pigs that are completely at ease with people. This is precisely what is needed in a city farm environment, particularly with large, heavy animals that have 44 teeth.
As time has gone on, Wilma and Betty have developed quite different personalities.
Betty learnt her name very quickly and responds with excitable grunts and squeaks which sometimes sound aggressive but actually translate to ‘oh my goodness I’m so pleased to see you!’ She will readily drop to the ground like a sack of spuds, expectant of tummy tickles when she hears familiar voices, and also loves to have her face and nose stroked to the point of virtual hypnosis.
Wilma on the other hand is much more indifferent and can take or leave attention. If she is already down doing a bit of sunbathing, then by all means tummy rubs and fuss are fabulous. But if she’s alert and foraging, she’s more likely to just brush past you to the next more interesting smelling thing, pausing only to see if you have anything in your pockets she can pinch. She also tends to be a bit more vocal at feeding times than Betty.
Pigs are very intelligent, and it only took a couple of days for the girls to learn where their wallow is, what times are mealtimes, and who are their softest targets when it comes to cuddles and treats.
You can tell the girls apart in a few different ways:
Wilma’s snout around the nostrils is entirely pink, where Betty’s is black on the top edge.
Wilma has both of her yellow ear tags still in place, but Betty has managed to lose both of hers.
Wilma’s colouring is a slightly stronger ginger. This may change over time.
OSBs are one of the UK’s oldest and more unusual breeds. You can read more about their history and characteristics here:
We still remember and miss the magnificent Margery, a Gloucester Old Spot pig who was with us for quite a few years with her own very distinct character but now we have Betty and Wilma and all their particularities who have made their own special place amongst the animals at KTCF.
The reason pigs enjoy bathing in mud is because it helps to cool them down in warm weather. Contrary to the popular saying ‘sweating like a pig’, pigs have very few sweat glands and therefore cannot sweat. They need the cool muddy water to lower their temperature as it evaporates from their skin. The dry mud then also acts as a sun block and exfoliant when it rubs off any dry skin they may have.
Visit the farm and see Wilma & Betty and find out more fascinating pig facts. We are open seven days a week, 9 to 5pm.
Kentish Town City Farm,
1 Cressfield Close,
off Grafton Road
Sunday 27 October
Over 900 visitors and £2800 raised for the farm
Our traditional annual Apple Day at KTCF was a great success. After a week of constant rain, the sun came out and encouraged regular visitors as well as first timers to come and have fun in a seasonal celebration of everything to do with Apples and Pears. More than 900 visitors came through the gate, 350 children and 550 adults all ready to enjoy themselves.
The Big Apple stall run by American School in London volunteers
We had a fabulous selection of Apples and Pears to taste and admire, a huge range donated once again by National Fruit Show, huge thanks to them and to Transition Town Kentish Town for joining us and endlessly juicing apples for people to taste and enjoy. Over two thousand varieties of apples are grown in Britain who knew about Queen Cox? or Rubens? Galaxy Gala or Royal Beauty? Visitors could taste and even take fruit home, but we didn’t have all two thousand varieties.
Lots of Appley things to do and enjoy – apple bobbing and the longest apple peel as well as Egg & Spoon races, Arts and Craft stalls and the ever-popular face painting.
It wouldn’t be a KTCF event without a chance to cuddle a guinea pig, groom a goat, stroke and hold a chicken or have a donkey ride. Even the animals were intrigued to be introduced to each other. The geese supervised activities in the yard but Wilma and Betty the pigs must have exhausted themselves with all the socialising and needed to take an afternoon nap.
To keep everyone happy we had music in the yard all afternoon from Little Venice, a BBQ and of course toffee apples, chocolate apples, apple and many other cakes and cups of tea.
None of this would be possible without our valiant team of 86 volunteers, staff, young farmers and trustees. Special thanks to regulars The American School in London for providing so many volunteers on the day and to Steve and the community service boys, Goodgym and many others, a huge thank you to all of them for joining in and helping Apple Day happen. In total we made £2800 for the Farm which adds to the success of the day.
Next event: Christmas Fayre Sunday 8th December
Kentish Town City Farm staff and trustees took the opportunity of Apple Day on Sunday 27 October to thank the local community and visitors for their support during the recent campaign for the future of the Farm.
“An enormous thank you to each and every one of you who supported the staff and friends in the recent HOOF – Hands Off Our Farm – campaign to save Kentish Town City Farm.”
We were campaigning to save all the services, staff jobs and the future direction of the Farm. So many of you came and talked about your concerns, supported the staff, shared our fury and told us again and again how much you loved the Farm and how much it meant to you – THANK YOU.
Your support meant so much to us in the struggle to restore the management of KTCF to the hands of local people who share our values. We couldn’t have done it without you.
We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Camden New Journal and especially Tom Foot for following, reporting and supporting the campaign and spreading the word.
We’ve been busy since July – a new board of Trustees is now in place, mostly people who live locally, several of whom have been involved with KTCF for many years and together have a wide range of experience to bring to the Farm.
We achieved a harmonious hand over from old to new trustees. The Farm needed stability and to have in place a team who could cement relationships with current funders and quickly start to generate new income. Our first task was to appoint a new Director. The Board of Trustees took advice that an open recruitment for a new Director was the ideal but that a business case for recruiting Rachel Schwartz, former Director and Chair of the Farm with an abundance of other proven qualifications could be argued in the name of continuity and stability. Those consulted were Geoffrey Hand a respected advisor on issues of governance to charities; Kevin Nunan from Voluntary Action Camden and Lisa Charalambous from Community Services, Camden Council. We were also informally advised that Camden Council would be pleased and reassured if Ms Schwartz were appointed such is her standing with them.
The job description was refined by the KTCF Board to include measures of competency. Rachel Schwartz was appointed after a rigorous process of interview which observed due diligence as required by the Charities Commission. The interview was conducted by a panel of three, her future Line Manager (Chair) and two other trustees with experience of recruitment and interview. The role offered has a six-month probationary period with assessment and monitoring against an agreed three-month plan for the Farm. This process was agreed and minuted at a Trustee Meeting on the 6th of August 2019 and Rachel was appointed and started work at the start of September.
The Board of Trustees is satisfied that proper protocol has been followed and trust the Farm has a bright and solid future under the stewardship of Ms Schwartz. Many of you will know Rachel from her involvement with KTCF.
We are working together to catch up, stabilise and plan for the future of KTCF.
We will be holding discussions with the local community and Farm users about the future.
Please keep visiting and supporting the Farm – we are here for everyone.
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