A blog by Knowledge Guru Nicola Frost
Why I can’t resign from the Pig Club
I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve tried to resign from Crediton Pig Club. There are plenty of good reasons to do so: I’m badly over-committed on the community-action front: I’m a school governor, and am active in various environmental capacities locally. I have a job and a family. I don’t have time for the admin and meetings, and I do it badly as a result. So I should resign, right?
But each time I set out to a meeting with that intention, I find my resolve weakening, and I come home having signed up for another year. The Club brings together lovers of locally produced pork with smallholders who want to raise happy pigs but don’t want the hassle of finding markets for their surplus meat. More experienced smallholders can support newbies. Members sign up for a half or quarter share of a rare-breed pig in the spring, are welcome to visit the pigs, and help out with them when the smallholders are away, then we all enjoy the resulting (amazingly tasty) pork in the autumn.
That’s the bare bones of it (irresistible pun). And although I love the pork, this would not be too hard to walk away from. But of course that’s not the half of it. Pig Clubbers are a mixed bunch socially – different ages, different walks of life. We have new babies and new grandchildren arriving simultaneously; we have midwives and university professors, herbalists and musicians. We’re many of us unlikely to have met otherwise. And that’s the delight of it.
Last weekend, twenty-odd Pig Clubbers came over for a bring and share supper. Lots of pork (and non-pork) food to sample, and even a bit of pork-swapping on the side, as people sought to secure the most appropriate-sized joints for their family. The owner of one of the babies eyes my slightly older children as potential babysitters-of-the-future. Someone else tells me they have an aerial photo of our part of town from the 1930s that includes my house, if I’m interested to look. Local politics and weaving are debated with equal enthusiasm. We discuss preferred breeds for next year. Looks like I’m in again, then.
The reasons we come together as communities are far less important than what happens when we do. And when we do, we are far greater than the sum of our parts. This is what community wellbeing is made of. It’s why I can’t leave the Pig Club, but it’s also why Devon Community Foundation is keen to explore the factors that affect how we come together and how this benefits the places we live in. Please do share your thoughts and ideas: firstname.lastname@example.org