Here at Trill Farm, harvesting does not just mean picking salad, collecting honey from the hives or cutting the hay. We also harvest as much energy as we can from the environment around us.

We aim to generate as much energy as we can and as cleanly as possible, demonstrating sustainable energy production and use, with examples of both solar photovoltaic panels and thermal panels, ground source heat pumps, wind turbines, sustainable timber and energy harvested from our waste.

We have over 100 solar panels on the farm, producing energy to sell to Good Energy, our renewable energy supplier.

Our ecologically renovated guest house has a ground source heat pump, which takes advantage of the relatively constant temperature just a couple of metres or so under the ground to provide all the hot water and heating we need.

The heating for our workshops comes from firewood, chopped from trees blown down by the wind in our woods. The beauty of firewood is that it warms you three times over; when you chop it, when you move it and again when you finally burn it (which Rich and our volunteers can testify to!) We also leave some fallen wood for the wildlife and fungi to eat and live in, and allow new trees to grow up in the spaces left by those that have fallen, ensuring that the woods continue to soak up as much carbon dioxide as possible.

Our eco-campsite utilises a number of different energy sources; a small wind turbine on the end of the linhay charges a battery for a few electric lights in the darker evenings. In the solar thermal panels, the sun heats spring water which is then stored in an insulated tank to provide plentiful hot water for the showers (and what an experience, to shower under an open sky on a fresh autumn morning, with hot water steaming around you and plump blackberries hanging over your head for a sneaky breakfast!)

The compost toilets in the campsite provide us with a different type of energy; when mixed with sawdust and left to decompose for a couple of years, our summertime deposits make a fantastic, rich (and clean) compost to add to the soil, providing nutrients and energy to help the plants to grow.

The raw food waste produced on the farm goes to Ash and Kate’s compost heap, along with chippings from the willow field and sawdust from the chicken coop, providing fertility to the vegetable garden.

We know that we are very fortunate to have the resources to enable us to harvest so much energy on the farm, but what could you do at home? Composting your food waste (either in your garden or through your council recycling scheme) is a good place to start. If you like the idea of solar panels or wind turbines, but can’t get them for your own house, why not consider switching to a renewable energy supplier? There are lots of competitive options out there now, so you could save money as well as the planet!